Steele Canyon

I have driven past this trailhead numerous times, as I headed out for some of the peaks located further east. Finally, I had a chance to stop and explore the trails here. One of the main attractions for this hike is the historic bridge at the trailhead. I pulled into the smaller parking lot as there were a few spots available. I grabbed my gear and strolled across the bridge. The Sweetwater River flowed underneath it. Just past the bridge, was the larger parking lot. I wandered over to the signboard and checked out the plans to extend the trail system. It is always great to see new trails being planned.  

The trail crossed a small stream, and off to the side, a horse and its rider were taking a break. Once over the bridge, I began noticing signs along the sides of the trail. One of the trail options is to take an interpretative nature trail, and these signs highlight the local flora and fauna. Some were created as part of an Eagle Scout Project, and others by a collection of agencies.

I cruised along until the trail reached a marked junction. Here you could continue back along the nature trail, viewing the southern portion of the area, or keep heading west. After about .2 miles I reached the other bridge that crosses back over the river. Once across I stopped to see explore my options, when a couple and their dog caught up with me. We chatted a bit, they actually hike these trails a lot and invited me to join them. Rosci (named after the ship from The Expanse) trotted along ahead of us. The trail was now the service road for the water district, so we had plenty of room to chat about the network of trails and other hikes. Soon we reached where the road was gated. Rosci had a well-earned drink. My new hiking companions told me more about the plans to connect the trail to the west. We headed back once we all had a nice drink. They pointed at a small trail that goes down to the river and a spot that was crossable, but once there the river was running too high. I returned to the service road, and I caught back up with them, as they stopped to give Rosci another break. We chatted some more until we reached the junction again. They stayed on the service road while I crossed back over the bridge and followed the trail to the river and west. After crossing a small stream, the trail climbed a small distance to a nice overlook. From here you can get a great view of the valley. I kept on hiking west for a bit, but it was getting closer to lunch and some chicken enchiladas from Mi Ranchito were calling my name. 

Back at the initial junction, I took the trail to the south. The interruptive signs, once again started to dot the sides of the trail.   I took a side trail up to a nice shaded bench near one of the other trailheads. I cruised back to the trailhead tossed my gear into the car and headed home. This hike was another great reminder that San Diego is filled with so many great trails tucked away throughout the county.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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