Crest Canyon (Del Mar)

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On the trail in Crest Canyon
On the trail in Crest Canyon
View from the stairs descending into Crest Canyon
View from the stairs descending into Crest Canyon

Crest Canyon (Del Mar)

  • Location: Durango Drive and Lozana Road, Del Mar.  From I-5, take the Del Mar Heights Road exit and head west for 0.5 miles.  Turn right on Durango Drive and follow it 0.3 miles where you can park on the corner of Lozana Road.
  • Agency: San Diego City Open Space Division
  • Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Best season:  All year
  • USGS topo map: Del Mar
  • Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield San Diego County
  • More information: Trip reports here and here; Everytrail report (route in opposite direction, from Racetrack View to Durango) here
  • Rating: 5

This short but enjoyable hike is conveniently located to Del Mar, La Jolla and north San Diego.  If you’re coming from L.A. or Orange County for some longer hikes, it makes a nice stop on the way. Highlights of the hike include nice views of San Dieguito Lagoon, a few Torrey Pines and some sandstone geology.

0:00 - Crest Canyon Trail Head (click thumbnails to see the full sized version)
0:00 – Crest Canyon Trail Head (click thumbnails to see the full sized version)

From the corner of Durango and Lozana, pass the information board and descend via stairs into the canyon. At the bottom, an informational plaque describes some of the avian wildlife in the area.

You can hike the loop in either direction. Some hikers might prefer the right route, which is a little more rugged. The left trail might be better for hikers with dogs or small children as it is easier to follow, paralleling Oribia Road for a short distance.

0:03 - Interpretive plaque at the bottom of the stairs, Crest Canyon (times are approximate)
0:03 – Interpretive plaque at the bottom of the stairs, Crest Canyon (times are approximate)

Both trails lead about 3/4 of a mile down to Racetrack View Drive, where you can enjoy a wide view of San Dieguito Lagoon. You may get a look at a hawk or egret if you’re lucky.

You can return by either route. If you feel like extending the hike when you return to the trail head, you can continue following the trail south, where it parallels Durango for a third of a mile before turning around at Del Mar Heights Road.

0:20 - San Dieguitos Lagoon from Racetrack View Drive, the turnaround point
0:20 – San Dieguitos Lagoon from Racetrack View Drive, the turnaround point

Text and photography copyright 2013 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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