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!

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Visitor's Guide: Balboa Park

Quince St. & 7th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103

32.740732, -117.156813

Hike: There are many trails on this land    Level: Easy

Dog-Friendly: Yes   Kid-Friendly: Yes




About Marston Canyon:

Marston Canyon is one of Balboa Park’s canyons with beautiful trails that are very lush and green in the springtime. If you have a mountain bike this area will be a ton of fun. These trails will connect you to Balboa’s BMX trails & the Bridle Trail which are also great. It is quiet and peaceful and there are inclines so you will get a little exercise at the very least.

The Upas St. footbridge takes you over highway 163, heading into downtown. This bridge was built in 1946 and connects Balboa Park to Hillcrest. Do not enter this area at night as it is quite isolated and said to not be safe.

On the southwest side of the park is a gateway into four trails:

The 1.0 mile trail follows sidewalks to take tree-lined route loops through the south side of Balboa Park’s West Mesa. Difficulty level: Easy. Follow the #41 round blue trail markers.

The 1.6 mile trail follows sidewalks, stairways, unpaved trails and some road surfaces. Experience unique perspectives of the West Mesa canyons. Difficulty level: Medium. Follow the #42 square orange trail markers.

While you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Bridle Trail nearby!

The 2.6 mile “Jerry Schad Memorial Trail” follows sidewalks and some road surfaces. It is a tree-lined, gently sloping route through the entire West Mesa, featuring some of the park’s finest botanical treasures. Difficulty level: Medium. Follow the #43 square purple trail markers.

The 3.3 mile trail follows sidewalks and some road surfaces. Explore the 1915 Panama California Exposition section of the park by way of the West Mesa and Cabrillo bridge. Difficulty level: Medium. Follow the #44 diamond red trail markers.

You begin to the right of the Marston House, down a long incline:Marston Canyon & Footbridge

Although there are other entrances too:

You will walk across the Upas St. footbridge:


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  • Hilarie Hope
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    I grew up in San Diego – mostly National City and Chula Vista. I’ve been in Oregon for about twelve years now and found this website purely by chance. When I was small, my family would go to Hometown Buffet every Sunday after church and then we’d come here. We just called it “the canyon” and all of us kids loved it! So much to explore and it feels like you’re in this secret, special space even though you’re really never far at all from the rest of the world.
    Major nostalgia right now. So glad you posted this place!!

    March 10, 2022

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