Whoever thought that a gorgeous, easy to hike slot canyon existed just a fraction of a mile away from California’s Interstate 5 freeway, less than a mile from the beach? Luckily for all of us, in mid-2016, this slot canyon opened for all of us to enjoy: Annie’s Canyon Trail.
Annie’s Canyon Trail
I had the chance to check out Annie’s Canyon Trail, and I highly recommend it! Annie’s Canyon Trail is a separate trail within the San Elijo Lagoon. See below for details on how to get there. There are two ways to hike the slot canyon. When you arrive at the base of the slot canyon and see the signs for Annie’s Trail, head right if you’re in the mood for an adventure! Head left if you prefer to hike up a trail to the lookout platform.
I headed right, and enjoyed the short hike/climb up the slot canyon. It is a mere 0.25 miles to hike the slot canyon, and it is a lot of fun! Beautiful sandstone walls surround you while you make the climb upward. Be prepared for some tight spots; you’ll need to use your hands to hoist yourself up in a couple of spots!
Below is a gallery of my mini adventure in San Elijo Lagoon and Annie’s Canyon Trail:
How to Get to Annie’s Canyon Trail
From the I-5 freeway, take exit 37 (Lomas Santa Fe Drive). Head west on Lomas Santa Fe Drive to N. Rios Avenue. Park at the end of the street. This takes you to a trailhead for San Elijo Lagoon. From the N. Rios Avenue Trailhead, it is approximately half a mile (one way) to Annie’s Canyon Trail.
There is another trailhead that has even closer access to Annie’s Canyon Trail, but it was closed at the time of my visit (May 2017). You take exit 37, and also head west on Lomas Santa Fe Drive. Drive a mere 0.2 miles and turn right onto Solana Hills Drive. The trailhead is at the end of the street, about 0.3 miles.
A Virtual Hike of Annie’s Trail
Spoiler alert: if you watch this video, you get to see the entire 0.25 mile slot canyon hike.