Annie's Canyon Trail


Slot canyons are strenuous hikes and only seen in the orange hues of Moab, UT, or on the Discovery Channel’s instagram page right??? Wrong! Tucked in Solana Beach is an awesome little family friendly hike called Annie’s Canyon Trail. If the kids are old enough to walk a few miles, than this trail will work for the whole crew. It’s a fun trail with little twist and turns. A skinny slot canyon rests in the middle, and a small ladder is fixed in to climb out to the finish. Of course if you’re a little scared of tight places there are two routes, so visitors can chose to take the high road, but it’s definitely not as pretty. Right now, there’s a ton of construction on the I-5 near the San Elijo lagoon, so the nature preserve is a little less picturesque than it once was. 

How to get there

Go to the Lomas Santa Fe exit off the I-5, get to N. Rios and park at the very end near the trail head. Enter at the trail head and follow all signs to Annie’s Canyon. Once you get there the sign says “strenuous” (well, we know that’s a little deceiving),….don’t let that bother you. Take that path to see the slot canyons and cool caves. You can make it a much longer hike by going east, but if the canyon was all you wanted to see you can turn around and call it a day. It’s a little less than 3 miles total.

What to Wear


Normal athletic clothing and tennis shoes are a great match. I’ve seen people do it in flip flops, but I don’t think it’s as fun with all the sand and dirt. Since our 2.5 year old is too little to make it the whole way, we put him in the backpack kid carrier and it worked out great!

Brunch after?

If you’re looking to treat yourself post hike, my two favorites nearby are Claire’s on Cedros , or Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff. If you just want to hydrate and let the kids play in the grass, The Lost Abbey in Cardiff is a great tasting room with a fun vibe.








Heather Lake