Key Hike Statistics:
Distance, Trail Style: 3.5 miles, out & back
Difficulty: Very Easy
Elevation Gain: ~100 feet
Best Time: All Day, Year Round
Parking: Street Parking .2 Mile North of Trailhead
Trailhead: Rose Canyon Trailhead
For many San Diegans the Rose Canyon Open Space provides an ideal spot for walking, jogging, or an easy bike ride within the city center. Due to the relative flatness, soft ground and mostly wide trial conditions, this trail is a very easy hike. My wife and I took our 4 month old daughter for a stroll on a grey afternoon in Winter.
The Rose Canyon Trailhead offers no parking on site as the entrance rests off of busy Genesee Avenue just south of Highway 52 in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego. Street parking can be found .2 mile north of the trailhead on Decoro Street. From there, you’ll simply walk down the hill (south) along Genesee Avenue.
You’ll see a nice big sign marking the trail entrance. The trail is quite wide with some small spur trails near the beginning where you’ll find a few signs marking some of the varieties of plants that can be found along the trail. Mostly, the trail is lined with willow and sycamore but be watchful with dogs and kids in spots as you will spot poison oak lining the trail from time to time. The trail follows the Rose Creek stream bed making the conditions just right for this irritating foliage.
Once you’ve tread 1.5 miles from the trail entrance you’ll see a post marking your distance. This is a good spot to turn around if you’re just out for a leisurely stroll with kids or pups. We pressed on a bit further to see what the trail looked like past this point. In the book, Jerry Schad only details up to this point in the trail.
From the 1.5 mile marker the trail begins to narrow and become much more rocky, this made navigating this section with our sleeping daughter in her jogger a bit of a challenge but we managed. Eventually, the trail will cross the creek bed a couple of times. The first crossing being a well-built foot bridge with hand rails and the like. As you press on and the trail begins to become noticeably narrower and less groomed you’ll come to the second crossing of the creek: two planks spanning what was a murky algae filled creek. This is the area where we decided to turn around and head back. Simply retracing our steps to get back to our car.