- The Balboa Park Trails system is a valuable asset for both tourist and veteran park lovers alike. me. Roughly 24 loop trails ideal for walking and running have been identified throughout the 1172-acre preserve. All the trails run along existing byways, which range from well-trod concrete sidewalks to steep and rutted paths that penetrate the park's little-explored canyons. For the trails project, they've been mapped and measured and marked with easy-to-read signage. One of the best places to enter the trail system is at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street (the northwest corner of the park). There you find a large blue sign bearing a map and detailed descriptions of the five trails starting from the Sixth and Upas "Gateway." These range in length from 1.5 to 6.6 miles, and in challenge from Easy (level, easily accessible concrete walkways) to Difficult (half of it consisting of sloping to steep dirt trails.) Trail #5, the difficult 6.6.-mile one, has proven to be the most popular so far, according to park rangers. Among other things, it explores the little-known Marston Hills Canyon, rambles up Gold Gulch, and follows the bridle path that runs along the western side of Highway 163. Extensive clearing of some of the park's canyons has taken place during the past two years, and as this occurred the homeless and drug users who once claimed these areas have move out too. So the trails that run through the groves of redwoods and Torrey Pines and Norfolk pines and olives trees and other wonderful woodsy specimens in these areas feel more like wilderness than urban wilds.
- The description was provided by Jeannette M. De Wyze
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