Knott Grove Trail

I parked at the Canyonside Community Park near the first ball field, grabbed my gear, and set off. Crossing over Black Mountain Road, I passed over Penasquitos Creek, flowing nicely after a recent rain storm. I turned into the driveway to the Canyonside Equestrian Center to connect with the trail. It was undergoing some maintenance, so I followed the road to the Ranger Station to access the trail there. The trail follows the north side of Mercy Road until the road bends away. Even being close to the road, I hardly heard any traffic noise. After crossing a service road that runs north, the trail became narrower and the surrounding brush became thicker. A marker also indicated that this section was known as the Bill Witzell Trail.

Bill Witzell was a founding member of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve Volunteer Patrol. Using his extensive knowledge as an engineer to design and install most of the bridges that cross Peñasquitos Creek. In addition, he was involved in the layout, design and construction of the Trans-County Trail east of Black Mountain Road.

Gina Washington, Senior Park Ranger – Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve

Several bridges crossed the creek as I continued eastward. Soon the noise from I-15 started to fill the air. The trail passed under the freeway, and then under a smaller abandoned bridge, ending at Cara Way. Just down that road to the north is the Crime Victim’s Memorial Oak Garden (originally known as the Cara Knott Memorial Oak Garden, in memory of the 1986 murder of twenty-year-old Cara Knott). I decided not to visit the garden this time, so I retraced my route. Along the way, a ranger was working on removing some of the invasive mustard from along the trail. We chatted briefly before I thanked her for the effort she was putting into pulling those plants out. This was a nice little hike that was a delightful surprise.

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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