Shepard Canyon Loop

I wanted to explore another urban trail, so I returned to my old neighborhood and decided to hike Shepherd Canyon. I opted to link up North Shepherd Canyon to East Shepherd Canyon, then onto a trail that would skirt Mission Trails Regional Park and back to the start. I parked on Portobelo Street, right near Sheperd Canyon Mini Park. The trail dropped down into the canyon and headed southwest. It always amazes me how quickly the sounds of the neighborhood disappear and the sounds of nature emerge. The trail reached Villarrica Way after a short bit, and I crossed over to continue on the North Shepherd section. I continued along the trail until it reached Antiqua Boulevard. This was the southern terminus for this portion. But at the corner of Santo Road and Antiqua Boulevard, was the entrance to the East Shepherd Canyon trail. I crossed the street at the stoplight. A bit further south along Santo Road was the entrance to West Sheperd Canyon, but I would explore that another day.

I entered the canyon and learned that this part of the trail is also a nature plant trail. Along the first portion of the trail are about 22 signs that will help you identify the plant life. These information panels were installed about a decade ago by a local Girl Scout Troop. Originally, they were black with silver lettering, but exposure to the weather has stripped the black away. To learn more about this project visit

Some of the local residents were out enjoying this wonderful trail. The stream was flowing just a bit, and it meant a few easy water crossings. I came to the turnoff to see Dishwasher Pond. A couple of benches were here to sit and enjoy the canyon view.

I continued on until I climbed out of the canyon and back onto Portobelo. While I could have followed the street back to the car, I was not done exploring. Just past the church, I crossed the street and picked up a trail heading east. Side trails would link to the houses nearby. 

Soon the surrounding houses ended as I crossed over into MTRP. A few trails led off into the park, but I headed north until the trail turned west alongside some condos. From there I cruised along until I exited back to where I had parked. This was a lovely loop that should be in a book. 

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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