San Diego

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Remains Closed After Winter Storms

A lot of the canyon areas are soggy and not ready for a return to normal

The trails in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve remain closed this weekend after the recent rain storms flooded several portions of the trails, a park ranger said.

The has stopped and the forecast looks clear for the next few days but a lot of the canyon areas are soggy and not ready for a return to normal.

“There is standing water, knee deep at times, covering several portions of the trail,” San Diego City Parks and Recreation Senior Park Ranger Gina Washington said. “The sun should help dry the trail out, but it will take several days, perhaps a full week, of warm sunny days.”

It’s one of the reasons city and county leaders are urging people to stay off these trails. The canyon sits at the bottom of one of the largest watersheds in the county — even trails above the riverbed and canyon floor are still flooded.

The creek normally runs between 2 and 2 ½ feet, but after all this rain it got up to 11 feet recently.

Signs are posted at trailheads telling people to stay off the popular paths which normally are filled with runners, mountain bikers and horses.

Of course, the temptation for some is too much to avoid. Some people wanted to get a glimpse of the waterfalls, which are always more impressive after heavy rainfall, but park rangers said there are problems with all of this.

If they spot people on the trails, rangers said they will most likely explain to the reason for the closure and ask them to leave. In certain cases, however, violators could receive a citation.

They said right now they can't drive vehicles into the preserve because of the water and mud which would make a possible rescue scenario complicated should someone gets seriously hurt.

They also said when people have to go around flooded muddy trails, they end up forging new trails in areas they're trying to preserve.

“The ranger staff and our regular volunteers appreciate your cooperation with the trail closures,” Washington said. “Unauthorized individual efforts to make the trail ‘passable’ often results in delays of official repairs.”

A group of preschool-aged kids and their teachers with the Scripps Nature Program had planned to go on these trails Friday, but instead, they fed some goats and stayed in the areas still open to the public.

Their teacher says he understands the need to let things here dry out.

"Due to the rain, we're having to stay off the trails and trying to just enjoy that whatever we can from being out here in this beautiful site," Scripps Nature Camp teacher Ivan Flores said.

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