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Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve

Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve is a dog-friendly preservation area in San Diego, CA. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails on leashes no longer than 8-feet long. Scenery in the canyon includes waterfalls, streamside forest, sycamore trees, a freshwater marsh, and wildlife like mule deer, bobcat, coyote and, raccoons. All recreational activities within the Preserve are day-use only and camping is prohibited. Visit Website

Or call (858) 484-7504 or email askparks@sandiego.gov for more information.


BringFido Guest Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve has received a rating of 4.0 out of 5 bones by 20 canine critics on BringFido and 4.0 out of 5 by 51 guests on TripAdvisor.

  • Fetch The Sun
    Mar 16, 2022
    Fun with lots of cool stuff to see

    Really nice trails for short to longer walks (over 7 miles of trails). With numerous entrances, it's easy to get to from the I-15 & 805. Black Mountain Rd entrance has lots of parking by trail head and if that lot is full, there's a huge lot by the Adobe House (a pretty cool place to check out). A short hike can take you to small streams, some cool cacti, and you may see some wildlife (deer, rabbits, frogs). Take a bit of a longer trek and you can see a waterfall!
    Dogs must be kept on a leash and there are some rattlesnakes on the trails. Keep an ear/eye out for mountain bikers & horses.

  • Cassandra
    Feb 13, 2022
    Love it

    We live somewhat close by, and this is my favorite place to take the pups for an easy weekend adventure. The Black Mountain entrance is great but it you want more of a challenge, take the trailhead at the Camino Ruiz Neighborhood Park.

  • Abby
    Feb 26, 2019
    Great For Dogs Of All Ages

    I brought my three dogs here and they all loved it. One being a puppy got out enough energy and loved all the smells. The other two who are now ten and eleven also loved it and could do a moderately long walk considering their age. It’s pretty much all flat, but not boring as they still really enjoyed it. FYI, when we went there were signs everywhere saying the trails were closed after the rain as they were too wet. However after talking to a policeman who was there at the time, we found out that you can still go on the trails, just be prepared for a bit of mud.

  • Charlie
    Jan 6, 2019
    Nice walk with your dog

    This is a nice walk with s babbling stream and bluebirds singing. The park entrance is not at the address listed above but rather across the road at the traffic light.

  • Abby
    More than a year ago
    Great Walk

    We took the cactus trail and my six month pup loved the water. Was a nice shady trail, just what we wanted. You just have to watch out for the bikers!

  • Moira
    Dec 26, 2017
    Great Walk for Winter

    We were visiting San Deigo area and found this hike seemed to suit our needs best based on reviews. Our dog is in his winter fur being from Canada so we didn't want anything to open, dry and hot. This was great. We took mostly the single track routes which provide a fair amount of shade, we started about 11am. We walked fairly close to the creek most of the way and this way our dog could cool his feet every now and then. It was quite beautiful, it was sunny and warm, not too hot about 18 degrees Celcius. We brought water too.
    We kept our dog on the leash and had no issues. Didn't see a single person with their dog off leash either. Though people could pick up after their dogs more. It was Christmas day and perhaps fairly quite...next stop is the beach.

  • Sarah
    More than a year ago

    I'm new to San Diego and wanted to take my dogs on a nice hike. I parked in the lot where the equestrian center is (as directed by this website). The equestrian center posted a sign that says parking is ONLY for person visiting their ranch, but there's a sign from the city saying it's public parking. So, I parked there and it was fine. Anyway, I couldn't figure out where the trail began, there are no signs. The trail I did find was covered in horse crap, so I had to maneuver my dogs around crap for the .25 mile before turning back and heading home. It sounds nice if you know where to go, but it's frustrating for those of us unfamiliar (perhaps this is intentional).

  • Josie
    More than a year ago
    Rattlesnakes and Bikers

    This is a wonderful place to experience nature in the middle of an "urban" area. If you walk your pets here 1) keep them leashed and watch out for rattlesnakes - I see their trails every time I walk in the canyon, and 2) pay attention behind and in front of you as you walk because there are lots of bikers who use the trail and you need to get your dog out of their way.

  • Krista, Keeba, and Killarney
    More than a year ago
    BEST hike in San Diego for dogs!

    I discovered this beautiful gem about two years ago and have been going there ever since. My two pups, Keeba and Killarney absolutely love going here so they can swim in the river bed, and I get a great workout as well as entertainment!
    I have seen everything from snakes to a mule deer family. This hike feels like it should be somewhere in the mountains and not in the middle of the suburbs. Most of the hike is covered in a tree canopy which helps during the hot summer days.
    I would HIGHLY recommend this hike for those with dogs that like to swim and people that like a little secret within the city.
    On the down side...cyclists don't always respect the trails reserved for hikers only. I have almost been hit by them and have scared the piss out of a few when yelling at them for being on my trail!
    Overall though... A+ on this beautiful on-leash doggie friendly trail!

  • Caligirl06
    More than a year ago
    Hiking the world with my pups!

    Great hike. Should keep dogs on the leash for the dogs safety, not for the angry dog haters. TO nature lover in Mira Mesa....you're on a dog lover website, trashing dogs and the people who care for them. Sounds like you're the loser, get a life. And if a dog jumping on you ruins your day...you have a sad life. Great beautiful hike, bring Fido! Just watch out for the little princesses. Lol ;)

  • I'll Hike That
    More than a year ago
    Pretty good hike

    This hike was a pretty good one for me and my dog. It wasn't too crowded; but like someone here said, it's way better to stay off the main trail to get a real "hiking" atmosphere. Less crowded and more scenic that way. It's also a lot more shaded for those hot days. I guess the waterfall is the highlight of the hike; it's about a 3.5 mile hike one-way from the park entrance. If you do park at the preserve, there's a $3 charge. But I'm sure you can find parking off the preserve and walk onto the trails that way...

  • Martina
    More than a year ago
    Great nature trail

    My mom and I are visiting my sister who lives in Rancho Bernardo and we wanted to find a trail to take our 4 chihuahuas on a long walk. We easily found this place and I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful nature. In the midst of summer there were still green trees, flowers and a creek that actually had water in it. I liked the single track trails and not knowing exactly where they would take us. The dogs had to be leashed but that's pretty standard at this time due to the abundance of coyotes and cats. I also liked that there's the option of going up to 5 miles one way and that you can go back on a different path. I will definitely be visiting Los Penasquitos again!

  • Barbara
    More than a year ago
    Great Hike, despite nature hater

    To Nature Lover: Although I would actually call you nature hater. Please do not generalize all dog owners by your incident. That's an insensitive and ignorant thing to do. I was on the trail that bikers are not supposed to be on but almost got run over by one. You don't see me rail against all bikers. Remind me to stay away from Mira Mesa, are you all so intolerant?

  • Marie
    More than a year ago
    Best hike

    This is my favorite hiking location in the San Diego area. It's nice and long and there are frequent, beautiful, creek crossings to cool off my furry friend. There is enough horse traffic to keep her fascinated with the center of the trail (where the horse smells are), which may be why we have yet to pick up a tick. It's a gorgeous oasis in the middle of the city. We've seen coyote and deer. My dog is always, always, always on leash, and we clean up after ourselves. My recommendation- the main, wider trails get busy with mountain bikers, runners, and horses- stay to the single track trails if you can, where the mountain bikers are not supposed to go. They're prettier anyway, and very prevalent.

  • Mutt guy
    More than a year ago
    gotta leash the dog

    I would LOVE to let my dog off leash here, but I do not. Dogs will disturb wildlife, and some of the wild animals are threatened or endangered species. So, please fellow dog owners, let's keep our dogs leashed while enjoying San Penasquitos.

  • Bobby
    More than a year ago
    sometimes good for dogs

    Neat trail but often too crowded to be good for dogs. Lots of yuppies and cranky old people walking or biking with kids. Recently dfw or parks and rec put up leash required signs. Some of the people who frequent these b trails think they own them.

  • Aaron
    More than a year ago
    Take your dog elsewhere

    Take your dog somewhere else if you want to let him off leash. Rattlesnakes are abundant here. Your dog may be bitten. Mine was. The leash laws are there for a reason. This is a sensitive habitat with rare species that are very sensitive to off leash dogs chasing them. Keep your dog on a leash or take him somwhere else.

  • Big daddy
    More than a year ago
    hay nature lover

    nature lover you talk about dogs being off leash but there are plenty of other places you can run or walk and there are no dogs. we need more dog friendly place to go any

  • Nature Lover
    More than a year ago
    Why are all dog owners so inconsiderate?

    So at all entrances to the preserve and at various all each of the trails there are signs that clearly state that dog must be on a leash at all times. And yet dog owners persist in allowing their dogs to roam the trails unleashed. I had a wayward dog jump on me last weekend.

    So my questions to dog owners are as follow: Do you not understand the signs? Can you not read English? Are just inconsiderate? Or are you just that stupid?


  • Adele
    More than a year ago
    SD Hiker

    I take my Shiba Inu here once a week. The wet winter brought a lot of flowing water and the spring flowers are in full bloom now. Lots of shade and wildlife. Saw a mule deer once.

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Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve