Doggie Adventures, Episode 2: Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve

Updated: Apr 18



Looking for dog friendly hikes in San Diego? Get your tails on the trails and head to Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. It’s a great place to bring your pup(s) for a hike in nature. The preserve encompasses 4,000 acres and features over seven miles of trails. And once on those trails, you can see some amazing things to include a waterfall, an historic adobe house, majestic forests of huge sycamore trees, various wildlife, and numerous streams with frogs, bass, and crawfish.

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Centrally located in San Diego County, it sits in the backyards of Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Torrey Pines, and Sorrento Valley and it’s nestled between the 805 and 15 freeways. Easy to access and it’s a quick drive from pretty much anywhere in the county: 20 minutes from downtown and 15 minutes from Escondido. There are numerous entrances & parking areas along the trails so please check the trail map to find the best entrance to the part of the trail you’d like to explore.


Los Peñasquitos translates to “little cliffs” and Native American history dates back over 7-millennia. More recently, the area was part of the first Mexican land grant in the county. A very short hike from the Black Mountain Road parking area will take visitors to a historic adobe house that has been converted to a museum.


Dog friendly hikes san Diego

Safety Tips & Best Practices

  • Pets must be leashed at all times.

  • Deer, racoons, and rabbits are often sited, while less often, sometimes so are rattlesnakes, bobcats, coyotes, & mountain lions; please use caution and keep your eyes open while on the trails.

  • It’s a popular spot for mountain biking, so keep an ear/eye out, especially around bends in the trails.

  • It can get hot, especially in summer; always bring water for yourself and your pets. Check the weather here.

  • As always, please pick up after your pup(s).