A Southern California Slot Canyon Adventure!

Annie's Canyon Trail
The beautiful slot canyon of “Annie’s Canyon Trail” in San Elijo Lagoon, Solana Beach (North San Diego), California..

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:

The slot canyon!!!
Start here: Entering San Elijo Lagoon
Looking for the slot canyon!
Gorgeous spring wildflowers
Coastal wetlands
Approaching Annie’s Trail
Slot Canyon ahead!
Hiking Lady headed toward a slot canyon
Two ways to go…Take a right if you’re up for some climbing!
Annie’s Trail
So tranquil
Hiking Lady headed into the slot canyon
Climbing the slot canyon
Climbing the slot canyon
It gets pretty narrow…
The ladder out to the top!
Looking down from the top of the slot canyon
Water erosion = beautiful natural art
Looking down into the canyon
View from the top of Annie’s Trail
The gorgeous Pacific Ocean in the distance beyond San Elijo Lagoon
Peaceful, well marked trail
Peaceful, well marked trail
A friendly grasshopper on the trail
A friendly grasshopper on the trail
San Elijo Lagoon
San Elijo Lagoon

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.

Happy trails!


  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi A C, I’d recommend about 45 minutes to an hour, which includes time to savor the views. It isn’t a very long hike. Enjoy!

  2. A C Black says:

    How long should I plan for this hike w/slot canyon, start to finish? Thx for the head’s up! It’s beautiful!!

  3. Peter Byrd says:

    The wonders of this world will never cease to amaze me. Annie’s Canyon Trail looks staggering. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I didn’t even realise this trail existed! I can’t wait to visit it myself. Thanks again!

  4. Carl says:

    Tremendous view at the top! I’ll have to make the trip down to San Diego to check out Annie’s Canyon.

  5. Hiking Lady says:

    San Elijo Lagoon has some shade from trees; Annie’s Trail does not have trees, but it has shade in the mid afternoon and mid morning because it is a canyon. I’d just avoid mid-day, because Annie’s Trail will be in full sun. Note that because it is so close to the coast it is unlikely to ever be too hot! Thank goodness for cool ocean breezes 🙂 Have fun!

  6. Donna says:

    Oh man! You are brave Hiking Lady. I think I’ll stick to regular trails. It does look cool though.

  7. Dodger Fan says:

    WOW!!! Thanks for the video and inf. re. slot canyon; enjoyed it very much especially the views and music selected.

    Please continue your good suggestions through Hiking Lady!

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