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San Elijo Lagoon: Annie's Canyon Loop

Easy/Intermediate
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great option with lots of opportunities to spot birds and wildlife and a neat slot canyon unlike anything in the area.


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Map Key

3.7

Miles

6.0

KM

Out and Back

171' 52 m

High

3' 1 m

Low

263' 80 m

Up

263' 80 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

40%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Wildlife

Family Friendly Fairly flat with options to explore spur trails along the way. Annie's Canyon is a unique adventure but can be claustrophobic and requires climbing up a ladder, which can be challenging.

No bikes, fishing, swimming, boating, or paddleboarding. No smoking/vaping.

Overview

This out-and-back with a little optional loop at the end makes for a nice outing around a protected lagoon. With a few spur trails and bridges over the water, there are lots of spots to birdwatch and scan the water for fish and wildlife. Also easy to shorten your trip by turning back whenever you want or combining various trails.

Need to Know

Trails open sunrise to sunset. Restrooms and water available at the Nature Center during operating hours (9am - 5pm).

Description

From the parking area and trailhead kiosk at the Nature Center, head toward the Nature Center and then left (south) toward the first bridge. Turn right across the bridge, keeping an eye on the water for jumping fish and egrets perched along the banks.

Continue to the far side of the lagoon and turn left (south) onto the Pole Trail. To your left (east) there is often an osprey perched on a post, sometimes with a nice meal in its grasp.

Continue along the wide, gravel Pole Trail without much shade until a big sweeping lefthand turn which can have lots of blooming flowers in the right season. Slowly climb past the Peninsula Trail to a cul-de-sac where you meet and head down the Rios Trail. Here, you'll find some stretches of shade, which can be a nice place to rest, though be wary of rattlesnakes. Stay straight along the main path until you arrive at a clearing.

As a fairly popular spot, you'll probably see other people in this area as it marks the start/endpoint of Annie's Canyon Trail. For this hike, head right (south) into the canyon you see ahead of you. Though relatively small, the tight walls can be challenging for anyone sensitive to tight spaces, especially when there are other visitors in the canyon with you.

Continue heading up with neat alcoves on the left and right and unfortunate graffiti along the walls. At the back end of the canyon, you'll be met with a metal-rung ladder to climb to the main viewpoint and top of the canyon. Enjoy the open air and view before heading back down to the clearing and retracing your steps to the Nature Center.

Flora & Fauna

Osprey, Snowy Egret, Ridgway's Rail, fish, turtles, rattlesnakes, and more.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3946

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#577

in California

#3,946

Overall
13 Views Last Month
104 Since Jun 3, 2021
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

San Diego County
Jun 4, 2021 near Solana…, CA
San Diego County
Jun 4, 2021 near Solana…, CA
San Diego County
Jun 4, 2021 near Solana…, CA
San Diego County
Jun 4, 2021 near Solana…, CA
San Elijo Lagoon
Jun 4, 2021 near Solana…, CA
Hiking up the canyon
Apr 1, 2018 near Solana…, CA

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