‘Tour Our Trails’ challenge encourages exploring San Diego County parks

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar helped launch the "Tour Our Trails" challenge at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.

On July 1, San Diego County Supervisors Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond announced the “Tour Our Trails” county parks challenge. In honor of National Parks and Recreation Month, the challenge features 15 county parks with easy, moderate and difficult hikes. Participants are encouraged to track their progress to win prizes with the free, safe recreational activity this summer.

“While you may not be able to head to a bar or brewery or host a backyard barbecue, outdoor recreation continues to be a safe, socially-distanced way to spend time with your family and friends,” Gaspar said. “There’s never been a better time to explore some of our less-trafficked gems.”

The county selected some of its most picturesque parks for the challenge from the creek bed of the Los Penasquitos County Preserve, to the hard-earned summit of El Cajon Mountain. Trails meander through valleys, mountains, deserts even the coast and most can be enjoyed by foot, bike and horse traffic.

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar takes on the trail at Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Participants can track their progress with photos on site and with the Tour Our Trails Challenge booklet that will be available at most county properties in mid-late July. Prizes will be awarded in every category including commemorative stickers, reusable water bottles, canvas bags and a fabric-stitched patch.

The challenge’s five easy trails include Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve’s South Trail, San Elijo Lagoon’s Nature Center Loop Trail in Cardiff, Sweetwater Summit Regional Park (Bonita), Guajome Regional Park in Oceanside and Ramona Grasslands County Preserve.

Moderate trails include El Monte County Park (Lakeside), Louis A. Steltzer County Park (Lakeside), Del Dios Highlands County Preserve (Escondido), Sycamore Canyon (Poway) and Wilderness Gardens County Preserve in Palo.

Tough trails to tackle include Hellhole Canyon County Preserve (Valley Center), Mt. Gower County Preserve (Ramona, El Capitan County Preserve (Lakeside), Santa Isabel East County Preserve (Santa Isabel) and Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve in Julian.

County rangers remind participants to pack sun protection and water, wear good walking shoes and follow social distancing and facial covering guidelines. For more information on all of the trails, visit sdparks.org