“A two loop system that can be divided into two smaller parts with small hills, but they do add up.”
— Ski Runner
This run has some deceptively small hills, but they add up quickly. A few of the hills are pretty steep and will challenge the best runners. This is a two loop run so if you are looking for a shorter mileage option, you can skip the second loop or create your own route based on the connecting trails in the area.
Need to Know
Free parking at the southern end of the trail system. No water. One portable toilet is available. The trail is clearly marked and established.
Not too technical, but there are a few loose rocks. Lightweight trail running shoes will suffice.
Hollenbeck Canyon is a good spot from some of the closest good running to south San Diego. It's named after a small riverbed, a sort of a canyon, that allows moderate vegetation, including trees, to live in among the Jamul hills.
Most of the trail is exposed, and there is very little shade along the way. Additionally, this area is known to be hot in spring and summer months. Dehydration/heat management is a must when venturing out in this area.
The course is a two loop system that could be modified as needed. From the parking area, head north then turn left to start the first loop clockwise. Along the first climb, you'll pass several trail junctions. You can use the Trail Run Project mobile app
to make sure you are on the right course.
At about 5 miles, the trail turns south and you'll have a short descent before another climb. This climb ends at just over 8 miles, and from here, you'll have a generally steady descent back to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Everything mostly up to your waist only—there are few trees offering shade. No vista points or rest stops. No cover in case of rain of storm.