The Trail for All People is one of the few trails in the county that is wheelchair accessible, built to ADA requirements. The trail was created for people with mobility issues within Black Mountain Open Space Park. The City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department manages it. Reservations may be made with park rangers for a group outing. The trail is only about 0.25 mile in length and essentially flat, and the trail surface is decomposed granite. Pets are allowed on leash.
Leaving the parking area, you are immediately immersed in coastal sage scrub habitat. There are expansive views to the north toward the 4-S Ranch and west toward Black Mountain and Lusardi Creek. Plants encountered include the normal coastal sage scrub species: coastal sagebrush, toyon, lemonadeberry, laurel sumac, and black sage, among others. It is common to see quail and rabbits, and raptors can be seen flying overhead.
While the trail is open year-round, the best wildflower viewing is in the spring. In the summer, bring water and enjoy the smell of California sagebush, a member of the Asteraceae family that is aromatic due to terpenes contained within the plant. Look for frothy clumps along the sagebrush stems that is produced by spittlebug larvae waste as they feed on plant sap. This produces an environment that insulates against heat and cold and is protection from predators.
There are several interpretive signs along the trail, some with the plant names and interesting facts about those plants. A large topographical map helps point out landmarks and roads in the area. Four shade structures are along the trail with benches and space to accommodate wheelchairs where one can relax and enjoy the views and fresh air.
The Trail for All People became a reality in August 2016 with its official opening in September. The primary champion of the trail was Jas Arnold, a Rancho Peñasquitos resident who spent many years working to get the approvals for the trail. Unfortunately, Arnold lost his battle with multiple sclerosis just months before the trail opened. At the dedication ceremony, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer said, “This trail gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. It opens up a part of San Diego to seniors, families with small children, and those who use mobility devices that wasn’t accessible before.”
Note: Public access to a portion of the adjacent Miner’s Ridge Loop Trail is closed as a precaution while researchers conduct testing due to the higher-than-normal arsenic readings. An abandoned arsenic mine that has not been used for more than 80 years is near the trail.
12115A Black Mountain Road, Rancho Penasquitos
Distance from downtown San Diego: 23 miles (Black Mountain Open Space Park). Allow 35 minutes driving time. There are several entrances to the park, but the closest one to the Miner’s Ridge Loop trail is off Carmel Valley Road. From I-15, head west on SR-56 and take the Black Mountain Road exit. Turn north (right) on Black Mountain Road and continue for a couple of miles until the road ends. Turn right onto Carmel Valley Road. The park entrance and access road to Miner’s Ridge Loop is about 0.75 mile down on the right, past the Glider Park entrance. Parking is free. No facilities.
Hiking length: Approximately a 0.25-mile loop.
Difficulty: Easy. Wheelchair accessible with no appreciable elevation gain/loss.