Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Bayside Walk and Switzer Canyon

San Diego Metro KOA

Chula Vista, CA

January 24, 2024

Wednesday, January 17...

Mission Beach and Bay are always a great choice for a walk.  Last week we enjoyed the Bayshore Walk along the beach and this week we enjoyed the Bayside Walk along the bay.  Dredging began back in the late 1940s to convert  marsh/wetlands into the jewel it is today. 

Today Mission Bay has 32 miles of shoreline and at 4,600 acres, it is the largest manmade aquatic park and the ninth largest municipal park in the country.  Most folks are not aware what a created environment  Mission Bay is.  It was constructed and fabricated for the purpose of creating recreational opportunities.  In fact, the first triathlon in the United States was held there in 1975. I suppose walking is a recreational opportunity and Mission Bay just happens to be a favorite for us and Ronnie and Carol.  We logged in a few miles all the while oohing and aahing.  

My dear sweet Mother-in-Law once said, "Things don't just grow in California, they thrive."  She also said if you ever have a chance to visit California, you should.  She shared that CA  was one of the most beautiful places she had ever been right along side Hawaii.  I haven't been to Hawaii and don't think a trip there is in my future, but I can say for sure that California has been a favorite for years...things do thrive here.  Helen most definitely had a green thumb and a great appreciation for color...I often think of her on these walks.  

Friday January 19...

I just read that San Diego is known for its canyons. I had no idea as I often think of beaches, bays, quaint neighborhoods, birds, colorful blossoms, friends, marinas, sunsets, and yummy food when I think of SD.  Canyons are usually described as a "deep, narrow, valley with steep sides" cut into the earth by running water.  Located east of Balboa Park is one such canyon...Switzer Canyon.  I was so excited Friday morning when Carol texted, "We found a new hike.  It's an urban hike in a canyon. Do you want to go?"  Located just east of Balboa Park, Switzer Canyon is one of San Diego's largest canyons.  Today, the canyon serves as a boundary for North Park and South Park...both charming San Diego neighborhoods.   

Switzer Canyon is named after E.D. Switzer who owned a five-acre farm just outside downtown SD that bordered the canyon in 1869. 

A quick search did not yield any info about him.  And the only other info I found was that  the remoteness of the canyon from downtown made it a good place for an isolation camp during the city's smallpox scare in 1887.  


 In October 1998, the Sierra Club guided about 60 residents on a tour of Switzer Canyon and organized the first canyon "friends".  The canyon is now a protected area to preserve the landforms, habitats, and vegetation.  What beauties these old elm trees are.  

Stately California sycamore trees and saplings...

and gorgeous native evergreen shrubs...Toyon or often called Christmas Berry.

Its a steep walk down and a steep walk up and the section of trail we did was slightly over a mile.  The exit landed us in Burlingame Historic District...a 10 block pocket  roughly located between North Park and South Park.  It is an easy stroll through a neighborhood rich in early-century Craftsman and Spanish Revival bungalows.  

The homes had plaques designating the year the home was built.


I was too busy taking in the brick walks, yard, and retro camper and didn't get the date on this one...

I got side tracked on this one too...what a really nice driveway


And I couldn't help myself...what a face!

We walked a couple of blocks at South urban neighborhood full of charm, coffee shops, unique boutiques, and indoor and outdoor cafes.

Plum Pottery sure caught my eye.  We met Les there.  He is a student of pottery.  

Plum Pottery is actually a studio to teach the art of pottery.  Annie is the owner and she along with two other potters are passing along their skills to locals interested in learning how to make pottery.  

Classes are offered for adults and children throughout the year.  The studio is bright and cheery and if you just happen to be at South Park during a class, the door is open and you are welcome to watch.  

Les says that only the three teachers sell their pottery at the studio and emphasized the studio is not in the business to sell pottery.  The pieces that are put in the window are sold to make room for more pieces and sold at a very reasonable price.  I do have a soft spot for pottery !

On the walk back to the car, we crossed a bridge with a skyline view of SD on our left...

and a view of Switzer Canyon on our right.

The last part of the trail and the climb out...

Two completely different walks...two totally fun days...and so many beautiful things to photograph.  Until next time...

Bayside Walk

Switzer Canyon Trail



  1. Hi Gay! - Not the best weather, but aways a best day outdoors with friends. Bayside walk is always a favorite, much less crowded than the boardwalk on the ocean.
    Isn't Burlingame a fun quirky and historic area? I'm sure you enjoyed the serendipity of finding it.

    1. HiJeff...Bayside is such a fun and colorful walk. I love snapping photos of the homes, the plants, and the fun stuff in the yards on one side and the water and boats on the other side! We just popped right out of the canyon and boom...a historic district and gorgeous old homes. I sure wasn't expecting that! I loved the research and reading about the old streetcar and the was just to much info to add to an already long post.

  2. I did not know that San Diego had canyons either. We will probably never make it there, way too many people for us so it's nice to see it through your eyes.

    1. Hi Jim! I notice the canyons everywhere now…right in between all the gorgeous mountains we pass whenever we go anywhere. I totally understand the “way to many people”. We don’t seem to mind some hustle and bustle here and there and always look forward to our quiet little oasis. SD is a beautiful city to visit.

  3. I am so enjoying the "extra" blogs you have written while in SD. Such an amazing, diverse area. Those homes in Switzer Canyon were amazing and I suspect a touch pricey. I loved traveling to California when I worked especially in winter from Montana--your MIL was correct--everything thrives in CA and I could get a touch of spring before heading back to wintery MT. I loved the doggy in the window photo!

    1. Hi Janna…thank you! I am enjoying the photo opps. When we get home after an adventure, I have soooo many pictures to scroll thru. Many are deleted and many are keepers. It will take the rest of the year to weed thru them all. There are certainly pretty, interesting, and fun things to capture here. I can only imagine the thrill of being here when knowing that back home the snow was measured in how many feet deep it was. That’s cool! And a nice get away!

  4. I'm so glad you decided to take this trip to SD! It's a place we both really enjoy and your pictures are bringing back memories and giving us new ideas!

  5. We loved our various times camping at Mission Bay. There are so many biking options. We hiked several canyons with Hans and Lisa. Who knew there were so many canyons to hike in SD. Glad you found one. Now you can search out others.

    1. Hi Pam, our pups always insisted on us staying at the KOA. They (all four to all three and now with just one) love the grass and play areas here. I never even thought about canyons when thinking about cool!

  6. These places are so fun and colorful! What a grand adventure you both are having! I'm so glad! :)

    1. Hi Jill…we are having a great time and missing home both at the same time.