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
Sikes Docent Training
Dust Devil Trail Hike
Lagoon Trail Maintenance
Habitat Restoration
Lagoon Bird Walk
New Park App
Beyond Volunteerism
Visitor Center
Amanda Ashley Toombs
Trail of the Month
Mario Villegas


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


Located at the Sikes Adobe (see directions to the Sunset Staging area in the left column).

Every Sunday:
10:30am ~ 3:30pm
(except if Easter, 4th of July, or Christmas).
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).

Dust Devil Nature Trail

Staging Area:

From Del Mar Heights Road go north on El Camino Real.  The staging area will be at the edge of the San Dieguito Lagoon on your left.  You will continue past the staging area, making a U-turn at San Dieguito Road, then driving south on El Camino Real to the staging area (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 Drive 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).  


Ramona Grasslands Staging Area:

From I-15 head east on Pomerado Road.  After about 1/4 mile, turn left onto Highland Valley Road.  Drive approximately 10.5 miles up Highland Valley Road to the Ramona Grasslands.  You will see the staging area and trail head on the north side of the road (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:

Become a Sikes Docent
 Saturdays, September 8 and 15, 2012
Time:  10:00am - 2:00pm
Location:  Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead (see directions in left column).

We are looking for people who love history and want to share that passion with senior citizen groups, student groups, and general visitors. You will be given information about the history of the adobe farmhouse, the Sikes Family, and how to give tours.

To sign up for the free docent training, contact Museum Manager, Anne Cooper, via email:, or telephone: 619-884-1170, and please, leave a message.
Enjoy the Dust Devil Trail
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Time:  9:00am - 10:15am
Location:  Dust Devil Nature Trail Staging Area (see directions in left column).

This easy, guided walk will be led by a Park Ranger along one of the newer trails at the coastal end of the River Park. The Dust Devil Nature Trail offers great views of the southeastern area of the San Dieguito Lagoon.  Topics will include the lagoon restoration project, plant and wildlife identification, and updates on current Ranger projects.
Pleasant Work and Fresh Air
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Time:  8:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Bernardo Bay Staging Area (see directions in left column).

Join a Park Ranger for this month's volunteer trail maintenance event. Work on clearing brush from trails and improving trail conditions! Please bring drinking water, sun protection, and wear sturdy, closed toe shoes.  Please RSVP to or (858) 674-2275 x14.
We provide the tools!
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Time:  9:00am - 12:00pm
Location:  San Andres Drive Interpretive Kiosk (see directions in left column).

This month's volunteer habitat restoration event coincides with the annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Tasks will consist of removing invasive plants, maintaining restoration areas, cleaning up trash, and building benches.

Tools, training, and work gloves provided!  Please bring drinking water, sun protection, and wear sturdy, closed toe shoes.  You must RSVP to or 858-674-2275x14.  Space is limited!
Learn the Birds
  Saturday, September 22, 2012
Time:  8:00am - 11:00am
Where:  San Andres Drive Interpretive Kiosk (see directions in left column).

Join John Haddock, a member of the Buena Vista Audubon and a Whelan Lake Bird Walk Leader, and discover the birds of the San Dieguito Lagoon and learn more about the Lagoon ecosystem.
Apps for Your Enjoyment
The San Dieguito River Park is proud to announce our very own River Park app for your smartphone.  This web-based app allows users to view trail maps, interpretive walks, and birds and plants of the San Dieguito Lagoon.

There are several different versions of trail map: trail head locations, topographical maps of the various segments of our Coast to Crest Trail and other side trails, a GPS feature to track your current location, and an interpretive walk.

The interpretive walk features an English and Spanish walk-with-audio capability with 20 unique QR (quick response) codes.  Scanning each code with your smartphone or tablet will reveal important location-based information of the San Dieguito Lagoon's cultural and natural history.

The bird portion of the app gives a detailed list of birds found at the San Dieguito Lagoon with the audio version to properly identify the birds.

The plant portion of the app gives a detailed list of plants growing at the San Dieguito Lagoon with photographs to help identify the plant species observed.

This project is a work in progress and will be expanded throughout the Park.  The San Dieguito River Park is working to bridge the gaps of nature and technology...this is a start!  To access this app, enter "" on your browser or download the app to your home screen.
Jeanne's Backyard!
The San Dieguito River Park is privileged to have a volunteer as devoted as Jeanne Chick.  Jeanne has been volunteering for about 6 years.  She swiftly became a fixture on our team of Dust Devils. Not only does Jeanne volunteer with the Rangers on a weekly basis, she also donates time to the Park by taking on several native plant projects.

Immediately after the 2007 wildfires, Jeanne went into action by collecting cuttings and seeds from the River Park to propagate and nurture Cottonwood, Oak trees, and Mule Fat in her backyard.  She currently has over 1,000 plants growing at her home in Vista.  She cares for the plants until they are well-established, and then they are brought back to the River Park for planting in our habitat restoration sites.  Jeanne is quick to accept proposals by the Rangers for almost any native plant project, but she also takes initiative to suggest projects of her own.

Dedicated volunteers like Jeanne help make the River Park a better place for everyone to enjoy. 
Become a Volunteer
Join us as we travel back in time at the 1884 Santa Ysabel General Store, the backcountry's most recognized historic location.

We are looking for Ambassadors to volunteer for one five-hour shift Friday through Sunday at the Visitors Center; no more than one weekend per month. Couples may take Sunday shifts together, keeping in mind that the shift lengths (10:00am-3:00pm or 1:00pm-6:00pm) facilitate excursion time before or after.  We will need approximately 20 ambassadors for this to work well - 12 singles and 4 couples.

Our Ambassadors will offer visitor information on nearby public trails, recreational opportunities, and cultural heritage sites of the backcountry, while building awareness of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy's 26 years of accomplishments.  Training will include information about our partner organizations - the San Diego River Park, Volcan Mountain Foundation, and Wildlife Research Institute - and how to engage the public.  If you are interested, please contact the SDRVC at  Please specify SYGS Ambassador.

Please note that there is an optional Docent Training class on September 8, 2012, with Volcan Mountain Foundation.  An experienced conservation docent trainer, near Borrego Springs, will lead the class.  Not sure you are interested?  Check out the free training and then decide!  For additional information on the SYGS Ambassador volunteer opportunities, please visit our website:
Amanda Ashley Toombs
Amanda Ashley Toombs is the new Development and Communication Manager for the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy.  Amanda graduated with Merit from the London School of Economics, obtaining a Masters in Social Policy and Development/NGO Management.  She also holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from the University of Kansas, with her undergraduate focus being Communication Studies. 

Prior to her role at the Conservancy, Amanda worked for an international NGO (non-governmental organization) in the United Kingdom and enjoyed stints at the United Way of San Diego County and I Love A Clean San Diego.  She is a renaissance woman, having studied language and culture in Russia and Eastern Europe.  She is passionate about clean water and the open space connections so vital for San Diego conservation.  Amanda finds herself inspired daily by nature.
By: Ranger Bryan Ward
Geocache in the River Park
According to, "geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt."  At the game's basic level, a geocacher hides a container with a log book inside it, marks the coordinates of the hiding spot with their GPS unit, and posts the coordinates online.  Another geocacher downloads those coordinates into their GPS, navigates to the location, finds the container, signs the log book, and places the geocache back in its hiding spot for other geocachers to find.  Sometimes, there are small trinkets in the geocaches that you can trade for items you bring.  If you register for a free account, you can also share your adventures online.

Geocaching is a great way to explore the world around you, and geocaches might be hidden anywhere from historic locations within the city to great viewpoints along a trail.  Geocaches range from micro sized to large, and they might be hidden under an obvious pile of rocks or cleverly blend in with their surroundings.  There are over 1.8 million active geocaches hidden worldwide listed on, including 45 hidden along San Dieguito River Park trails!  Rangers have created a bookmark list of the geocaches hidden in the western half of the River Park so geocachers can easily download the coordinates for all of them in one place.  New geocaches that follow River Park policies and guidelines will be added to the list as they are hidden.  Anyone can be a geocacher, so grab your GPS and hit our trails!
by Cindy O'Grady
The Lagoon Boardwalk
Tourists. We love the revenue they generate for our economy - more than $5.6 billion annually - but it's always nice to get our coast back in September!  Now that horse racing season is over as well, it's a great time to visit the Lagoon Trail and Boardwalk segment of the Coast to Crest Trail.  Like many other parts of the River Park, it's accessible enough for a relaxing getaway after work, or a weekend outing with the family between chores and soccer games.

Easiest parking is at the end of San Andres Drive, just off Via de la Valle past the Albertsons shopping center.  Explore the newly opened trail to the east for several hundred yards and see how the native plantings are coming along before turning around and heading to the coast.

The hike takes you under the freeway, along tidal marshes that offer good bird viewing and a prime example of wetland restoration.  Your kids can even ride their bikes on the flat, manicured surface, all the way to the Boardwalk, where those who have donated $100 or more have a plaque in their name.  You may even decide to pick out a plank for yourself!

Afterwards, cruise over to the newly remodeled Flower Hill Mall, which boasts an eclectic array of shops and dining well outside the usual chain stores, or perhaps raise a glass of wine to toast your good fortune in being a San Diego local!
Volunteer Voice
Mario Villegas
Mario Villegas discovered the San Dieguito River Park by accident as a result of interest in hiking and jogging around the immediate area of Lake Hodges and its associated trails.  One day while jogging, he observed a volunteer showing a few people the birds and wildlife around the trail.  He sought out an opportunity to find out more about the park.

With his background in Geography from San Jose State University and recent certification in Geographic Information Systems, he discovered a volunteer position where his interest in environment and mapping would be a benefit for the San Dieguito River Park as well as for his own learning experience.  Since volunteering at the River Park, Mario has been able to work on and update maps for land ownership and trails that either exist or are being planned.  He has been able to work with staff and Rangers to create data that they can use now and in the future for the long term benefit of the entire River Park.

"I have always loved the outdoors, and I think that people can appreciate places like the San Dieguito River Park when they have accessible information that is current, and I am more than happy to help out with that.  I have enjoyed everyone that I have been working with, and I am getting a lot out of my experience here as well.  So far, working on the SDRP trail data has been a highlight for me."
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.