Hiking San Diego’s Annie’s Canyon Trail

If you haven’t heard of the Annie’s Canyon Trail in San Diego County yet, continue reading. You may remember this from the sneak peek I gave you a while back. This trail in Solana Beach in the North County Coastal region recently opened and has already become pretty popular, and for good reason. The Annie’s Canyon Trail links up to the San Elijo Lagoon trails and is a really cool trek through a fascinating narrow canyon.

It’s not a very long hike, so you don’t need to set aside an entire day to do it or anything like that, but you’ll definitely want to prepare for this unique hike.


There are actually three different trail heads you can take to link up with the Annie’s Canyon Trail with one way lengths varying from .6 mile to 2.1 miles (all one way, so double that to get back). The Annie’s Canyon Trail loop itself is only .25 mile, but it’s a strenuous .25 mile!

When you reach the Annie’s Canyon Trailhead, you’ll want to follow the sign where it says one way loop. Do NOT try to go to the lookout point and then go down instead of following the one way loop. It MUST be one way, as I’ll explain…


We stopped taking pictures after this point due to needing both hands!

When you follow the trail along the loop you’ll find yourself all of a sudden in an unexpectedly beautiful narrow canyon with tall sandstone walls on either side of you. Continue following the loop and the canyon will narrow until you are only able to get through at places by shimmying sideways. It gets a little tight at times, but don’t panic…just keep following the trail.

At one point there will be a cave on the left that you can climb up into and hang out in for a bit if you would like. Otherwise, keep following the narrow canyon up and up. I promise it will be the narrowest hike you’ve ever done.

The best way to get through it is to use the holes in the sides for your hands and feet.

You should probably be in decent physical condition for this one, and if you’re claustrophobic this might not be a good one for you.

Also if I can give you a tip, make sure both your hands are free for this. I know a lot of times people like to hike with their phones in their hand to take pictures or listen to music, or a water bottle to sip from. It’s fine to bring these things, but make sure you bring a little hiking backpack to stash these items in as you climb. Don’t bring a big backpack, as you’re going to need to squeeze through some areas, but a small one should be perfect.

When you get to the top you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful lookout point over the wetlands and on to the ocean.


At the lookout point.

After you hike the canyon trail, there are some trails that wind around the lagoon and wetlands that you can explore until you’re ready to go back to your car.

This is a really fun hike and relatively short for the amount of excitement it provides, so definitely add this one to your list of places in San Diego to go hiking!

Happy trails!

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