Box Canyon was my backyard. I would make a trip here at least once a month, as all it required to get there was a stroll down a trail behind my house. The perfect place to escape the craziness of home life and relax, swim, and truly connect with nature.
Box Canyon is one of my favorite spots in all of San Diego. It’s relatively unknown (with the exception of local teenagers), and is a perfect adventure for a nice day.
Finding the canyon wasn’t easy at first. My brother, his friend Jantzen, and I stumbled down the steep cliffs of the canyon battling our way through bushes and shrubs while trying to be kind to nature, which was tearing us open. 2 hours later, we had found our haven.
A beautiful creek and water hole so deep that we couldn’t touch the bottom even if we tried. We found a great cliff jumping spot, and lept into the water again and again until the sun set. I felt like I had discovered something really special, as though no one had ever seen this before.
On our way back, we found a somewhat real trail and hiked the whole hill to the top (it’s definetly a workout), and discovered a No Trespassing sign at the top of the trail which would take us back home.
So, caution, it is illegal technically to go here, and although I never had any interactions with the police on my trips, you may want to be quiet and cautious, and avoid spraypainting or harming the environment in any way.
The next time I visited was with a large group of my best friends at the time. Armed with our disposable cameras and converse, we took the somewhat trail and once again arrived at the waterhole.
I visited a few more times that year, until one day, I decided to trek further into the area, towards Cadencia street.
I finally found the larger pond, with a bonus surprise. A car was submerged under the water! We swam out to check out what was going on in this new part of the canyon that I had only just discovered.
This place is truly unique in San Diego. There aren’t many ponds or waterholes availiable for swimming (although we have the beach), and Box Canyon serves as the home of many of my favorite memories of San Diego. Skinnydipping with friends, showing Austrian exchange students more than just the tourist spots, taking film pictures, and just sitting in silence alone are some of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced, and I have Box Canyon to thank for that.
I would reccommend this place to anyone who really enjoys being in nature, and can handle a rougher hike. The hike involves having to carefully step down a steep hillside, crossing the river a few times by jumping from rock to rock, and scaling the side of the waterfall. It’s an adventure for the books, but not entirely a safe one. Be careful!
If you want to see more pictures from Box Canyon, check out the gallery below!