Greeting the season along San Diego Botanic Garden’s walking trails

By Devin Uriarte  Photos by Rachel Cobb
San Diego is no stranger to sunshine, and with a new season brings an abundance of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The San Diego Botanic Garden marvels visitors with more than 5,000 plant species and 29 uniquely themed gardens, making it ideal for an invigorating walk. Here, you can climb a hill for a vista view, wander through a tropical rainforest boasting a 60-foot waterfall, tiptoe through a Zen bamboo grove, and still be home for lunch.

Walking Tips
There are four miles of trails, suitable for individuals and families of all fitness levels. To help walkers navigate the gardens with ease, the trails are marked with signs. And if you appreciate a birds-eye view, be sure to get a map when you arrive. How long does it take to cover the trails? If you’re hustling, you can cover the grounds in about an hour, but stop and smell the roses! It’s not unusual for first-timers and garden lovers to spend two to three hours here, because there’s so much to discover.

All trails are paved and can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers, but be prepared for some hilly sections. Stop at one of the benches to relax and catch your breath on your way up to the overlook. The ocean view from the lookout point is well worth the hike up. Guided tours are offered every Saturday morning beginning at 10:30 for those interested in a more in-depth experience.

Foliage Tips
According to the Director of Horticulture Tony Gurnoe, spring is an excellent time to be in any part of the garden. “The Native Plants Native People village site and adjacent trail are at their best at this time of year,” he reports. Tony advises visitors to watch for the Del Mar manzanitas and coast ceanothus, which may still be holding onto flowers. And the Fremont’s Star Lily is starting to bloom! The South Africa and Australia climate zone gardens are full of growth and color. But the pièce de resistance? “The flowers of our terrestrial bromeliads, particularly the Puya alpestris,” Tony says. “They are not to be missed when they shoot skyward in the spring!”



Forest Bell Bush
Felicia Daisy
Medeira Geranium
Hotpants Cantua
Sapphire Tower
Poison Rope
California Poppy
Douglas Iris

Coulter Bush
Angel’s Trumpet
Orange Jubilee Tecoma
Mexican Evening
Tree Mallow
Giant Bird of Paradise
Britton Live

Lily of the Nile
Matilija Poppy
Purpletop Vervain
Lacecap Hydrangea
Red Yucca
Red Ironbark


Located in Encinitas, 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego
Open daily 9–5
Adults $18 | Youth $10
Seniors and Active Military $12

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