Lopez Canyon Hike (7 photos)

Even after 3 1/2 years in San Diego, there are still plenty of new and unknown places to discover. Lopez Canyon is (or was) one of them – it is a side arm south of the lower part of Los Penasquitos Canyon, accessible from Sorrento Valley Boulevard (on Google Maps, it is called the “Los Penasquitos trailhead west“).

It is wilder and more open than Los Penasquitos Canyon, and there’s a surprising amount of really large Sycamore trees in Lopez Canyon. After the storms during the first weekend of March, Lopez Creek still has water and is flowing, and the Sycamore trees have beautiful fresh young leaves at the moment.

The important part is to not follow the sign “Trail” after hiking in for the first couple of minutes. That trail goes right, and only leads up to Pacific Center Boulevard (and all the Qualcomm buildings up on Sorrento Mesa). Instead, continue straight, on what appears to be an old road of sorts. This is the trail that will take you deeper into Lopez Canyon. It’s beautiful, but where the creek bed of Lopez Creek broadens and there’s only one larger stand of Sycamores ahead, it’s not exactly comfortable to walk on the pebbles (especially not with an “untrustworthy” knee when you have an ACL rupture… just saying) and the trail is somewhat hard to find in places.

The canyon actually continues past the Camino Santa Fe bridge all the way to Montongo Street, but it’s pretty much in the open and without shade, so I didn’t venture that far. Still, it was a nice and quiet, peaceful afternoon walk. Toni enjoyed it too, but I found two or three ticks in her fur immediately and picked them off, and one later, at home (at the trailhead, there’s actually a tick warning posted – they’re not joking!).

Here are some impressions. It was a brutally sunny day with hard light so black & white was once more the choice here.


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