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April 8, 2016 /

Spanning seven urban bridges, 1 – 3

One of my very favorite things to do is to get out and walk. I enjoy walking for exercise either by myself or with a friend. I love to walk the hills of my neighborhood, or go down to the bay and walk along the shore, or up to the local mountains and hike the trails. I also enjoy walking as a way to discover hidden gems in unfamiliar places. Walking allows me to see the small details I would miss if I was in a car, or even on a bike. When I’m not trying to raise my heart rate, the less hurried pace allows me to observe my surroundings and to stop and take a closer look or snap a picture.

A while ago, I read about an urban hike in our city called the Seven Bridge Walk and was intrigued. The hike is about 5.5 miles long and meanders through several older neighborhoods and crosses over a mix of historic and newer bridges. The walk sounded like the perfect combination of exercise, sightseeing, and  a bit of history, so I filed it away as something to do in the spring.

Finally, last Tuesday, my husband and I decided it was the perfect day to put on our walking sandals and go.

This was the trunk of a very strange tree.

This was the trunk of a very strange tree.

The route begins on the east side of Balboa Park, near the succulent and cactus gardens. After spending some time playing in looking at the plants, we crossed the first – and shortest – of the seven bridges.


This concrete walking bridge was built fairly recently to provide safe passage over a busy street. The bridge has a graceful design and it was a nice way to enter Balboa Park, San Diego’s jewel and the nation’s largest urban cultural park (which deserves—and will get—its own, separate post).


Continuing west along El Prado through the middle of the park, we reached the majestic Cabrillo Bridge. The bridge was constructed in 1914 and is the first multiple-arched cantilever bridge built in California. Although Cabrillo Bridge originally spanned a small lake, cars traveling on State Route 163 now pass underneath its arches.

You can see a downtown high rise, San Diego Bay, and the end of Point Loma off in the distance.

After a few zigs and zags and several stops to take pictures, we reached the third bridge on our walk. Built in 1931, the First Street Bridge is the only steel-arch bridge in the city. It was built in a fabrication plant in the Midwest, dismantled, and then shipped to San Diego to be assembled again.

Come along to see the remaining bridges on our walk in my Spanning seven urban bridges, 4 – 7 post next week.



Leave a Comment
  1. rporter610 / Apr 8 2016 9:08 am

    How interesting – a bridge walk! I bet you saw a lot of things you would miss if you were in a car. I’m looking forward to reading about bridges 4 to 7 next week.


  2. Kate Crimmins / Apr 8 2016 10:26 am

    That walk would book my entire day!

  3. Carol Ferenc / Apr 8 2016 10:28 am

    Love it! Thanks for taking us along, Janis.

  4. Keith / Apr 8 2016 10:35 am

    What a cool tree. Great walk with the bridges.

    • / Apr 8 2016 3:19 pm

      That tree was very strange. I’m not sure what it was because the sign had been broken. I couldn’t tell if the trunk shape was an anomaly or if it was typical of that tree.

      • Keith / Apr 9 2016 6:34 am

        I think you can invent a story of how it was a hide out for a highwayman.

  5. joannesisco / Apr 8 2016 10:57 am

    Yes! This would be my kind of walk. I love bridges!
    The 2nd one in particular I would have taken at least a dozen photos from different angles. Put an arch on a bridge, and I’m in heaven 🙂

    • / Apr 8 2016 3:21 pm

      I knew you’d like it! Other than the Coronado Bay Bridge, it’s probably the best known – and loved – bridge in San Diego.

  6. snakesinthegrass2014 / Apr 8 2016 12:10 pm

    Great pics, and it looks like it was fun. I go to the gym at least four times a week, and even though I enjoy it, there’s nothing like going for a walk outdoors. It’s not really about the exercise; it’s just the sights, sounds, and hopefully the smells. I like a pictorial post — you’ve given me some inspiration to try it sometime in the future.

    • / Apr 8 2016 3:23 pm

      I try to get in the habit of going to the gym but I just love to put on my shoes and walk. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. Stay tuned for more!

  7. laura bruno lilly / Apr 8 2016 12:17 pm

    I love that there was no sign warning humans to not enter the tree trunk! That photo is a keeper.

    • / Apr 8 2016 3:25 pm

      My husband said that it was obvious he wasn’t the first to go inside. I originally asked him to stand in front to give scale to the photo, but he decided to venture into the depths… I’m glad he did.

  8. Shelley / Apr 8 2016 12:48 pm

    That is indeed a very strange looking tree!

    One of my brothers lives north of San Diego. I’ll need to check out the walk the next time we visit the area.

  9. Polly Huffman / Apr 8 2016 2:12 pm


  10. susan@marsha'sbungalow / Apr 9 2016 8:39 am

    Urban walks – wonderful! I also love your term ‘walking sandals’ in the place of the usual boots or shoes. So ‘California’, where weather just doesn’t make for the complications you get everywhere else!

    • / Apr 9 2016 9:25 am

      We purchased our Teva walking sandals before we went to Cuba. We knew the weather would be warm but also that we’d be walking on a lot of cobblestone streets. They worked perfectly for us and have worn them many times for just this sort of hike.

  11. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Apr 9 2016 3:04 pm

    That walks sounds fantastic, and very unique. You are very lucky to have it close by!

    • / Apr 9 2016 5:48 pm

      Close by but not a neighborhood I visit very often. I’m a big lookie-loo so I really enjoyed the lovely old homes along our path.

  12. Terri Webster Schrandt / Apr 9 2016 9:55 pm

    I love Balboa Park. Great shots of the bridges. You could be in blog heaven just writing about all the great sight-seeing in SD!

    • / Apr 9 2016 10:09 pm

      I’ll leave that to Cool Sights in San Diego! Balboa Park really is a jewel… I was going there just about every week for a photography class for awhile.

  13. Encore Voyage / Apr 10 2016 9:22 am

    First, you inspire me to grab the hubs, lace up, and get out there. Second, I reeeally want to save my pennies and visit San Diego! I’m seeing a perfect use for some frequent flier miles! Thanks for sharing this walk! Can’t wait for part two!

    • / Apr 10 2016 9:53 am

      Start saving! I’d be happy to provide info to help you plan your trip. And, of course, set aside some time for us to meet for coffee!

  14. Kathy @ SMART Living / Apr 10 2016 8:39 pm

    Hey Janis! This is very cool. I’ve not heard of it before either and I LOVE to walk too so next time we visit San Diego I’m going to try it myself. Thanks and thanks for the photos! ~Kathy

    • / Apr 11 2016 9:33 am

      The best source for the route I found was from an old Reader article (just google it). I took screen shots of the article and map and used it to find our way. Have fun!

  15. lisadorenfest / Apr 17 2016 8:30 pm

    I love bridges and your photographs are lovely. I visited Balboa Park in 2008 (gosh, scary to think it was that long ago) and so wish I had a camera. Beautiful place. Can’t wait to see your dedicated post on the park

    • / Apr 17 2016 10:52 pm

      It sounds like you are due for another visit! I hope to put together my Balboa Park post soon… it really is a special place!

      • lisadorenfest / Apr 18 2016 12:41 am

        It is indeed. I look forward to getting back there again someday.

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