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
Trail Maintenance
Lagoon Walk
Habitat Restoration
Photo Excursion
Sikes Celebrations
Mule Hill Trail
Ocean Connectors
Green Day
Raccoon Story
Ginni Kitchen


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


North San Diego Certified Farmers Market
Located at the Sikes Adobe (see directions to the Sunset Staging area in the left column).

Every Sunday:
11am ~ 4pm
(except if Easter, 4th of July, or Christmas).

Every Wednesday:
11:00am ~ 2:00pm
The "Lunch" Market
Quick Links...

Connect with Us!

SDRP website

Bernardo Bay Natural/Staging Area: (for access to East and South 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 a map).

Del Dios Gorge/
Santa Fe Valley Staging Area:
On Del Dios Highway, across the street from the Cielo Shopping Center, is the Lemon Twist Stand.  The road to the staging area is within the Lemon Twist pullout, immediately south and west of the Lemon Twist stand. (click here for a map).

Highland Valley Trail Staging Area:

From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road about 1/4 mile.  Turn left onto Highland Valley Drive. 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 Interpretive 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).
from the links below:

Date:  Sunday, April 8, 2012
Time:  8:00am ~ 11:00am
Location:  Bernardo Bay Staging Area (see directions in left column).

Join Park Rangers for this trail maintenance event.  Work on clearing brush from trail and improving trail conditions!  Please bring drinking water, sun protection and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.  Please RSVP to or (858) 674-2275 x14.
Explore the Lagoon with Elayna.
Date:  Saturday, April 14, 2012

Time:  9:00am ~ 10:15am
Location:  San Andres Interpretive Kiosk at the San Dieguito Lagoon (see directions in left column).

Join Elayna Bryant, SDRP Intern, on a hike along the San Dieguito Lagoon.  You will head East on the newly opened section of the Lagoon Trail.  Topics will include the lagoon restoration project,
plant and wildlife identification, and updates on current projects.  The spring months bring in a number of birds.  Come discover the beauty of the Lagoon with us!
Date:  Saturday, April 21, 2012
Time:  8:00am ~ 11:00am
Location:  San Andres Interpretive Kiosk at the San Dieguito Lagoon (see directions in left column).

The event will consist of planting native plants, removing invasive plants to protect wildlife habitat, and maintaining new restoration areas.  Tools, training and work gloves provided!  Please bring drinking water, sun protection and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Please RSVP to or 858-674-2275 x14.
Relax and take photographs.
Date:  Saturday, April 21, 2012

Time:  7:00am ~ 11:00am
Location:  Bernardo Bay Natural Area (see directions in left column).
Donation:  $20.00 per person

Spend a morning photographing at Lake Hodges.

Participants will meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Bernardo Bay Natural Area and will move slowly in a counter-clockwise direction on the Bernardo Bay Trail. This particular area was chosen because it will offer a wide range of subject matter including up-close flowers, insects, birds, boats, and water fowl, and further away subjects such as Bernardo Mountain and the expanse of Lake Hodges.  Most importantly, the light should be right.  If the group desires, we will also photograph in the Oaks on the Highland Valley Trail.

This photo excursion will provide an opportunity to move slowly through the San Dieguito River Park taking photographs. The group will be limited to 12, and everyone must bring their own camera. The group will be led by photographer Jim Coffee.  Jim has taught digital imaging basics at the community college level for 9 years.  He will be available to answer your photography questions.  Participants who would like to share their images with the public will be invited to have them included in a San Dieguito River Park photo gallery.  Participants will be back to their vehicles by 11:00 a.m.

This Photo Excursion is offered by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy.   
Explore the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center.
Date:  Every Saturday

Time:  9:00am ~ 12:00am
Location:  13104 Ipai Waaypuk Trail (formerly SilverLake Drive) Poway, CA

This ancient village site is located in the heart of Poway.  Come visit between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturdays.  Planning continues for Docent Training to begin 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in the KIIC Education Center.  Recorded info at 858-668-1292, on the web at, or at, and on FaceBook.
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is a great site for "Pioneer Farmstead Birthday Parties" and for weddings.  

A Birthday Party at the Sikes Adobe is Exciting!
Make Your Child's Next Birthday an Old-Fashioned Birthday Party at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Kids ages 6-12 will have a great time dressing up and experiencing life at a historic pioneer farmhouse from the 1880s.  And while they have a great time, they will be learning how different things were for kids just like them over a hundred years ago. 

KIds will have an opportunity to sample games and toys from the 1800s, see what a child's room was like, do chores (yes, chores!) like washing clothes in an old tin tub, learn how to make a scarecrow, and more!  Older kids will enjoy becoming Junior Archaeologists for the day.  There are a number of Birthday Packages available including one with guided pony rides.

Currently, the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is available for rental for weddings or similar occasions.  This is your opportunity to have a rustic, historic and memorable wedding at an authentic historic site.

For more information, contact the Sikes Adobe Museum Manager, Anne Cooper, at or call her at (760) 432-8318 to make an appointment at the site to discuss your plans.
Mule Hill Historical Trail
by Ranger Bryan Ward

The Mule Hill Trail is short and sweet.
This fun for the whole family hike on the Mule Hill Historical Trail can be combined with a tour of the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead and lunch at the North San Diego Certified Farmers Market on Sundays.  Learn about the rich 19th Century history of the region on this approximately 3-mile long, out and back trip.  A longer hike can be made by continuing on the San Pasqual Valley Agricultural Trail.

The trail is named after Mule Hill, which was the site of a battle during the Mexican-American war in 1846.  American soldiers were besieged by Mexican forces and became short on food, so they had to start eating their mules.  Numerous interpretive panels at Mule Hill detail the events that took place.

Part of the Mule Hill Historical Trail follows the old Butterfield Overland Stage Route that passed through the town of Bernardo.  Zenas Sikes, who built the historic adobe home for his family, served as postmaster for Bernardo and was the first master of the Bernardo Grange, a local chapter of a national fraternal association of farmers.  Bernardo was flooded in 1918 after the construction of Lake Hodges Dam.

Discover much more history for yourself while hiking the Mule Hill Historical Trail!

Where:  The most convenient access to the Mule Hill Trail is from the Sunset Staging Area (see directions in left column). 

The San Dieguito River Park has teamed up with the Ocean Connectors to teach low-income students in San Diego to adopt sustainable lifestyle practices and take community action to protect watersheds and the environment through wetland restoration, pollution prevention, and litter abatement. 

During the Ocean Connectors' field trips, students work on restoration activities that include weeding of invasive species, planting natives, digging, and watering, as well as participation in bird watching and adaptation activities that demonstrate how shorebirds have adapted to survive in coastal habitats.  Students will have the opportunity to manipulate scientific equipment such as stadia sticks and binoculars as well as restoration tools like shovels and plant field guides.  Students also use portable microscopes to examine fallen leaves and other natural objects at the sites. 

Utilizing actual scientific equipment ensures that students put important science skills into practice during field trips.  Students are urged to continue the learning process and are asked to visit the website ( periodically for updates on community issues.  Students are also able to submit their artwork, thoughts, and success stories related to their restoration project.  The website will encourage students to maintain an ongoing interest in wetland conservation during and after the project's completion, further inspiring their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Green Rain Gear on Green Day!
Many thanks to all who attended, participated, volunteered and/or worked.  The San Dieguito River Park has many personalities.  Though beginning a bit damp and cool, the day became dryer, the umbrellas closed, and smiles became more apparent.  Several candidates made generous promises.  The staffs' of both the San Dieguito River Park and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy were out in force.  Read more on the San Dieguito River Park website.
by Jeff Barnouw

Friend or Foe?
On the evening of my first day of training as a Trail Patrol Volunteer for the Park, I was sitting on my deck in Del Mar, gazing up at the already darkened sky, when I looked down to see a hefty raccoon waddling across the deck 8 feet away.  It didn't seem to notice me, but as it passed behind a table that blocked my view, I stood up and saw it had squatted down at the edge of the deck and was eyeing me warily.  After a long ten seconds of mutual contemplation, I asked, in the most soothing voice I could manage, "What are you doing here?"

In response, it got up and walked slowly back to the end of the deck. At that moment, another smaller head popped up over the rim where the bigger one was lumbering down.  But the two didn't disappear.  I sat back down, and fifteen seconds later here came a third raccoon, smaller still, from the other direction, heading steadily to join the others.

A bit later I watched a documentary in the PBS series, 'Raccoon Nation', about urban raccoon populations.  In Toronto, scientists had been able to monitor the daily (nocturnal) routes of a number of raccoon families.  Each stakes out a small, local circuit which they run through every night, not interacting with other families or their territories.

This made me wonder whether my raccoons were residents of the neighborhood.  Maybe they spend their days in the dark beneath my deck.  Raccoons can of course be what we see as mischievous.  Their paws are like hands, good for prying open garbage cans and climbing drainpipes.  But I still like the idea that they are around.

I figured out that I had interrupted the progress of a mother and her youngsters.  She had crouched down and later hung around because I had come between two of her offspring.
Ginni Kitchen
Volunteer Ginni Kitchen.
"I have been a Trail Patrol volunteer since August 2011 when Ranger Natalie Borchardt, who knew me from my occasional work with the Dust Devils when I could get a Friday off work, saw me on the Lagoon Trail day after day and signed me up.  I patrol the Lagoon and Bird View trails. It's my regular neighborhood walk except I carry a little notebook, count hikers and bikers, and call Ranger Leana Bulay for emergencies like finding a snake in the port-a-potty toilet.

Occasionally, Natalie suggested that I might like to branch out and hike another SDRP trail.  But 'my' trails are wide and flat, and I'm learning to identify the distinctive birds I see.  Then my friend Donna Weeks took the Trail Patrol class with me in January, and we decided to boldly go where we had never gone before -- to the Del Dios Gorge Trail.

We didn't see many birds, although the air was filled with birdsong, but the Del Dios Gorge is a beautiful hike.  When we stopped in the middle of the bridge, a hummingbird hovered a few feet from our faces as if adding us to its life list.  Although the trail isn't entirely flat, it was still an easy walk.  We stopped at the rattlesnake viewing platform, reading the interpretive panels and looking through the pipe scope at the Lake Hodges dam spillway, the bullwarks, and the river below.  I know the rattlesnake viewing platform wasn't built with viewing rattlesnakes in mind -- the wonderful stonework bench is in the shape of a rattlesnake-- but we did in fact see a rattlesnake dozing under a bush on our way back to the car.  Del Dios Gorge won't take the place of my beloved coastal trails, but we enjoyed our morning and are planning to hike it again soon."
Ranger Leana Bulay
Ranger Leana Bulay

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.
Leana@ or (858) 674-2275 x14.

Interpretive Ranger and Riverscape Editor, Leana Bulay.