Rose Canyon



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Descent into Rose Canyon.
Rose Canyon (formally called Rose Canyon Open Space Park) is a pleasant walk / hike on a hard-packed dirt road. You can enter the hike at many locations, but no matter where you choose to start, you will begin by descending into the bottom of the canyon. At the very bottom, there is a train track and you will walk alongside the tracks.



The Trail

The trail begins on Genesee Ave between Nobel Drive and Governor Drive - it is right beside University Community High School (see trail map here ). Park on the west side of Genesse Avenue and begin walking down into the canyon.

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Check for up-to-date information at the trailhead.


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Walk along side railroad track.
You can walk on the north side of the train tracks or on the south side of the train tracks. It's best to decide now and then stick to your decision. You can cross to the other side, but this is not advisable because walking off the trail may damage the habitat and disturb the local wild life. Plus, there's always risk when you cross an active railroad.



Start walking west. Rose Canyon Open Space park goes for about 2 miles and which point, you can turn around and walk back. For the most part, the trail is in exposed sun but some sections of the trail have overhanging branches which gives limited shade.

Along the route, you will find forks in the road. These minor trails allow you to leave the canyon and enter the residential areas that overlook the canyon. These off-shoots offer quaint details such as a foot bridge or a park bench.
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Forks in the trail allow you to enter/exit the canyon.


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Trail is flat and easy but little details make it a fun hike: wooden railing, a canopy of trees, foot bridge.


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The Animals

Rose Canyon is home to many animals including squirrels, gophers, raccoons, skunks, rabbits, coyotes, foxes, and mule deer (though I've never actually seen one). Bird watchers delight in this canyon since it is home to sparrow, starlings, thrashers, orioles, woodpeckers, owls, hawks, and raptors. See cumulative bird list here.

Don't forget the insects (lady bugs, spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, & beetles) and lizards.



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rose canyonFlowers found in the canyon.

Who uses the Trail?

The trail is used by many people: walkers, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, nature lovers, photographers, bird watchers, dog walkers, small groups led by park rangers, and school-aged children on field trips.



What to Bring

Be prepared: bring water, wear sunscreen & hat, and walk with a buddy. There are no bathrooms and please leave nothing except for your footprints. Dog walkers, please pickup after your dogs so that everyone can enjoy the park (bags provided at the trail head).



Possible Dangers


Even though this is an easy hike/walk, it can still pose certain hazards typical of San Diego hiking trails. Be aware that ticks and rattlesnakes live in the canyon. Not to mention, there is poison oak and poison sumac. I once fell in a sink hole, so stay on the trail and be aware of possible dangers.



History of Rose Canyon

Thousands of years ago: Kumeyaay Indians lived in Rose Canyon. Then...

1769: explorer Gaspar Portola documented that Mexican ranchers lived and worked in Rose Canyon.
1853: early settler and entrepreneur, Louis Rose, bought 650 acres of the canyon and did various things including: building a ranch & a tannery; planted a vineyard; and mined the land for coal, copper & gold.
1960: many of the commercial structures were removed to preserve Rose Canyon's natural beauty.
1882: a railroad was made through the canyon by the California Southern Railroad.
1900's: Subsequent landowners continued to build and commercialize Rose Canyon.
1960's: work began to restore Rose Canyon to its natural state.


Recent Events

In recent years, the City of San Diego has proposed to build a bridge across Rose Canyon so that the two sections of Regents Road is connected and continuous. This project, called the Regents Road Project will relieve congestion along Genesee Avenue and may benefit commuters and businesses.

However there is much resistance towards building the bridge because it would disturb the natural beauty of Rose Canyon Open Park. The construction process will destroy habitat for local wild life. As well, Rose Canyon is within the Rose Creek watershed and construction of a bridge will destroy this coastal watershed. If you love this hiking trail, you can show your support by joining The Friends of Rose Canyon : an organization dedicated to the protection, preservation, and restoration of the park for future generations.

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