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.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

36 thoughts on “Spanning seven urban bridges, 1 – 3”

  1. 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. 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 🙂

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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

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