Maple Canyon (San Diego)
- Location: Maple St., San Diego. From the south, take I-5 to the W. Hawthorn St. exit (17a). Merge onto W. Hawthorn St. and take the first right onto State St. Follow State for 0.4 mile, turn right onto Maple and follow it 0.1 mile to a dead end at the trail entrance. Park where available on Maple St. Alternately from the north, take I-5 to Kettner Ave. Merge onto Kettner and follow it 0.8 mile to Laurel St. Turn left and follow Laurel 0.2 mile to State St. Turn left and follow State one block to Maple St. Turn right and follow Maple to its end.
- Agency: City of San Diego Parks & Recreation
- Distance: 1.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
- Suggested time: 45 minutes
- 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 descriptions here, here and here; Yelp page here
- Rating: 3
Tucked in between Balboa Park, Bankers Hill and San Diego International Airport, Maple Canyon is a pleasant surprise for urban hikers. The half-mile trail can be combined with city streets to make an enjoyable loop, featuring historic homes, views of downtown San Diego and an unusual feature for a hike – a footbridge.
Begin by heading northeast into eucalyptus-shaded Maple Canyon. The going is pleasingly quiet; you may hear some planes from the airport or traffic on the 1st Ave. bridge but as urban hikes go, this is quite tranquil. You cross under the 1st Ave. bridge a quarter mile from the start and soon you’ll see the wooden trestles of the Quince St. footbridge. After crossing under it, you climb out of Maple Canyon and arrive on 3rd Ave., just over a mile from the start.
If you want to visit the Quince St. bridge, turn left and head south for a block, where you will be able to access it. Otherwise, head north on 3rd Ave. for a couple of blocks and turn left onto Spruce St. In three blocks, you’ll reach the suspension bridge (0.9 miles from the start). The 375-foot span traverses the canyon far below. When you first set foot on the narrow bridge, don’t be disconcerted if it moves.
After making your way across the Spruce St. Bridge, continue to Curlew St. Turn left and head downhill, enjoying views of downtown San Diego. Turn left onto Dove St. and follow it back to Maple and your starting point.
Photo gallery (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.