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
Birds of Lake Hodges
Lagoon Trail Walk
Trail Maintenance
Earthday Celebration
Earthday Family Hike
Wolf Center Presentation
Mule Hill Hike
Science and Engineering Expo
Mountain Bike Trail Patrol
Ocean Connectors
Coast Live Oak
Trail of the Month


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).  


Ysabel Creek Staging Area:

(for access to the middle of the San Pasqual Valley Trail system)


I-15 North towards Escondido, exit Pomerado Rd/West Rancho Bernardo Road. Take Pomerado Dr. East.  After 1/4 mile, turn left from Pomerado onto Highland Valley Road, continue on Highland Valley Road for 4 miles, take left on Bandy Canyon Road to Ysabel Creek Road. Trailhead is on the corner.


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:

Date:  Sunday, April 7, 2013
Time:  4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location:  Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead (see directions in left column)

Robert Harrington, a nature and bird photographer, will present a sample of his work and discuss 86 species of birds he has photographed at Lake Hodges over the past few years.  To preview his photography visit  Space is limited.  Please RSVP to or (858) 674-2275 x14.
Date:  Saturday, April 13, 2013
Time:  9:00am - 10:15am
Location:  Meet at the San Andres Drive Information Kiosk (see directions in the left column)

This walk will be led by a Park Ranger along the San Dieguito Lagoon. This trail offers beautiful views of the lagoon and the wildlife that inhabit the area.  Topics will include the lagoon restoration project, plant wildlife identification and updates on current Ranger projects.
Date:  Sunday, April 14, 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 the 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.
Date:  Sunday, April 21, 2013
Time:  11:00am - 4:00pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center located at 30275 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, CA  92070

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and San Dieguito River Park--in partnership with the San Diego County Parks and Recreation, Save Our Heritage Organization, Volcan Mountain Foundation, Wildlife Research Institute, San Diego River Park Foundation, Anza Borrego Foundation and the California Wolf Center--are taking Earth Day back in time!  The community is invited to our Backcountry Earth Day activities, informational booths and an emporium stocked with heirloom and artisanal goodies that were carefully selected to satiate naturist as well as cultural tourists.
Date:  Sunday, April 21, 2013
Time:  9:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Ramona Grasslands (see directions in left column)

In conjunction with the Backcountry Earth Day celebration, the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy is leading a free guided family hike at the Ramona Grasslands.  The hike is scheduled for 9am to 11am on April 21, 2013, meeting at the Ramona Grasslands Trailhead.  The hike is easy and flat and will be done at a leisurely pace so that the whole family, including those with little ones in strollers, can enjoy a hike on Earth Day.  It is a 3.5 to 4 mile loop, but participants are welcome to turn around at any point.

Families will see the rolling grasslands, a few patches of live oaks, and hopefully some hawks.  There will be a light breakfast and refreshments prior to the hike and the Backcountry Earth Day Celebration after the hike.  To register for the hike, please email and write "Earth Day Hike" in the subject line.  The hike is capped at 40 participants, and it is a first-come, first-served registration basis.
Date:  Sunday, April 21, 2013
Time:  1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center located at 30275 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, CA  92070

With wolf repopulation on the horizon in California, this is an exciting time in the Golden State.  California Wolf Center is the only organization of its kind working for wolf recovery in California, with an education and conservation facility in southern California and outreach efforts throughout the state. 

Come hear the Education and Outreach Coordinator for California Wolf Center, Kevin Schmelzlen, discuss the natural history, ecology, biology, and behavior of wolves, as well as the current status of California's lone wolf OR-7 and the feasibility of wolf recolonization in our state. 
Date:  Sunday, April 28, 2013
Time:  9:00am - 10:30am
Location:  Sunset Drive Staging Area

Join Ranger Bryan Ward on an easy 2.8 mile out-and-back guided hike on the Mule Hill Historic Trail.  Learn about the battle at Mule Hill and the rich history of the area. 

After the hike, tour the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead ($3 per person suggested donation) and grab lunch at the North San Diego Certified Farmers Market.
by Leana Bulay 
The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and San Dieguito River Park partnered on March 23 for the Science and Engineering Expo at Petco Park.  The booth was stocked with animal specimens from the Natural History Museum and several give-aways to promote the Park.

The booth was teaming with interested patrons at all times.  Staff made contact with over 500 people during the 6-hour event.  Mayor Bob Filner visited the booth and expressed his support of the Park. Thank you to all that made this event a success. 
by Senior Ranger David Hekel 
Back when I was a volunteer for the San Dieguito River Park around 1995, I used to enjoy being able to help out the Ranger staff by doing a mountain bike patrol in the park.  I have always been an avid rider, and to be able to do my weekly ride and assist and educate the public was a perfect scenario.  There were only a handful of us back then, and the mountain bike community was fairly small.  The park and its trail system has grown, and I am now a Senior Ranger. The mountain biking community has also grown tenfold since that time, and the mountain bike has become the primary way people access the trails.  I want to reconnect that ever growing community back into the park.

I am pleased and excited to announce the reformation of the San Dieguito River Park Mountain Bike Patrol coming this summer.  My goal is to involve the bike community on all levels.  We are partnering with local bike companies and shops to bring our patrollers up-to-date bike specific gear and mechanical knowledge. We will also be working with the International Mountain Bike Association as a National Mountain Bike Patrol affiliate.  This will enable our patrollers not only to patrol in the SDRP but other parks. If you are a dedicated mountain biker and want to help out your fellow bikers and your local park, this might just be your calling.

For more information on our program or on how you can apply contact Senior Ranger David Hekel at
The San Dieguito River Park has once again 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 including weeding of invasive species, planting natives, digging, and watering, then participating 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.
by Shawna Anderson

Not very many people can claim that the view from their office is of a coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia)!  This stately oak covers the entire front window of my office, and we are lucky at the River Park office headquarters to have them.  Coast live oaks are present throughout much of the River Park particularly around Lake Hodges and San Pasqual Valley.  Coast Live Oaks are one of 18 diverse oak species in California.  The genus Quercus comes from the Celtic words quer, meaning fine and cuez, meaning tree.  This fine tree was known as "encina" in Spanish, the basis for many place names in southern California including the city of Encinitas.

Historically, oak acorns have been an important staple for native Californians and the trees revered for their symbols of fertility, strength, and oneness with the earth.  In their natural setting, these majestic trees occur mainly in native plant communities of southern oak woodland, riparian, and coastal sage scrub.  They prefer moist sites with deep soil, particularly canyon bottoms and north-facing slopes.

Impressive in their stature, they average 20 to 40 feet in height but may grow up to 80 feet high with wide spreading branches of up to 70 feet (although the largest living Coast Live Oak, found near Gilroy, has a crown spread of 127 feet!).  Old, gnarled oaks commonly exceed 250 years in age representing the tree's strength and resistance to natural factors such as fires.  An oak tree's thick bark protects it from wildfires and can actually slow down the spread of fire.

Read the rest of the article here.
Trail of the Month:  by Cindy O'Grady 
March or April is the perfect time to visit Clevenger Canyon South. Green hillsides are the backdrop for spring flowers, while daytime temperatures are well below the 100s this area can hit in the summer.

Take Old Milky Way across the San Pasqual Valley floor for an up close and personal view of working farms including sod, cattle and oranges.  Your children may be surprised to see that agriculture is alive and well here in San Diego and that land can be protected from development.

The trail from the parking area forks in about mile.  The West Trail is better suited for families, as it is relatively shorter and still offers great views of the valley and the ocean.  Once at the top, notice the patchwork of farmland at your feet to the west, and appreciate how it coexists with the development along the 1-15 in the distance.  Turning around to the east, you can see Volcan Mountain, the San Dieguito River's source.

Afterwards, take in a bit of local history at the San Pasqual Battlefield Historic Park, honoring the soldiers who fought in the 1846 Battle of San Pascual, or the San Diego Archaeological Center, exploring 10,000 years of our region's past.

A stop at one of the local produce stands or wineries is a perfect way to top off your day and support your local farmers.  Bon Appetit!

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. or (858) 674-2275 x14. 

Interpretive Ranger and Riverscape Editor, Leana Bulay.