Beautiful San Diego hiking trail welcomes wheelchairs.

Wheelchairs are welcome on the beautiful Jas Arnold Trail For All People in Black Mountain Open Space Park.
Wheelchairs are welcome on the beautiful Jas Arnold Trail For All People in Black Mountain Open Space Park.

A hiking trail that welcomes wheelchairs recently opened in San Diego’s North County. It’s called the Jas Arnold Trail For All People, and it’s located in the Black Mountain Open Space Park.

This morning I walked the short loop for the first time.

What a wonderful place. Peaceful, a bit meandering, easily accessible, with pleasant views into the sunlit distance, fresh air, the scent of sage, the sound of birds–it’s a fine place that one can explore at a easy pace and just relax–a place to feel energized, spiritually whole and free.

Here are some photographs. To read the signs, click the images and they will enlarge. This morning I spotted a shy rabbit, a curious scrub jay and a cheerful young mockingbird. And a bunch of small flitting birds that I couldn’t identify.

The Trail For All People is a 1076 feet long, nearly level loop. The elevation runs between 777 and 792 feet. The five foot wide hiking trail’s decomposed granite surface is very easily navigated on wheels or by foot. Those in a wheelchair who love nature and the outdoors should definitely check it out!

To reach the Trail For All People’s trailhead, drive up Carmel Valley Road and watch for the Black Mountain Open Space Park sign that mentions Miner’s Ridge Loop. You’ll spot it just south of the Valle Del Sur Court traffic light. Turn in to the narrow entrance and head up a slightly rough and winding paved road for about a half mile until you reach the trailhead parking lot. Once parked, it’s easy to spot the Trail For All People. (You might also see trailheads for the Miner’s Ridge Loop and Lilac Canyon Trail.)

On warm days, make sure to bring water! Enjoy!

To find the trailhead for the Trail For All People, turn off of Carmel Valley Road at this sign, just south of the traffic light at Valle Del Sur Court.
To find the trailhead for the Trail For All People, turn off of Carmel Valley Road at this sign, just south of the traffic light at Valle Del Sur Court.
Early morning walker with dog on the Miner's Ridge Loop Trail, across a parking lot from the Trail For All People.
Early morning walker with dog on the Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail, across a parking lot from the Trail For All People.
The Jas Arnold Trail For All People is an ADA Accessible loop composed of wheelchair-friendly decomposed granite. Four small shelters provide shade for those enjoying the views.
The Jas Arnold Trail For All People is an ADA Accessible loop composed of wheelchair-friendly decomposed granite. Four small shelters provide shade for those enjoying the views.
Native plants along the trail include Black Sage, Coastal Prickly Pear, California Sagebrush, Laurel Sumac, Chamise, Lemonadeberry and Flat-top Buckwheat.
Native plants along the trail include Black Sage, Coastal Prickly Pear, California Sagebrush, Laurel Sumac, Chamise, Lemonadeberry and Flat-top Buckwheat.
Animals one might spot along the trail include rattlesnakes, Red-tailed Hawks, California Quail, Greater Roadrunners, Desert Cottontails, Bobcats and Coyotes.
Animals one might spot along the trail include rattlesnakes, Red-tailed Hawks, California Quail, Greater Roadrunners, Desert Cottontails, Bobcats and Coyotes.
I'm hiking down the easy Jas Arnold Trail For All People on Black Mountain early one Saturday morning. The sun had just risen and few people were about.
Here I’m hiking down the easy Jas Arnold Trail For All People on Black Mountain early one Saturday morning. The sun had just risen and very few people were about.
One of the benches and shelters along the Trail For All People. Views to the north include mountains and nearby 4S Ranch.
One of the benches and shelters along the Trail For All People. Views to the north include mountains and nearby 4S Ranch.
Looking southeast toward a chaparral-covered slope of Black Mountain in north San Diego County.
Looking southeast toward the chaparral-covered slopes of Black Mountain in north San Diego County.
A topographical map shows the position of the Trail For All People in relation to its surroundings.
A topographical map shows the position of the Trail For All People in relation to its surroundings.
The Jas Arnold Trail For All People was built on a small plateau in the Black Mountain Ranch Open Space Park.
The Jas Arnold Trail For All People was built on a small plateau in the Black Mountain Ranch Open Space Park.
Another sign along the trail provides detailed information about some of the wildlife one might see.
Another sign along the trail provides detailed information about some of the wildlife one might see.
Another section of the relatively level Trail For All People. The easy loop is ideal for the mobility challenged and families with small children. On warm days, bring water!
Another section of the relatively level Trail For All People. The easy loop is ideal for the mobility challenged and families with very small children. On warm days, bring water!
One of many fascinating signs along the trail. The smell of sage adds a pleasant element to one's invigorating journey through fresh open air.
One of many fascinating signs along the trail. The smell of sage adds a pleasant element to one’s invigorating journey through fresh open air.
A pleasant view from the Jas Arnold Trail For All People on Black Mountain.
A pleasant view from the Jas Arnold Trail For All People on Black Mountain.
The natural beauty, open spaces and sunlight make one feel happy and alive.
The natural beauty, open spaces and sunlight make one feel happy and alive.

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

A hike down to the grinding rocks at Mission Trails.

Visitors enjoying Explore Mission Trails Day head down Grinding Rock Trail.
Visitors enjoying Explore Mission Trails Day head down Grinding Rock Trail.

About 60 miles of hiking trails through a wilderness environment can be found just 8 miles from downtown San Diego. Seriously!

This morning I enjoyed a very short walk (about a mile) at Mission Trails Regional Park. I went on the occasion of Explore Mission Trails Day, an annual event that showcases this amazing, enormous urban park.

The relatively easy hike was from the Visitor and Interpretive Center to some grinding rocks on the banks of the San Diego River, then back. Led by our guide, Linda, a small group learned what life was like for the ancient Kumeyaay people, who’ve lived in this dry, rugged area of Southern California for thousands of years, long before Europeans arrived. The Kumeyaay lived off the land. The very land where we walked.

We gathered at the kiosk near the parking lot for an easy morning nature walk.
We gathered at the kiosk near the parking lot for an easy morning nature walk.
Hiking through common, aromatic Southern California sagebrush toward distinctive mountain, South Fortuna.
Hiking through common, aromatic Southern California sagebrush toward a distinctive mountain, South Fortuna.
We pause under a coast live oak, which produces acorns and shade valued by the native Kumeyaay.
We pause under a coast live oak, which produces acorns and shade valued by the native Kumeyaay.
Large nest created by a woodrat (also known as pack rat). The Kumeyaay would bang a nest with a stick and hope to capture a snake, to eat.
Large nest created by a woodrat (also known as pack rat). The Kumeyaay would bang a nest with a stick and hope to capture a snake, to eat.
We cross a small wooden footbridge and take in nature's sights and smells on a beautiful day.
We cross a small wooden footbridge and take in nature’s sights and smells on a beautiful day.
These tiny pinkish white flowers are flat-top buckwheat. Their tiny seeds are edible. The blooms attract butterflies.
These tiny pinkish white flowers are flat-top buckwheat. Their tiny seeds are edible. The blooms attract butterflies.
It's easy to forget you are in the San Diego city limits in this open wilderness.
It’s easy to forget you are in the San Diego city limits in this open wilderness.
Water erosion visible in the gradually descending dirt trail. As the morning was overcast and cool, no snakes were out sunning.
Water erosion visible in the gradually descending dirt trail. As the morning was overcast and cool, no snakes were out sunning.
Yucca fibers were used by the Kumeyaay to make nets, sandles, baskets and other useful things.
Yucca fibers were used by the Kumeyaay to make nets, sandles, baskets and other useful things.
Linda, our tour guide, talks about the ancient history of this region and its indigenous peoples. The Kumeyaay moved about depending on the season and availability of resources.
Linda, our tour guide, talks about the ancient history of this region and its indigenous peoples. The Kumeyaay moved about depending on the season and availability of resources.
Dodder is an orange colored parasitic plant. According to Kumeyaay legend, a woman who failed to guard a camp against invaders ran away, and some of her hair snagged in the bushes!
Dodder is an orange colored parasitic plant. According to Kumeyaay legend, a woman who failed to guard a camp against invaders ran away, and some of her hair snagged in the bushes!
A patch of poison oak! Leaves of three, let it be!
A patch of poison oak! Leaves of three, let it be!
We approach the San Diego River, but first pass beneath a large arching tree. If you see a native tree in San Diego, there's probably water nearby!
We approach the San Diego River, but first pass beneath a large arching tree. If you see a native tree in San Diego, there’s probably water nearby!
Smooth boulders on the bank of the San Diego River in Mission Trails Regional Park.
Smooth boulders on a bank of the San Diego River in Mission Trails Regional Park.
Family investigates the life-giving water. The Kumeyaay at times would follow the river all the way to the coast, where some witnessed the landing of explorer Cabrillo.
Family investigates the life-giving water. The Kumeyaay at times would follow the river all the way to the coast, where some witnessed the landing of explorer Cabrillo.
Many mortar-like holes in the nearby boulders are where Kumeyaay ground acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other edible resources found in this arid environment.
Many mortar-like holes in the nearby boulders are where Kumeyaay ground acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other edible resources found in this arid environment.
Walking stick leans up near some Yucca fiber creations brought by our guide. The basket on the right was made with willow branches. Natural salicylic acid found in willows kept out insects!
Walking stick leans up near some Yucca fiber creations brought by our guide. The basket on the right was made with willow branches. Natural salicylic acid found in willows kept out insects!
Starting back up toward the Visitor Center during a very cool hike in San Diego! If you go for a hike, bring water and sturdy shoes!
Starting back up toward the Visitor Center during a very cool hike in San Diego! If you go for a hike, bring water and sturdy shoes!

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Fun photos of Explore Mission Trails Day!

As event begins, community organizations set up displays on the Visitor and Interpretive Center patio.
Park rangers and community organizations set up displays on the Visitor Center patio.

This morning I headed up Mission Gorge Road to check out the big annual Explore Mission Trails Day event!

Mission Trails Regional Park is a 6000-acre nature reserve located in San Diego’s East County. It’s one of the largest urban parks in the United States–basically a wide stretch of rugged, rocky wilderness within our large modern city! The San Diego River runs through the very heart of the park as it makes its way from higher inland elevations to the Pacific Ocean. I often drive past and gaze at the low chaparral-covered mountains and hills, and twice I’ve climbed Cowles Mountain, but this was the first time I’ve actually set foot inside the Visitor Center.

What an awesome place! How did I miss it all of these years?

Today I limited myself to the south end of the park, including a short but super cool hike from the Visitor Center to the Grinding Rocks. (That will be my next blog post!) There were additional Explore Mission Trails Day activities up by the Old Mission Dam and Kumeyaay Lake Campground, and by Mast Boulevard and Highway 52. I suppose I’ll have to go again next year!

My photos tell the story of what I saw…

Banner beside Father Junipero Serra Trail announces Explore Mission Trails Day!
Banner beside Father Junipero Serra Trail announces Explore Mission Trails Day!
There were opportunities to learn about nature, wildlife, science, history and the environment.
There were opportunities to learn about nature, wildlife, science, history and the environment.
Some folks near the main entrance of the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Some folks near the main entrance of the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.
Bronze sculpture of a golden eagle is perched above path near the Visitor Center entrance.
Bronze sculpture of a golden eagle is perched above path near the Visitor Center entrance.
Plaque by door dedicates the large open space park to past, present and future San Diegans.
Plaque by door dedicates the large open space park to past, present and future San Diegans.
View inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center from second floor balcony.
View inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center from second floor balcony.
Flutists play near Heritage sculpture depicting Kumeyaay elders. Amazing monumental artwork is by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
Flutists play near “Heritage” sculpture depicting native Kumeyaay elders. Amazing monumental artwork is by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
The Art of Bird Photography is a special exhibition featuring the work of Blake Shaw.
The Art of Bird Photography is a special exhibition featuring the work of Blake Shaw.
Roberta Labastida is the author of My Ancestors' Village, which tells about the life of the native Kumeyaay people who were here long before the arrival of Europeans.
Roberta Labastida is the author of My Ancestors’ Village, which tells about the life of the Kumeyaay people who were here long before the arrival of Europeans.
Numerous exhibits and activities could be found inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center.
Numerous exhibits and activities could be found inside the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center.
Western Scrub Jay and Northern Racoon are animals one might see in this very large San Diego urban park.
Western Scrub Jay and Northern Racoon are animals one might see in this very large San Diego urban park.
Cleaning some chalk off where kids have been identifying animal tracks.
Cleaning some chalk off where kids have been identifying animal tracks.
The bobcat is often encountered in the hills and mountains of San Diego County. I once saw one while hiking around Mount Laguna!
The bobcat is often encountered in the hills and mountains of San Diego County. I once saw one while hiking around Mount Laguna!
Historically, the Kumeyaay lived in large family groups, and moved about depending on the season and the availability of nature's bounty.
Historically, the Kumeyaay lived in large family groups, and moved about depending on the season and the availability of nature’s bounty.
Exhibits in Visitor Center's museum show different aspects of Kumeyaay culture, including songs, games and crafts.
Exhibits in Visitor Center’s museum show different aspects of Kumeyaay culture, including songs, games and crafts.
Very cool observation window allows visitors to look out upon South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak.
Very cool observation window allows visitors to look out upon South Fortuna and Kwaay Paay Peak.
With the majestic chaparral-covered Fortuna Mountains as its backdrop, the coastal sage scrub habitat is highly adapted to our long hot summers.
With the majestic chaparral-covered Fortuna Mountains as its backdrop, the coastal sage scrub habitat is highly adapted to our long hot summers.
Looking back out at the outdoor patio. More people have arrived in the past few minutes while I explored inside.
Looking back out at the rear patio. More people have arrived in the past few minutes while I explored inside.
Now I'm outside again, coming down some steps. Another overcast day, following San Diego's latest storm!
Now I’m outside again, coming down some steps. Another cloudy day, following San Diego’s latest storm!
Replicated flume near Visitor Center is a modern interpretation of the man-made channel that carried water from the old Mission Dam (a couple miles upriver) to Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Replicated flume near Visitor Center is a modern interpretation of the man-made channel that carried water from the Old Mission Dam (a couple miles upriver) to Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Sign by replicated flume details how it was engineered. Water was used at the old Mission for livestock, farms and inhabitants.
Sign by replicated flume details how it was engineered over two centuries ago. Water was used at the old historic Mission for livestock, farms and inhabitants.
Cool table full of meteorites next to traditional Kumeyaay house made of willow branches.
Cool table full of meteorites next to traditional Kumeyaay house made of willow branches.
This sign tells the story of a fictional Kumeyaay woman, circa the year 1000. This primitive house was called an Ewaa.
This sign tells the story of a fictional Kumeyaay woman, circa the year 1000. This primitive house was called an Ewaa.
Large boulder moved to Visitor Center due to construction contains a mortar-like hole used by Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other foods.
Large boulder moved to Visitor Center due to construction contains a mortar-like hole used by Kumeyaay to grind acorns, seeds, roots, herbs and other natural foods.
A replicated solar calendar made of stones used by Native Americans to mark the Winter Solstice. Only a couple have been found in San Diego County.
A replicated solar calendar made of stones, used by Native Americans to mark the Winter Solstice. Only a couple have been found in San Diego County.
This beauty is a California Wild Rose, found beside the patio. You more often find them along streams.
This pink beauty is a California Wild Rose, found beside the patio. They’re more often found along streams.
Lady rests in Visitor Center amphitheater by small bronze sculpture of a Dusky-footed Woodrat. These wild rodents can create nests up to 8 feet high!
Lady rests in Visitor Center amphitheater by small bronze sculpture of a Dusky-footed Woodrat. This wild rodent can create a nest up to 8 feet high!
Sculpture of a coyote, one the top predators of Mission Trails Regional Park. Even with human encroachment, they remain numerous today.
Sculpture of a coyote, one the top predators of Mission Trails Regional Park. Even with human encroachment, they remain numerous today.
Family checks out a very cool sculpture of a mountain lion at the amphitheater. This secretive animal is rarely seen around here.
Family checks out a very cool, life-size sculpture of a mountain lion at the amphitheater. This secretive animal is rarely seen around here.
Ms. Frizzle was present at Explore Mission Trails Day! The event was an educational treat for both kids and adults!
Ms. Frizzle was present at Explore Mission Trails Day! The event was an educational treat for both kids and adults!

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