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Hiking with Kids in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve

I love to take my kids hiking.
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What a treat to be out in the fresh air, the sun beaming down on us. We can get some exercise. We can explore. Sometimes we spot wildlife.  Having 4 boys, they usually turn into Indiana Jones at some point and imagine all sorts of dangerous things might be happening around us.  It feels free to be out hiking. They can run and be loud – not like at home!  They can tiptoe and whisper as we try to get a closer look at a lizard. And if there is water involved, my kids love it even more. Whether it’s throwing rocks in the river or taking their shoes off and getting in it, they love it!  There is so much to do and see and discover when you go hiking.  And San Diego has a lot of great places to hike!

A good place for hiking with kids that we recently hiked – because we can go hiking year round (yeah!) – is Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.  It’s in the south part of Rancho Penasquitos, and north of Mira Mesa. It’s nice to be be able to enjoy the great outdoors without having to travel a long ways from home. It’s surrounded by neighborhoods, but once you start along this beautiful stretch of nature, you are far away from it all.

You can start from a few different places of this large preserve. We started from the west end off Sorrento Valley Blvd. because having young children (the youngest are almost 4 and 5 years old; older two are almost 8 and 10), it’s a shorter walk to the waterfall from there.  There are no inclines, and my two youngest had an easy walk out to the waterfall.  We used the trail closest to the creek, which was nice and shaded, although a little muddy sometimes.  The waterfall falls between big volcanic rocks and is a great resting spot for a snack or some lunch.  My older boys were able to climb on rocks across the creek to the other side.

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On the way back out we used the much larger trail, further from the creek.  This trail is open to mountain bikers, hikers, could be used with a sturdy stroller if needed. Horses and dogs are also welcome.  Bring water, use the restroom before you head out, and be prepared to carry your younger kids on the way back a little if they get tired!  Enjoy a beautiful day out in nature at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve!  More information, including a map found here.


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