Cellular Service Difficulty G Distance 0 to 2 miles Dogs allowed Hikes with free parking Rating: 4-6 San Diego - Coastal & Western County Season: All year

Rose Canyon Open Space (San Diego)

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Rose Canyon Open Space (San Diego)

  • Location: Regents Road, University City, San Diego. From the 52 Freeway, take the Regents Road exit (1B) and head north (turn right if you’re coming from the east; left if from the west) for one mile to the trail head. Park where available on the corner of Regents Road and Lahitte Court. (Note: the main trail head is on Genessee Avenue but there is no parking available there. Hikers who want to start from Genessee Avenue will have to begin 0.3 mile north of the trail head.)
  • Agency: City of San Diego Parks & Recreation
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 100 feet
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Best season: All year
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • More information: Trip description (entire route) here; article about the park here; Yelp page here
  • Rating: 4

This enjoyable suburban hike explores the secluded eastern end of Rose Canyon Open Space, one of several natural areas in the Golden Triangle region of San Diego. The Golden Triangle gets its name from the three freeways that border it (5, 52 and 805) but the quietest sections of Rose Canyon are a pleasant oasis, almost devoid of the sights and sounds of nearby development.

From the trail head at the end of Regents Road, make a short descent into the canyon, crossing a footbridge and reaching the park’s main trail. To the left, the trail heads west and then south for about 2 miles, an option if you want to extend the trip. However, to experience the most scenic and isolated part of Rose Canyon, turn right and head east. The trail follows the southern side of Rose Canyon. On the right, houses sit atop a ridge; on the left, across the willow and sycamores that line the stream bed are the tracks of Amtrak’s Coaster train.

You soon enter an attractive woodland of oaks and sycamores, all but shutting out any signs of civilization. A narrow single-track trail branches off, passing by a stand of prickly pear cacti before rejoining the main route shortly before the trail’s eastern end at Genessee Avenue, 0.9 mile from the Regents Road trail head.

Photo gallery (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

Rose Canyon Open Space, San Diego
Start of the hike at the end of Regents Road
Rose Canyon Open Space, San Diego, CA
Sycamores in Rose Canyon Open Space
Rose Canyon Open Space, San Diego, CA
Wildflowers and sycamores, Rose Canyon
Rose Canyon Open Space, San Diego, CA
On the trail in Rose Canyon Open Space






Text and photography copyright 2016 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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