A community of about 55,000 that technically lies within the city of San Diego, Rancho Penasquitos lies about 20 miles due north of downtown San Diego. The community is adjacent to a canyon, and this is likely where its name comes from, which means the ranch of little rocks in Spanish. The community lies east of Torrey Highlands and Del Mar Mesa, west of Carmel Mountain Ranch and Sabre Springs, north of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve and Mira Mesa, and south of Black Mountain Ranch and Rancho Bernardo.

State Route 56 travels in an east-west direction through the community, connecting residents easily with other parts of the region. Most of the public schools in the community are under the administration of the Poway Unified School District, which is made up of 25 elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools and a continuing education high school.

Rancho Peñasquitos is just south of the Black Mountain Open Space Park. It has its own Hilltop Community Park. Carmel Village Plaza is just northeast, and Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve lies just south, as well as its Canyonside Community Park. Rancho Los Peñasquitos Golf Course is a popular attraction year-round.

The community holds annual events and celebrations throughout the year such as the Fiesta de los Peñasquitos in May, the Fourth of July fireworks show, and a Christmas Card Lane in December. The nearest hospitals are Aurora San Diego Hospital in Carmel Mountain and Pomerado Hospital in Rancho Bernardo.

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