Annie’s Canyon Trail: Fun Hike Through A Slot Canyon

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1.4 Miles


~1 Hr




All Year

Elevation Gain

100 Ft

Annie’s Slot Canyon Trail is an easy 1.4-mile roundtrip hike in San Diego County featuring an abundance of wildflowers, ocean views, and of course, a fun and exciting slot canyon waiting to be explored. Dogs are allowed on a leash. 

Map of Annie’s Canyon Trail

Download Printable PDF Map


Directions & Parking

For directions to the trailhead and street parking, click here.

The Hike Begins

When you arrive at the roundabout, the trailhead will begin on your right, leading away from the ocean and further into the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve.

I love this trail because from the start you’re rewarded with amazing views of wildflowers, a beautiful green meadow, and a flowing creek.

Keep an eye out for a vibrant orange plantlike substance growing on the grass and other plants.

This is a parasite known as Cuscuta California and is harmless to its host but adds to the colorful scenery of the trail.

As you approach the slot canyon you’ll notice the sandstone cliffs begin to rise on both sides as the trail becomes more narrow.

Almost immediately after venturing into the narrow section of the slot canyon, you’ll see a small cave to your left which you can explore if you’d like.

The view from the inside focuses on the cliffs on the opposite side of the canyon. It’s a nice little spot for a short break and to take in the beauty of the sandstone formations around you.

As you continue further up the canyon, the trail becomes narrower and the walls more captivating, almost as if someone carefully used brush strokes to mold the walls into their proper formation.

There is a steel ladder about 20 feet high located at the end of the slot canyon. Unless you turn back, this is the only way out so watch your step- it’s a long way up!

Here is a view from the top looking down on the ladder previously mentioned.

When you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with a view of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve stretching all the way into the Pacific Ocean.

Due to its proximity to the ocean, I highly suggest hiking this trail in the summer months as an alternative to the brutally hot mountain hikes!

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We’re Monica and Phillip. Just like you, we share a passion for the outdoors and our beautiful state of California. After many years of exploring amazing and hidden places, we thought we’d share them with you! We hope this blog shows you tons of new CA adventures!

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