On Saturday, Tori and I went for our first hike in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. (Peñasquitos means little cliffs in Spanish.) The 4,000 acre preserve stretches 7 miles between the Interstates 5 and 805 merge to just east of Interstate 15. The preserve also encompasses the smaller Lopez Canyon that runs parallel to the main canyon.
Starting at the Penasquitos Creek Park, we hiked along the flat canyon trail through the open chaparral before switching to the narrower trail that runs along the edge of the wooded creek filled with Sycamore trees and California Live Oaks. At the knocking sound of a woodpecker, we paused to watch the bird's rhythmic drumming against an old dead tree pierced with holes.
Our destination was the Penasquitos Creek Waterfall where the year-round stream cascades through a small volcanic rock defile. It would be cool to return to see the falls after a long rainy season. The creek, originating in the city of Poway, is populated by Pacific tree frogs, crayfish and largemouth bass and drains into the Penasquitos Lagoon that connects to the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines State Beach.
At the base of the falls we turned around and hiked back, keeping an eye out for the frequent mountain bikers racing along the main trail. We also spotted several horseback riders. Our entire hike was 4.6 miles and took a little over 2 hours.