The land for this world-famous Balboa Park was put aside in 1868. In 1910 a contest named the developing park in honor of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the primary European to see the Pacific Ocean. Dogs are allowed on trails throughout the 1400-acre park and there are also a pair of 24-hour dog parks: a big grassy area on Balboa Drive at El Prado, on the south side of Cabrillo Bridge, and at Morley Field on the east side of the park northwest of the tennis courts. Grape Street Park is designated as a dog-off-leash area in the course of the following times: Monday-Friday, 7:30-10:00 a.m. and 4:00-9:00 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 4:00-9:00 p.m.
Just northeast of San Diego you may hike along with your dog on the paths of Mission
Trails Regional Park. Dating back so far as 8,000 B.C., this was the land of the the
mighty Kumeyaay Nation with 18 communities spanning California and Mexico, 12
in San Diego County alone. Established only in 1974 on the positioning of Old Mission Dam,
the park’s nearly 6,000 natural acres recalls the land on the time of the primary Spanish
settlement in San Diego Bay in 1542.
Dogs are welcome on the greater than 40 miles of hard-packed trails here across
open chaparral and sage scrub. For brief openers at Mission Trails consider the
Oak Grove Loop and Visitor Center Loop on the Visitor and Interpretive Center. Other
easy canine hikes include the Grassland Loop in East Fortuna and the Father
Junipero Serra Trail that visits all of the habitats of the park including wetlands feeding
Mission Canyon and oak woodlands.
The star canine hike at Mission Trails is Cowles Mountain where several trails result in
the very best point in San Diego – 1,591 feet. The 360-degree views may be had with
round trips starting from three to 5 miles on the trail. A brief detour to the
northwest results in 1379-foot Pyles Peak.
Mission Trails Regional Park is positioned off Mission Gorge Road on the corners of
Father Junipero Serra Trail and Echo Dell Road.