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Balboa Park Trail #22



4.5 mile 7.2 kilometer point to point
97% Runnable


Ascent: 323' 99 m
Descent: -338' -103 m
High: 331' 101 m
Low: 98' 30 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 13% (7°)


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Trail shared by Susan Patch

Mixed-surface, mixed-use trail in an urban area.

Susan Patch

Features -none-

The start, inside Golden Hill Park, is closed from sunset to 8:00 AM daily.

Need to Know

There is parking and restrooms at both Golden Hill Park and Morley Field. Golden Hill Park's gates are closed between sunset and 8 AM daily.


This is Trail #22 of the Balboa Park Trails System. Trail #23 also overlaps much of this route. There are sporadic trail markers and a few map or information kiosks. Dogs must be leashed on the trail, but it goes past two off-leash dog parks. Parts are dirts singletrack, and parts are wide trail, lawn, or asphalt.

The trail officially begins at the Golden Hill Trails Gateway. Head east on Golden Hill Drive. Cross 26th and Golf Course and pick up the trail along the northeast corner of the intersection. Follow it east along Golf Course Drive, crossing some parking areas. Nice views of downtown San Diego here.

Just before Golf Course Drive hits 28th Street, the trail turns left (north) to parallel 28th and cut through three canyons. The first is very steep on both sides and covered in loose cobbles. There are wooden steps going down, and a sandstone outcropping going up. The second and third canyons are not as steep, and have gravel, rocks, or dirt surfaces.

You'll come to a parking lot area for the Grape Street Dog Park, where dogs are allowed off-leash. Pick up the trail on the other side. It goes through trees and comes out along the golf course. Signs note to watch for flying golf balls. Continue straight on the dirt path, do not veer off to the left along the golf course. The trail for Switzer Canyon comes off to the right here. Go up a fairly steep hill. Just before reaching the top, take the small trail to the right, or you'll end up back on the golf course. This puts you out at the base of 28th Street and Maple Street.

There is not really a trail here, so you can run on the street or alongside it. Continue north along 28th Street, then turn left at Upas Street, crossing Pershing Drive. Surface is grass heading west along Upas. You'll pass the Morley Field Gateway/Morley Field Sports Complex, which is also an access point for trails.

Turn left (south) at Morley Field Drive but do not go down the hill, continue south at the park entry road, which will lead you to the Morley Field Dog Park. Go around the park and pick up a singletrack. There are a few trails branching off, but just head south, parallel to Florida Canyon Drive. Surface is packed dirt and cobbles. At the corner of Pershing Drive and Florida Canyon Drive, cross both streets to the southwest corner and head up 26th. Trail goes alongside 26th past the Bennington Oak Grove. Go up the hill and turn right on Golden Hill Drive. Surface is gravel and dirt.

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