Walking down the Juniper Staircase in Balboa Park.

The Juniper Staircase is located near the southwest corner of Balboa Park, just north of Marston Point. The rugged “staircase” descends toward a dirt trail that runs through Cabrillo Canyon along the west side of State Route 163.

Ninety eight stone steps that were built by the California Conservation Corps descend from a paved pathway that winds through trees on Balboa Park’s West Mesa. Google Maps refers to the several paths in Cabrillo Canyon as Bridle Trail.

You can locate the curving stairs on a map if you follow the line of Juniper Street east past the intersection of Balboa Drive and 8th Avenue.

I took these photographs walking down the rocky steps. I continued north along the dirt trail by the freeway and passed the place where one can turn to walk under the historic Cabrillo Bridge. I then completed this relatively short and easy hike at Nate’s Point Dog Park, on El Prado, just west of the bridge.

If you’re curious to see what it looks like standing directly under the Cabrillo Bridge, I took some really interesting photographs one day and posted them here!

Be sure to watch your step! The loose dirt and leaves can be slippery.

The Juniper Staircase is a destination for local joggers and runners seeking a workout.

A very peaceful spot, if it weren’t for the noise of nearby freeway traffic.

Looking northeast across Cabrillo Canyon, one can see Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower!

Make sure to wear good shoes. The trail is rough and eroded in spots.

Approaching a split in the trail, where one can walk down under the Cabrillo Bridge.

I was tempted to walk under the bridge again, but decided against it the particular day I took these photos.

Soon arriving at the fence around Nate’s Point Dog Park where happy dog’s can run freely off leash.

El Prado, the road that crosses the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park, is to the right, just a short distance up the hill!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A winter’s day walk in Balboa Park.

Even in winter, on a gray, overcast, slightly drizzly day, Balboa Park is one of the most wonderful places on Earth.

I took an easy walk through the park yesterday.

I saw friends. I saw strangers. I saw families, people young and old.

I saw smiles and expressions of happiness and wonder.

Enjoy these photographs…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Walking information for Bankers Hill.

Would you like to know how many minutes it might take to walk to nearby destinations from Bankers Hill? Then check out this helpful sign!

I saw this new information sign on Sixth Avenue north of Laurel Street. (That’s the grassy west edge of Balboa Park in the photo background.)

I suspect other signs like it must be out there now, too.

If you want to park your car in San Diego and walk, or take public transit, this sign can help you plan a healthy and invigorating shoe leather adventure!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

One more smile from a Spanish Village artist!

For some reason, I’ve always paused when passing Studio 13 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.

Perhaps it’s the word Ebullience above the front door. More likely it was the organic, seemingly infinite art that blossomed all around the place.

Over the years, I had spoken a few times to ceramic artist Sylvia Mejia, who worked in Studio 13. The first time she showed me the labyrinth she’d painted on the patio in front. The next time she showed me inside. What I found was indescribably powerful. If you’d like to see those photographs, click here.

Well, lately I’d noticed the door is shut, nobody home. And today I saw Studio 13 had been vacated. She’s moved on, I was told.

But I got one more smile. Because in the parking lot to the side of her old studio, next the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad’s fence, like an ancient living guard, one of her wonderful, whimsical sculptures still stands.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

New flowers in Balboa Park’s Alcazar Garden!

It looks like the Garden Stewards of Balboa Park have been busy in the Alcazar Garden!

I walked through Balboa Park today and discovered rows of beautiful, newly planted flowers in several areas of the garden. As you can see in my photos, it appears the larger sections will soon be planted, too!

A couple days ago I got an email newsletter from Forever Balboa Park that talked about this project. But, alas, it appears that email got deleted. So if it mentioned what sort of flowers these are, I don’t have the information.

If you know more about flowers than me (which means practically everybody), and you recognize what these are, leave a comment with your observation!

And if you’d like to volunteer to help beautify Balboa Park, San Diego’s magnificent crown jewel, here’s the website you need to check out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Tiny sidewalk mysteries in Balboa Park!

When you walk randomly through a city, you encounter unexpected mysteries.

The other day I was walking through Balboa Park, west of the Cabrillo Bridge, when strange, tiny mysteries greeted my eyes. Down in the concrete sidewalk were a few dozen scattered leaf impressions.

I found them on the north side of El Prado, west of Balboa Drive, in the vicinity of the Sefton Plaza statues of Balboa Park’s founders.

Did leaves falling on fresh new concrete produce these impressions? The impressions seem too deep for that.

What’s more, many of the leaf shapes don’t appear to match any of the nearby trees or vegetation.

Were these mysterious impressions produced naturally or deliberately?

Stamped in the concrete sidewalk a short distance to the west, at Sixth Avenue, is the year 1968. Perhaps that’s a relevant clue.

What do you think? Does anybody know?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Vandalized landscapes at San Diego Museum of Art.

Two galleries at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park feature slashed, defaced and vandalized landscape photographs. The title of the exhibition is Disestablishment.

Galleries 14 and 15, freely accessible to the public from the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court (home of Panama 66), are filled with this disquieting artwork.

San Diego artist John Raymond Mireles took photographs of natural beauty at areas once part of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Southern Utah, then invited people to hammer upon, cut, scratch and pen graffiti on each piece. This intentional damage is said to represent how the land can now be exploited for oil drilling and coal mining.

Like much contemporary art with a political message, these not-so-subtle pieces aim to shock the viewer. Learn more about Disestablishment, on view until January 30, 2022, at the SDMA website here.

Here are a couple more examples…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Students reveal genealogy, humanity at History Center.

An exhibition at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park assembles the genealogical research of students at High Tech High.

The High Tech High “Rubber Duckies” have discovered the fascinating stories of their ancestors, and have shared them online. The stories contain joys, struggles, successes and failures–they are memories of complex lives filled with humanity whose echoes still touch the living.

At the museum, visitors can scan QR codes to read the stories. Or you can read them now by clicking Pre 1900, 1901-1950, or 1951-Present. Then click Family History at the top of each story summary to read the student report.

Many of the students have immigrant ancestors with stories that will break or lift your heart. Some distant ancestors are quite surprising, such as William the Conqueror.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Between Heaven and Earth in Balboa Park.

Today I stepped through a door and found myself somewhere between Heaven and Earth.

The fine art exhibition, titled Between Heaven and Earth, filled Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. Canvases on the gallery walls flowed with shadows, mists and dimly seen forms. The San Diego artist who ushered these visions into existence is Catherine Carlton.

Her more mysterious pieces seem to blend earthly scenes with a sense of their spiritual essence. Her creations evoke a subtle emotional response–a feeling that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. Some of her pieces include sacred symbols or bits of verse.

I particularly loved her art made with layered wax containing pigment. Images of rain, lightning, and natural landscapes are ethereal, fluid, and alive. You can see an example in my next photograph.

Catherine Carlton creates this sublime beauty in her art studio at Liberty Station. She particularly loves to produce commercial art, and has painted murals for various local restaurants..

If you’d like to see more of her work, visit her website here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Glass artists exhibition in Spanish Village!

Many pieces of amazing glass art can be enjoyed this weekend in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. The public is invited to view the Art Glass Association of Southern California’s 40th Annual Members’ Exhibition in Gallery 21. Unfortunately it ends much too soon on Monday.

I’ve always had a love for lustrous, luminous glass art. Pieces often appear like liquified light, caught for an instant in time. Like carefully hand-crafted jewels, their appearance changes depending on one’s angle of view. One extraordinary piece, as you’ll see, cleverly uses prism refraction to produce many different bright colors.

I noticed that most of the exhibited pieces are for sale. If I had a million dollars, I’d grab them all.

To me every one is magic.

Sunburst, Diana Griffin.
Abundance, Kathleen Mitchell.
Bellora, Michelle Bohannan Sherer.
Gen Z Redhead, Marti Blair.
Drop Vessel, Krista Heron.
Baby Blue Monk, Tom Marosz.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!