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Water carves slot canyon near Solana Beach


Image: Jason Mizerek, Fleet Science Center

San Diego County is home to a unique geologic feature that is more reminiscent of areas in Utah or Arizona. Annie’s Canyon Trail, also known as the Mushroom Caves, is a slot canyon open to the public near the San Elijo Lagoon in Solana Beach.

Earth’s surface was and continues to be shaped by wind and water. In the case of Annie’s Canyon Trail, water carved away a narrow but deep canyon in the rock wall, but how?

  • What conditions are necessary for a slot canyon to form?
  • What causes narrow slot canyons like Annie’s Canyon Trail and what causes wide canyons like the Grand Canyon?
  • What can we learn from the exposed rock layers?
  • What are other examples of water carving rock?



The Nature Collective: Annie’s Canyon Trail

SD County Parks and Rec: San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center

Smithsonian Magazine: The World’s Most Spectacular Slot Canyons

NGSS & Grade:

2-ESS1-1, ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth

4-ESS2-1, ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems

MS-ESS2-2, ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes

3-5 ELM
6-8 MS
Earth and Space Science