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
Dust Devil Trail Walk
Raptor Ridge Trail Maintenance
Lagoon Habitat Restoration
Crest Canyon Bird Walk
Brilliant Winter Skies
Children's Nature Program
Pam Slater-Price, Dave Roberts
Urban Corps
San Diego Botanic Garden
Horsepark Trail Construction
San Diego Foundation Grant
Trail of the Month
Alexa Clausen


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).

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).

Crest Canyon: 
At the San Dieguito Lagoon, turn south from Jimmy Durante onto San Dieguito Dr., which will morph into Racetrack View Drive.  Crest Canyon is about 2/3 miles south from Jimmy Durante Blvd.

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).  


Highland Valley - 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)     

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:

Enjoy the views from the Dust Devil Trail.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
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.
Get up close and personal with the Raptor Ridge Trail.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Highland Valley - Old Coach Staging Area (see directions in left column).

Join a Park Ranger for this month's volunteer 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.
Ranger Dante loves planting native species.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 11:00am
Location:  San Andres Interpretive Kiosk (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-toed shoes. Please RSVP to or (858) 674-2275x14.
Crest Canyon is a special treat!
  Saturday, January 19, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 10:00am
Location:  Crest Canyon.  Please meet at the Crest Canyon Kiosk on Racetrack View Drive (see directions in left column).

Join John Haddock, a member of the Buena Vista Audubon, to discover birds of Crest Canyon and the San Dieguito Lagoon and to learn more about the local ecosystem.
Let the Stars get in your eyes!
  Sunday, January 20, 2013
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Interpretive Center.

Bill Carter, an amateur astronomer and astro-photographer living in the Julian area, will discuss and explain the types of objects you can observe in the dark winter skies (nebulas, clusters, galaxies and supernova remnants) in the mountains around San Diego.  He will illustrate each type of object with deep-sky photographs taken in the backcountry by local amateur astronomers. 

Bill will also discuss particular bright and interesting objects you can observe in January with binoculars, a small telescope or naked-eye (including deep-sky objects, planets and the Moon).  Finally, he will show how you can use a compass, a planisphere (sky map) and star-hopping to find these objects so you can enjoy some of the "darkest" skies in San Diego County.   
Teach them when they are young...
  Sunday, January 20, 2013
Time:  1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Interpretive Center.

This program is designed for children 6 to 12 years of age. Spend time with the San Dieguito River Park Interpretive Ranger for several hands on activities to better understand and appreciate the local environment.  For more information contact Interpretive Ranger Leana Bulay at or (760) 716-1214.
by Dick Bobertz
Pam Slater-Price has been an excellent friend to the San Dieguito River Park.
One of the reasons that the San Dieguito River Park has been so successful is the good fortune of having a dedicated and talented Board of Directors.  Eight of the nine members are elected officials from the County or one of the five cities that are members of the Joint Powers Authority.  But, with a Board of elected officials, change is built into the system, and this year County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price retired.  Last year, Pam's impending retirement led to much speculation about how the River Park would ever be able to replace her 20-year record of legendary support for the environment and the River Park.  Pam saw to that by throwing her support for election to her district behind Dave Roberts, a city councilman from Solana Beach and a former 5-year member of the River Park Board.   As Dave noted after his  election, "Pam's support was crucial to my success."

Dave's previous five years on the River Park Board clearly demonstrated his strong commitment to help preserve and enhance the natural assets of the community for current and future generations.  He also brings the asset of extensive management experience with government and private organizations.  For over 20 years, the San Dieguito River Park has been remarkably well served by the talent and dedication of its Board members.  The trend continues.
URBAN CORPS by Ranger Natalie Borchardt 
Steady progress! Thanks Urban Corps and all other volunteers. The San Dieguito River Park appreciates you.
How do we get so much restoration work accomplished with such a small field staff and limited budget?  In addition to the help we receive from volunteers, we have been contracting and partnering with the Urban Corps of San Diego for at least a decade now.  The Urban Corps of San Diego County is a local conservation corps and charter school whose mission is to provide young adults with a high school education combined with job training and community service in the fields of conservation and recycling, which will assist youth in becoming more employable while protecting San Diego's natural resources and instilling the importance of community service.

The River Park rangers work directly with Urban Corps crew members to teach and train them in field skills and bioengineering techniques.  With the help of Urban Corps, the Park was able to quickly recover from the very destructive 2007 fires.  Urban Corps is responsible for helping us apply erosion control and prevention measures along the hills and drainages surrounding Lake Hodges and San Pasqual Valley.  Thousands of fiber rolls and straw bales were staked into place to slow down runoff from our wet Winter of 2007/2008.

Urban Corps assisted us in restoring over 60 acres of Endangered Cactus Wren Habitat along the North Shore Trail of Lake Hodges and the San Pasqual Valley Trail.  They removed invasive non-native plants from areas that had been burned by such intense heat that the re-growth of natives was not possible on its own.  They then re-planted with natives.  Most recently, we have contracted Urban Corps to help us rehabilitate degraded habitat in the coastal region of the Park.

Along the north bank of the San Dieguito River where it boarders the Horsepark, Urban Corps removed non-native invasive plant species. In addition, they assisted in digging holes and planting 1-gallon native container plants.  The Park is lucky to have formed a great relationship with an outstanding organization that also strives to protect San Diego's natural resources.
by David Jones  
The Volunteer Enrichment Program is educational, fun and interesting!
One of the rewards that San Dieguito River Park volunteers receive, in addition to the satisfaction of helping build, maintain, and show off our park to others, is a volunteer enrichment program, which comprises visits, and seminars, etc., on topics related to the big outdoors. Enrichment program events have included a presentation on wildlife found in our park, with various live creatures displayed, and a visit to a nursery, which specializes in providing environmentally suitable plants for the specific areas they are to be planted in.
On Sunday December 9, 2012, we had such an enrichment event when our Dust Devils, Trail Patrollers and other volunteers were hosted by the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanic Garden) in Encinitas.  We had previously hosted a group of SDBG volunteers in our park - at the new Dust Devil Trail - telling them about the park and what we do, and this was our return visit to them.  We had about two dozen people in our party, and SDBG generously waived their normal entrance fee for us.
Our guide at SDBG was one of their volunteer docents, Allan Dodds, Professor Emeritus at University of California Riverside where he was Professor in the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Department. Allan has been hiking trails in San Diego for a dozen years or more, and this, allied to his academic training in botany, makes him an excellent guide for both the local plant section in SDBG as well as for all the other wonderful displays in the garden.

We started our tour at 9:00am, and after a brief introductory presentation about SDBG, we set out to walk around the various exhibits, starting with the area of greatest interest to us - native California plants.  We saw wonderful examples of all the plants to be found when walking the SDRP trails, and which our Dust Devils are planting in areas we are working on restoring.  From the local plants, we went on to see other exhibits.  Some of the group stayed until almost 1:00pm and ended up seeing pretty well all of what SDBG has to offer, which is a lot for anyone interested in the plants of the world.

The SDRP visitors had an excellent half-day, educational visit, learning much from tour-guide Allan's commentary and answers and from the many questions posed.  If you want to learn more about SDBG, visit their website
There is a fresh/salt marsh adjacent to this section of trail.
Early last year, the first half of the Lagoon Trail extension through Del Mar Horsepark was opened to the public.  Trail users currently can access this scenic stretch of trail by parking at the interpretive kiosk at the end of San Andres Drive and going east.  This trail extension closely follows the north bank of the San Dieguito River that was restored with a wide variety of native plants by Rangers and volunteers, making it an ideal bird watching location.  The River Park's Dust Devil volunteers constructed the first wooden puncheon bridge at the west end of the trail, and a Boy Scout constructed the second puncheon bridge for his Eagle Project.  The three larger bridges with rails were salvaged parts of the old Green Valley Creek Bridge from the Piedras Pintadas Trail that survived the 2007 wildfires.  Several culverts and other erosion control measures were installed.  A Boy Scout also built the two benches and two picnic tables that were installed along the trail for his Eagle Project.

In December, Rangers, Dust Devils, and contractors started construction of the second half of the trail extension.  Several non-native trees were cleared out of the way, culverts and native plants were installed, and the decomposed granite (DG) trail surface was spread along the alignment.  More DG, fencing, and signage still need to be installed, so please be patient for a couple more months.  Also, a new trail access will be provided near the entrance to Del Mar Horsepark off of El Camino Real, and a Boy Scout is building an interpretive kiosk for the east end of the trail for his Eagle Project. Once this quarter mile stretch opens, it will increase the length of the Coast to Crest Trail at the San Dieguito Lagoon to 2.5 miles from Jimmy Durante Blvd. to El Camino Real.
by David O'Connor   
Aggressive monitoring and data will strengthen the park.
The San Diego Foundation Ariel W. Coggeshall Fund
has generously awarded $40,000 to the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to develop a Citizen Scientist Environmental & Wildlife Monitoring Protocol for the San Dieguito River Valley.  The protocol will be produced in close partnership with the San Dieguito River Park.  This project will create a monitoring framework and methodology, as well as outreach and training to deploy volunteer citizen scientists to collect data on plant and animal species.  This will provide baseline data for adaptive management and restoration planning within the River Valley and fill gaps missing from other monitoring efforts.  The goal is to establish a sustainable, cost effective, long term scientifically-valid monitoring program for the San Dieguito River Valley carried out by volunteer citizen scientists who gather these critical data for use in management planning, research, and to track ecosystem, climate change and invasive species dynamics.
by Cindy O'Grady   
Hike the Santa Fe Valley Trail. You'll be glad that you did.
Remember going out on a Saturday just to explore?  Somewhere along the line, playing turned into "practicing," then into "working" out.  I say we need to re-introduce the concept of simply messing around outside.  Think we can't do that in urban San Diego?  Guess again.
A few days ago, I took my bike to the Santa Fe Valley section of the Coast-to-Crest Trail.  Our recent rains have left the trail in perfect condition.  It's soft enough to be forgiving with just enough mud to put a really cool stripe down your back.

The first two miles are gradual slopes, easy riding close to the river. After that, the trail climbs sharply via a series of short switchbacks. I had to walk up the hill, but the view at the top was worth it.  I realized I was at the edge of the Bing Crosby Estates, which accounted for the numerous horseshoe tracks I'd noticed.

The rest of the trail is more hills, mostly zig-zags with some parts long enough to ride if you're not a great climber.  The elevation change at the end of the trail is 200', and the trail ends under the power lines.  At the top of the last hill, I startled a bunch of horses as I popped up next to a corral.  I experienced that delicious feeling of childhood exploration, being somewhere the adults didn't know about.

I suppose I'll have to take that up with my therapist at some point. But right now I'm going to go watch cartoons.
Volunteer Voice
Alexa and Sikes are a perfect match.
Sikes Adobe Volunteer Docent, Alexa Clausen, has been working at the Sikes Adobe since 2008 as a key member of the team of volunteers who have brought the farmhouse to a state where it can be enjoyed both as an event venue and as an educational opportunity.

Alexa is an Escondido resident of more than 15 years and has lived in the County for several more years.  As a retired State Parks historian for the southern region of California, Alexa brings a specific skill set of high relevance to the Sikes Adobe docents.  Her work at the Sikes Adobe began before the farmhouse was even rebuilt, following the devastating effects of the 2007 wildfires.  Alexa was one of a hand full of volunteers who worked tirelessly on the furnishing and preparations for the reopening of the Sikes Adobe.  Her understanding and expertise in the area of historic site interpretation has assisted the River Park in multiple ways, with both education about and visitation to the Sikes Adobe. 

After a recent group of students from Canyon Ridge Christian School came to the farmhouse, Alexa commented that "The most exciting part of being a docent at Sikes is the opportunity to engage school kids in fun activities that were also fun for kids over 100 years ago.  They learn a lot about the past with joy and excitement."

Along with her involvement with the San Dieguito River Park at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead, Alexa volunteers with the Escondido History Center and has served for many years on the board of the Friends of the Pioneer Room, Escondido Public Library.  The Sikes Adobe is fortunate to have Alexa Clausen as one of our dedicated docents!

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.