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SOLANA BEACH, Calif. — There’s a trail in North County that was once prone to vandalism but was restored into one of the best places in the county to explore with kids.

It’s called Annie’s Canyon Trail and it begins at a cul-de-sac and ends with an amazing view. It’s deceivingly easy to start, with a casual stroll on flat land surrounded by nature and wildlife – until you reach a fork in the road where you have to make a choice: the easy way up or the strenuous yet fun way.

“When we get to the top, we get to have a snack,” said 5-year-old Taylor, who hikes the trail often with her cousins. They always choose the hard way, which most people say is the only way. That’s because you get to play in several caves along the way before you get to another fork in the path, when things get really cozy.

Single-file line and sometimes sideways is the only way to advance, with sand beneath your feet and sandstone walls squeezing your every move. It’s worth it because when you finally emerge, you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of San Elijo Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.

All in all, it’s a quarter-mile trail, deep and narrow, but open to all.

And hey, if kids can do it, so can you.