Parks & Recreation
12115A Black Mountain Road
San Diego, CA 92129
Black Mountain Open Space Park is owned and managed by the City of San Diego and is made up of a series of chaparral and sage covered hills, ridges, and canyons. The park is currently 2,352 acres, with expansion a future possibility.
It is located in the Rancho Peñasquitos area of northern San Diego, situated between Camino Del Sur to the west, Peñasquitos Drive to the east, Lusardi Creek to the north and Carmel Mountain Road to the south. The centerpiece of the park is the 1,554-foot summit of Black Mountain, which provides 360-degree views of the surrounding area. On a clear day, the visitor can scan the horizon for ocean views to the west, mountain views to the north and east, and views of downtown San Diego to the south.
Access to the summit is provided by a 2.5-mile hike or bike ride up a dirt road that is near Hilltop Community Park, located at 9711 Oviedo Way.
In January 2017, the City of San Diego closed the Miner's Ridge Loop Trail in Black Mountain Open Space Park out of an abundance of caution after preliminary readings of higher than normal arsenic was detected at Black Mountain Mine and adjacent to Miner's Loop trail.
After closing the trail, the City contracted Ninyo and Moore and staff from the University of San Diego to conduct a thorough study of the mine site and surrounding trails. A final report was provided to the City in May 2018.
The report concluded that while the impacted trails pose no imminent danger to the public, three sections of trails within the Black Mountain Open Space Park did register higher than normal naturally occurring arsenic readings and a recommendation was made to remediate those areas as a precautionary measure. The City completed remediation of the three sections of trails in late Spring 2018 and all Black Mountain Open Space Park trails are open for use. The Black Mountain Mine site will remain closed and will not be accessible to the public.
A capital project has been initiated by the City to permanently secure the Black Mountain Mine site and additional studies and analysis are ongoing.
For questions related to the report, please visit the Parks and Recreation Department "Ask Parks" website.
Black Mountain Open Space Park is easily accessible from four different trailheads. Black Mountain itself is served by two trailheads. From Interstates 5 or 15, you can take state Route 56 to Black Mountain Road and head north. For the Nighthawk Trailhead, turn right on Oviedo Street and right again on Oviedo Way. Proceed to the top of the hill and park at Hilltop Community Park. The trailhead is just to the north. If you would like to get to the Miner's Ridge Loop Trailhead, continue north on Black Mountain Road until you reach Carmel Valley Road. Turn Right (east) on Carmel Valley Road and proceed approximately .75 miles to the entrance you will see on your right.
The northwest portion of the park also has two trailheads. The first is on the north end of Black Mountain Ranch Community Park. From the intersection of Black Mountain Road and Carmel Valley Road described above, turn right (east) and take your first left at the stoplight into the community park. To reach the San Dieguito Trailhead from the same location, you will turn left (west) on Carmel Valley Road and proceed to Camino Del Sur. Take a right (north) at the stoplight and continue on Camino Del Sur. When you reach San Dieguito Road, make a left turn (west) and the trailhead is .5 miles on your right.
* Camino Del Sur also connects directly to state Route 56.
The City of San Diego offers numerous volunteer opportunities for people to get involved in Black Mountain and other open space parks. Volunteer opportunities include cleanup projects, habitat restoration and trail maintenance projects. If people are interested, they are encouraged to attend the Black Mountain Open Space Parks Citizen Advisory Committee meetings held bi-monthly. For more information, please contact the park ranger staff at (858) 538-8082.
To report suspected illegal activity, including transient encampments, encroachment onto City property or other maintenance needs, please call 858-538-8082.
In an emergency, please call 9-1-1.