Walk under cool bridges on Maple Canyon Trail.

View of the Quince Street Trestle from a spot on Fourth Avenue.
View of the Quince Street Trestle from a spot on Fourth Avenue.

Many nature hikes can be enjoyed in Balboa Park. But there’s another beautiful, quiet hike through date palms and eucalyptus trees and bright spring flowers that anyone can enjoy just a few blocks north of downtown San Diego.

The Maple Canyon Trail stretches from a trailhead near Quince Street and Third Avenue on Bankers Hill to a second trailhead at Maple Street and Dove Street in Middletown. It often seems that the only people who use the trail are dog walkers and joggers who live nearby. Those who haven’t hiked this easy trail are missing out on a unique experience. The Maple Canyon Trail passes under two cool historic bridges!

The Quince Street Trestle is a visually interesting wooden footbridge that was built in 1905. Back then streetcars ran up Fourth Avenue, and the trestle allowed pedestrians to cross the steep canyon from the west. A quarter century ago the bridge, weakened by termites and rot, was closed and almost demolished. Local residents took up the cause of saving the bridge, which was finally declared a historic site.

The Maple Canyon Trail also passes beneath the impressive First Avenue Bridge. The arched steel bridge was built in 1931 and was originally known as the Peoples Bridge. Its astonishing height above the trail is a reminder of San Diego’s unique geology. Southern California’s coastal region is crisscrossed in many places by deep, narrow canyons, which often serve as undeveloped habitat for native species of plant and animal life.

Small cabinet at end of footbridge contains books that people can freely borrow!
Small cabinet at end of footbridge contains books that people can freely borrow!
Walking across the very cool historic trestle on Bankers Hill.
Walking across the very cool historic trestle on Bankers Hill.
Looking down from the trestle at dogs and walker passing through the canyon below.
Looking down from trestle at dogs and walker passing through the canyon below.
This super cool condo is located near the Third Avenue trailhead.
This super cool condo is located near the Third Avenue trailhead.
Maple Canyon Open Space sign near trailhead on Bankers Hill.
Maple Canyon Open Space sign near trailhead on Bankers Hill.
Looking up at the wooden footbridge from the quiet footpath on a sunny day.
Looking up at the wooden footbridge from the quiet footpath on a sunny day.
Wooden beams compose the high trestle.
Wood beams compose the high trestle.
Grass and spring flowers line the Maple Canyon Trail.
Grass and spring flowers line the Maple Canyon Trail.
Some interesting houses can be seen up on the hillsides.
Some interesting houses can be seen up on the hillsides.
Here comes the First Avenue Bridge beyond a eucalyptus tree.
Here comes the First Avenue Bridge beyond a eucalyptus tree.
This elegant old steel bridge has very limited traffic.
This elegant old steel bridge has very limited motor traffic.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

14 thoughts on “Walk under cool bridges on Maple Canyon Trail.”

    1. Once you’re into the canyon, it’s really easy. There’s a short stretch at the Third Avenue trailhead where there’s a somewhat steep descent, but it’s pretty short. If you enter from the Maple Street trailhead, it’s fairly level, with just a slight climb as you head up the trail. It’s not a long hike, but it’s worth checking out once, especially during the spring before everything dries out!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How long is the trail…30 min/ less/ more? I look forward to checking it out. I saved the email with your blog so i can look up how to get there from where i’m at.

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      2. Perhaps 15 minutes one way if you walk slowly. Click the link in my post and you’ll see a .pdf map of the trail, including surrounding city blocks. If you wanted to go on a long walk, you could conceivably reach it from the west end of Balboa Park. It’s going to be super hot this weekend, though!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That sounds interesting to access it via Balboa park. I usually park at that SW parking lot next to the Air and space museum, right next to the sidewalk that goes to that museum from the south. Where would I access that path? I’d wait for a cooler day.

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