San Diego’s Balboa Park is best known for it’s museums, gardens and Spanish-style architecture, but the stand out attraction for archers is the Ruby Powell Archery Range.
Tucked away in wooded ravines near the Museum of Us and the Mingei International Museum, the 30-acre archery facility offers a practice range and a 28-target archery walking course. As you walk the course, instead of shooting golf-balls at holes, you shoot arrows at targets.
Below I’ll get into more detail about the course, but first a note of caution. It’s important to follow the rules at the range, in particular, to make sure you proceed on the walking course in the right direction. It’s intended as a one way path to prevent accidents — namely, someone getting hit by a stray arrow.
Rube Powell Archery Range Details
- Season: Year-round
- Location: Balboa Park, San Diego, California
- General GPS Coordinates: 32.730476, -117.1523466
- Management: San Diego Archers
The entrance to Ruby Powell Archery Range is located next to the parking lot next to Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. If you are coming into the park across Cabrillo Bridge, from the west turn right at the Plaza de Panama, then take the narrow road the curves down to the right behind Mengei.
Coming from the south side of the park, you’ll need to make your way to the Plaza de Panama and make a U-turn to get to the parking lot entrance described above.
Archery Range Overview
At the entrance to the archery range is a practice range at the top of a hill that offers targets at different distances. The day-use entrance fee is $2 a day, and can be paid in case or online using a QR code link (or by going to the San Diego Archers website). The range is a terrific resources and paying a couple of bucks helps the club maintain the facility.
The map below, from the San Diego Archers Club, shows the different targets on the trail as well as the locaation of the start and the finish and the direction of travel. When shooting the targets follow black and blue arrows as you progress to avoid accidentally ending up downrange of other archers.
Of the targets on the route, only 15 to 28 are open all of the time (indicated in yellow on the map). Targets 1 to 14 (gray) are typically only open during competitions. Targets 11 through 19 are located on the north side of Cabrillo Bridge, and the rest of the targets are locate south of the bridge.
The targets have markers set in the ground for shooting a bow from various distances, from 5 to 80. For my 9-year-old son, who is just starting to shoot a bow, we needed to get pretty close to hit the targets. But some of the targets offer long distances that will be fun for experienced archers using more powerful bows.
Some of the targets have bow racks for holding bows between shooting rounds. They also have placards that provide information on the targets.
I recommend printing out a copy of the range map and bringing it with you. Otherwise, it can be a bit challenging to figure out the flow of the course.
Here’s a video of archers in action at the range:
For information on other places to shoot your bow, check out our guide to San Diego archery ranges.