As avid hikers who lived in San Diego for decades you'd think we would have hiked every single trail within a hundred miles of the city. But there actually are a few trails left for us to explore, and Secret Canyon
was a lovely new find. I think we'd missed this beauty because its total length is about 16 miles. Fortunately our buddies Martin and Estella had hiked a portion of it and were happy to introduce us to this wonderful place.
Set in the 13,000 acre Pine Creek Wilderness, the northern trail head is accessed off Old Highway 80 near Pine Valley, CA. We hiked almost three miles one way, alongside pretty Pine Creek, under the impressive Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge, to a rock flume built in 1895 but never completed.
Spring is the prettiest time to hike in San Diego, and even though we've had a very dry winter Pine Creek was flowing gently, grasses were abundant, the trees were all leafed out, and the yucca blooms were exploding all over the hillsides.
|Pine Creek is small but beautiful!|
|Chaparral covered hillsides, oak lined creek bottoms, and the fresh leaves of spring right in the creek bed.|
|A truly lovely day on the trail!|
|About 1.5 miles in we see the Pine Creek/ Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge. |
Named after the man who designed Interstate 8, at 450 ft tall it is among the tallest bridges in the US.
|Built in 1974 it was the first segmental balanced cantilever bridge in the US.|
|Estella and Chelsea enjoy the beauty of Pine Creek.|
|The yuccas were taller than us!|
|The unused flume built in 1895 made a great trail barrier.|
|Chelsea hitches a ride on Estella.|
|A perfect spot for lunch.|
|Last look down Pine Creek as we return to our car.|
We were vigilant on the trail looking for rattlesnakes and ticks. We did see one tick during our lunch stop, so all of us were careful to do a tick check post hike. Despite that, Hans felt a pain in his belly the next morning and I discovered a tick in his belly button!
It was a challenging, but successful, removal. Fortunately the tick was only attached for a short time so he is probably safe from tick borne illnesses...We saved the carcass in case he starts showing any symptoms that we need to worry about. Next time we hike we'll use an insect repellent to make sure we avoid the creepy crawly things!
Regardless, springtime hiking in San Diego is awesome and we highly recommend Secret Canyon trail!