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One of the major goals of the San Dieguito River Park is to establish a continuous open space corridor throughout the length of the Park that preserves natural habitats, protects linkages for wildlife movement, and provides compatible areas for recreational opportunities.

In This Issue
Opening Ceremony
South Clevenger
Hodges Birding
Lagoon Walk
Santa Ysabel Gorge
Lagoon Birding
Sante Fe Valley Trail
Source to Sea
Farmers Market
Sikes Docent Training
Trail Patrol Training
Park Updates
Lagoon Trail Extension
Coastal Cleanup
Lagoon Restoration
People and Places
Trail of the Month
Volunteer's Voice
Until Next Time


 Here is a link to the San Dieguito River Park Activity Calendar.     


Quick Links...
  Bernardo Bay Natural Area: (for access to East Lake Hodges Trails and the Ribbon Bridge)Take I-15 to the West Bernardo Dr./Pomerado Rd. exit. Turn left onto West Bernardo Dr. Within a half mile you will come to the parking area on the right side of the road.(click here for map)

Highland Valley Trail Staging Area:

From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road about 1/4 mile.  Turn left onto Highland Valley Drive and then within about 300 feet turn right into the parking area. (click here for a map).  


Old Coach Trail Staging Area:
From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road.  After about 1/4 mile turn left onto Highland Valley Drive.  Drive 2.3 miles.  The Staging Area will be on your right.  12460 Highland Valley Road, San Diego.  (click here for a map)    


San Andres Kiosk: (for east end Lagoon Trail access)  End of San Andres Drive in Del Mar, off Via de la Valle, behind the Albertsons Shopping Center. (click here for a map).  


Sunset Staging Area:

(access for Ribbon Bridge, Sikes Adobe, Mule Hill Trail, North Shore Trail, Bernardo Mountain)  

Begin North Shore Trail and Mule Hill Trail here.   

Directions: Take I-15 to Via Rancho Parkway exit, and at the exit ramp turn right at the light. Go to the light at Sunset Drive (less than a 1/4 mile) and turn right onto Sunset Drive. North County Fair Mall is on the left side of the road. This is a cul-de-sac with plenty of parking in the gated staging/parking area on the left side of the street, or along the street and in the lot at the end of the cul-de-sac. (click here for a map)

Date: October 8th
Time: 12:00pm-2:00pm
Location: Old Coach North Staging Area.  (See directions in left column.)

A Regional Trails Network for San Diego County - The First Step

All hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians are invited to join the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, The City of Poway, The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, and the County of San Diego for the opening ceremony of a new trail segment.

The ceremony will include comments from participating organizations followed by a Ranger walk. Light refreshments will be provided.

The San Dieguito River Park, in cooperation with the City of Poway, has established a north/south trail linkage between the San Dieguito River Park Coast-to-Crest Trail and the Trans County Trail through the City of Poway Trail system. This new linkage almost doubles the length of continuous regional trail system available to trail users by joining the 23 continuous existing miles of the San Dieguito River Park system to the 14 miles of the Trans-County system through 8 miles of the Poway Trail system. This regional trail overlays the City of Poway neighborhood trail system which includes 55 miles of linked trails providing regional trail access.
A section of the Old Coach Trail. Photographed January 2011

Date: October 8th
Time: 8:00am-11:00am

This moderate to strenuous hike will be lead by Ranger Jake Gibbs up South Clevenger Canyon. Witness amazing views and learn more about the San Pasqual Valley.

Location: South Clevenger Canyon trailhead off Hwy 78 on your right hand side when headed east to Ramona.  Click here for a trail map .

Birding on Lake Hodges at Bernardo Bay
Date: October 15th
Time: 8:30am-10:00am

Join Phil Pryde with the San Diego Audubon Society for a walk to learn more about the wondrous birds of Lake Hodges.  Email Leana or call (858)674-2275 x14 to reserve your participation.

Location: North Shore of Lake Hodges: Meet at Bernardo Bay staging area: Off West Bernardo Dr. on the right just before Rancho Bernardo Community Center.  (See directions in left column.)
Join a Ranger led Lagoon Talk Walk
Ranger Led Lagoon Walk
Date: October 22th, November 12th and December 10th
Time: 9:00am-10:15am

This monthly walk will be led by a Park Ranger along the San Dieguito Lagoon. Topics such as the restoration project, water quality and wildlife of the lagoon will be covered.

Location: San Dieguito Lagoon: Meet at the interpretive kiosk at San Dieguito Lagoon: South of Via de la Valle at the end of San Andres Drive in Del Mar, behind the Albertson's Shopping Center. (See directions in left column.)
Hike the spectacular Santa Ysabel Gorge
Santa Ysabel Gorge Exploration
Date: Saturday, October 22nd
Time: 9:30am-2:00pm
Location: East Santa Ysabel, near Lake Sutherland

Join us for our next San Dieguito Explorations journey as we visit one of the most spectacular places in the San Dieguito River Park, Santa Ysabel Gorge!  This trip will take you down the rugged, carved-granite gorge as Santa Ysabel Creek travels from the hills of Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve down to Lake Sutherland. 

This is likely the last time The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy will be able to offer this hike because the vegetation will soon be too dense to make our way to the gorge.  Gourmet pastries, coffee and juice will be provided!

This 4-mile trek will be off trail and demanding for experienced hikers, with quite a bit of scrambling over boulders.  This hike is not recommended for beginners or those not fit enough to lift themselves up and over large rocks.

Cost: New Conservancy membership at the $35 level; $25 for current members. TO REGISTER:  contact or (858)755-6956.
Bird watch with Jeanie Anderson
at the San Dieguito Lagoon
Date: November 15th
Time: 8:00am-9:00am
Join Jeanie Anderson, San Diego Field Ornithologists and Photographer, to discover the birds of San Dieguito Lagoon.

Location: San Dieguito Lagoon: Interpretive kiosk at San Dieguito Lagoon: South of Via de la Valle at the end of San Andres Drive in Del Mar, behind the Albertson's Shopping Center.  (see directions in left column.)
Hike the Sante Fe Valley Trail with Ranger Leana Bulay
Date: November 13th
Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm
Location: Santa Fe Valley: Off Del Dios Highway, trail head at the base of the hill just after the Lemon Twist fruit stand if headed east to Escondido

Join Interpretive Ranger Leana Bulay on a hike through Santa Fe Valley.  This walk will be focused on the natural history of the area. Contact or (858)674-2275 x14 to reserve your participation. 
Shannon Switzer
Date: November 20th
Time: 4:00pm-5:00pm
Location: Encinitas Community Center: 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024

Shannon Switzer, is a published conservation writer, award-winning photographer and one of National Geographic's 2011 Young Explorer Grantees. She has a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B. A in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. She has conducted field research and photographed endangered species and remote cultures worldwide.

Shannon channels her love for the nature world into her current work: conservation writing, photography and research. She uses her writing and imagery to further various conservation efforts. She knows that pictures can speak volumes. Her most recent project was documenting the health of San Diego's watersheds and how they impact the ocean and the health of those who enjoy the ocean.

Through the photographs she made during her project, Shannon will share the story of our watershed system. Come experience her photography of San Dieguito River Park and other of San Diego's breathtaking locations. Visit Girl Chases Globe or National Geographic to see more of her photography.  RSVP required to or  (858)674-2275 x14 as space is limited.

Date: Every Sunday
Time: October 10:00am-4:00pm; November 10:00am-3:00pm
Location: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead: 12655 Sunset Drive, Escondido, CA 92025. (See directions in left column.)

Stroll through sections featuring Local Artisans, Fresh Food and Neighborhood Merchants. Support your local community and contribute to the local economy. Visit with and buy from merchants, vendors and farmers committed to doing business the "old fashioned" way; person-to-person and face-to-face.

Date:  Sundays, October 2nd, 16th and 23rd and November 6th, 13th and 20th
Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead: 12655 Sunset Drive, Escondido, CA 92025

Sundays, October 2nd, 16th and 23rd and November 6th, 13th and 20th. Docent trainees will learn about the architectural history of the house, the history of the Sikes family, and the agricultural history of the late 1800's. They also learn tips and techniques for being a docent, and theory of interpretation. In return, trainees commit to leading docent tours for the public. Docents help convey what the pioneer farm experience in Southern California was like, using the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse as the stage.

In addition, we are looking for folks who have particular skills or are willing to learn those skills. The skills we have in mind include: Carpenters, Quilters, Gardeners, Bakers, Brick-layers, Embroiderers, Musicians, Farmers, Artists and Ropers! If you are interested in attending please call the Sikes Adobe at (760) 432-8318 or email Anne to reserve your place. All training sessions for new docents will be held at the Sikes Adobe.
Trail Patrol Training in
Del Dios Gorge
Date: November 5th and 6th
Time: 9:00am-3:00pm
Location: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead: 12655 Sunset Drive, Escondido, CA 92025

This training is for all new and returning Trail Patrol Volunteers.
The 2011 Trail Patrol Training Session will train participants to become San Dieguito River Park Volunteer Trail Patrol Members.  Protect the natural and cultural resources of the Park while providing information and assistance to Park patrons while you exercise in the fresh air and sunlight.

Volunteers are asked to commit to at least a two hour patrol shift a month. The training will cover natural history of the Park, visitor relations, two-way radio procedures, equipment use, emergency procedures and much more. There is no fee for this two day training and refreshments will be provided. For more information or to register please call (858)674-2275 x 14 or email Leana.
Enjoy the new Lagoon Trail Extension

Over a year of trail building construction is finally complete. The new section adds about .6 miles to the lagoon trail from San Andres to Horse Park.

The trail construction bordering Horse Park and the Mesa Loop trails off El Camino Real will start soon. 

A important and pleasant
day at the beach
The California Coastal Cleanup event at San Dieguito Lagoon was a huge success. Over 40 volunteers from SDG&E came to the event as well as SDG&E officials; including President Mike Niggli, and Pam Fair, chief environmental officer all made efforts in support of the day. Other dignitaries included Supervisor Pamela Slater-Price and Stephen Heverly, a representative from Councilmember Sherri Lightner's office.

At the end of the event 75 pounds of trash and 25 pounds of recycling was collected. Aside from the trash pickup was a large scale vegetation removal - 1474 pounds of green waste was removed from the area. For a more detailed story, view this The Coast News article. In San Diego County, over 8,000 volunteers participated at 90 different sites and over 50 tons of debris were collected. 
Opening the mouth of the San Dieguito Lagoon
The San Dieguito Wetlands Restoration Project has entered its final stretch of construction. The dredging project began in September to remove 45,000 cubic yards of sand from the San Dieguito River channel to allow for better exchange of water from the ocean and the newly restored ecosystem. 

Clearing the channel of sand on the west sides of the NCTD railroad bridge will allow tidal flows to reach the newly created wetlands to make them naturally sustainable and support increasing fish and birds populations and native vegetation. Restoration team members are working to nourish and protect the restored wetlands after constructing the deep lagoon on the west side of I-5 and the mudflats on the east side of I-5.

The inlet was opened on September 29, 2011, at 5:00pm. Additional information about the San Dieguito Wetland Restoration Project is available here.

Trail of the month, by Ranger Jake Gibbs
The Highland Valley Trail is a great trail
for families to enjoy
Looking for a short, beautiful trail to take the family on?  Wanting to get out in nature for just a few hours but don't want to drive very far to get there?  Then the Highland Valley Trail is the one for you! 

This 4.2 round-trip stretch of trail is an easy, well-shaded, out-and-back hike that is perfect for anyone wanting to spend an hour or two in a beautiful place without having to go too far from home. Though this trail gets its name from the adjacent road that parallels nearby, you'll still feel like you're out in the back country as you walk amongst chaparral covered hillsides and oak trees that are hundreds of years old. 

This area was home to the Kuyamay Indians and is evident with the grinding stones still visible from the trail where acorns from nearby oak trees were ground into meal for cooking. Come out and visit this lesser known area of the River Park... and bring the family!

For directions see Highland Valley Trail in the column to the left.  Click here for a trail map.
Volunteer's voice:
Ron Hall
A native Californian, born in Los Angeles, graduated from the University of Oregon, went to then live in Ralston Purina Co. for 34 years. He spent 10 years in Real Estate and was the President of the Escondido Association of Realtors in 1994. 

Ron has been married for 58 years to his wife, Marilyn, and they have one daughter, 3 granddaughters and eight great grandchildren. In addition to his volunteer work at the River Park, he volunteers at the Escondido Senior Service Center twenty hours a week doing tax returns during the tax season.

"I was walking on a trail near Lake Hodges shortly after I retired and saw a notice on a kiosk asking for volunteers at the San Dieguito River Park, and several weeks after training I became a "Volunteer Patrol" member. Then, a year later in 1997, I went through an 8-week (1 day each week) training process to become a "River Valley Guide".  So, over the next few years, I was busy doing both.  My favorite Patrol trail was Piedras Pintadas, the Painted Rocks trail. Of course, we always had a partner on these fun half day patrols. 

My favorite River Guide hike was the North Shore Trail from Hernandez Hideaway to the Dam, and in addition to talking about the flora and fauna, I sometimes talked about "Hodgee", the Lake Hodges Monster. Children always enjoyed this hike. In 2005, there was a big influx of Volunteer Patrol members, and I had the privilege of helping train three of these volunteers - Anna Trunnell, Mary Roundtree and Tom Brown, who all went on to win "Volunteer of the Year" awards in future years."

 In 2003, I got involved with the Sikes Adobe restoration, and after a lengthy training process became a Docent. I wrote a book on the family  "Ancestors & Descendants Of Zenas Sikes JR.", and we sold over 20 copies at the grand opening in January 2004. We did a second edition of the book in November 2004. Then, we did the third edition of the book for the re-grand opening in June 2010 and sold another 16 copies, of course all receipts going to the the Sikes Adobe. I estimate over 800 hours were involved with the writing of these 3 editions.  Two finger typing by an old man! I am now in my 16th year as a San Dieguito River Park Volunteer and have enjoyed every minute of it.

Editor Leana Bulay

Riverscape Editor Leana Bulay

I'm the new Riverscape Editor.  All of us in the San Dieguito River Park office are working hard to improve your park and to make it available to you for recreation and education.  Please feel free to contact me with Riverscape comments or requests.