Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

bridle trail

Balboa Park

32.735105, -117.156080

Hike: There are multiple trails you can take on this spot    Level: Easy

Dog-Friendly: Yes    Kid-Friendly: Yes




About the Bridle Trail

Sadly this trail is not like what it looks like in these photos anymore. In fact, I may have to add it to my lost history section at this point due to how much death has occurred of these beautiful redwood trees. How did they survive for so many years up until this point?  They seemed to be thriving in even 2013!  I am lost.

The Bridle Trail really came as a surprise to me the first time I stumbled upon it around 2010. Basically being located in the heart of the city, one would not expect to fall upon a grove of redwood trees in Balboa Park!

These trees are said to have been planted during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. I have loved this trail for so many reasons: the tranquility, unique beauty to San Diego, the flower fields in the springtime, fresh air. It all evokes clarity and peace of mind.

While you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Marston House & Garden nearby!

Unfortunately over the years the Bridle Trail has changed significantly. Redwood trees were never meant to live in a desert climate and I’m surprised they survived as long as they did.  At this point most of trees have either died and were chopped down, or are dying.  It’s been a very hard thing to watch.

I would not recommend hiking this trail alone as you will occasionally come across a suspicious person or two. The canyons of Balboa are notorious for lewd activities, such as sexual assaults and drugs.

How to get here

This trail is located west of Route 163 in Balboa Park, and in fact, during parts of the trail you will walk right alongside the freeway and underneath the Cabrillo bridge!

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The hike is actually right along the freeway much of the time:

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One day there was a bird here that I swear escaped from the zoo which is right next door!

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3 Reviews

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3 Reviews


  • A VdW
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    You missed the long, winding, stone stairway at the very south end! It’s beautiful! Continue about 1/4 mile south of the Cabrillo Bridge.

    The largest trees are redwood trees. During one of the expositions the California Redwood Association planted those trees period they are suffering though because they require the coastal mist or at least a lot more humidity and cool weather.

    June 21, 2017

  • Anonymous
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    It doesn’t look so great now. I am astonished that there used to be a lake under their. It looked beautiful!

    November 28, 2017

  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Great website but please,please, please be cautious of transients while exploring this area. around Balboa Park

    July 5, 2019

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