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
Lagoon Ranger-Led Hike
Piedras Pintadas
Kanaka Flat
Crest Canyon Bird Walk
Highland Valley Trail Maintenance
San Diego History
Children's Scavenger Hunt
All About Julian
Moonlight Hike
Mountain Bike Patrol
Geocache Ranger Led Hike
California Trails Conference
Native Seed Collection
Trail of the Month
A Child's Voice


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). 


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).


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).  



The Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve West trailhead is located on Highway 78, 1.3 miles west of Santa Ysabel, on the north side of the road.  Lots of parking.  Porta Potty.    


SYOSP East-West

The Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East-East trailhead is located on Highway 79 just south of Mission Santa Ysabel and  1.3 miles north of the town of Santa Ysabel.  Another way to describe this would be to say on Highway 79, 1.3 miles north of the Highway 78/79 intersection in Santa Ysabel. You will park on the shoulder of the road, on the east side of Highway 79. 


SYOSP East-East

The Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve East-East trailhead is located on Farmer Road, 1.25 miles north of the Farmer Road - Wynola Road intersection.  You will pass the Volcan Mountain Preserve parking area immediately after turning onto Farmer Road.  The SYOSP East Farmer Road trailhead is 1.25 miles further, on the left. 


Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center: 

30275 Highway 78, Santa Ysabel, CA. Located between Ramona and Julian at the intersection of Highways 78 and 79.

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). 


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.
from the links below:

Date:  Saturday, June 8, 2013
Time:  9:00am - 10:30am
Location:  San Andres Drive Interpretive Kiosk (see directions in left column)

Join a SDRP Park Ranger for a family-friendly walk to learn about the San Dieguito lagoon.  No reservations are required.
Date:  Saturday, June 8, 2013
Time:  9:00am -10:30am
Directions:  Poblado Road Access Trail (Rancho Bernardo).  From I-15, exit west on Rancho Bernardo Rd.  Turn right (north) at West Bernardo Dr. then left on Duenda Rd.  Go 1 mile and park on the street.  Meet at the entrance to the walkway between Moon Song Ct. and Smokesignal Dr.  There are no facilities.

Join the San Diego Canyoneers for a 4 mile interpretive hike along the Piedras Pintadas Ridge. 

Walk Rating:  Easy, 4 miles, up to 500 ft. elevation change. 

Waterfalls and wildflowers are the highlights of this easy walk on a ridge overlooking Lake Hodges.

About Nature Walks:

Canyoneers are San Diego Natural History Museum volunteers trained to teach appreciation of plants and animals in southern California.  Walks are open to the public; no reservations are required.  For more information visit the Canyoneer hikes page . 

Date:  Saturday, June 8, 2013
Time:  9:00am -11:00am
Location:  Santa Ysabel East Farmer Road Trailhead and Staging Area (see directions in left column)

Join San Diego County Park Staff for a nature hike around the Kanaka Loop Trail for a 4.8 mile loop hike.  You will enjoy oak woodlands, native grasslands, and long views from Kanaka Flat.  For more information visit

Date:  Sunday, June 9, 2013
Time:  7:00am
Location:  Santa Ysabel East Mission Santa Ysabel Trailhead (see directions in left column)

Meet at the Highway 79 Mission Santa Ysabel Trailhead and car shuttle to the Farmer Road Trailhead.  Join SDRVC Conservation Manager David O'Connor for a through hike.  For more information visit
Date:  Sunday, June 9, 2013
Time:  8:00am -11:00am
Location:  Crest Canyon North Interpretive Kiosk

Bird watch with San Diego Audubon Society member Chris Smith on the Crest Canyon Loop Trail.  This is an easy and scenic 2 mile walk with many birds.  No reservations required.  Bring your binoculars!
Date:  Sunday, June 9, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Highland Valley Staging Area (see directions in left column)

Join a Park Ranger for this month's volunteer trail maintenance event.  Work on clearing brush and improving trail conditions.  Please bring drinking water, sun protection, and wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.  RSVP to or 858-674-2275 X 14.
Date:  Saturday, June 15, 2013
Time:  9:00am - 11:00am
Location: Santa Ysabel West Trailhead and Staging Area (see directions in left column)

Join San Diego County Park Staff for a nature hike. You will enjoy open spaces, grasslands, a riparian area, and oak groves.  For more information visit
by Richard Crawford
Date:  Sunday, June 16, 2013
Time:  1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel General Store and Backcountry Visitor Center (see directions in left column)

Richard Crawford is the Supervisor of Special Collections at the San Diego Public Library.  He is the former Archives Director at the San Diego Historical Society, where he also edited the Journal of San Diego History.  Born in Long Beach, he has been a San Diegan since 1973.  He has degrees in history (San Diego State University) and library science (San Jose State University).

As a historian and archivist, he has written extensively on local history, including articles for the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the books Stranger Than Fiction: Vignettes of San Diego History (1995) and The Way We Were in San Diego (2011).  Join Crawford at the Santa Ysabel Store and Backcountry Visitor Center for an illustrated talk on San Diego History and his recently published book San Diego Yesterday.  
Date:  Saturday, June 22, 2013
Time:  10:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve West

Join San Diego County Park Staff for a children's nature scavenger hunt.  For more information visit .
Date:  Saturday, June 22, 2013
Time:  10:00am
Location:  The Amphitheater at the Santa Ysabel East Farmer Road Trailhead and Staging Area (see directions in left column)

Join San Diego County Park Staff for the "All About Julian!" program.  For more information visit
Date:  Sunday, June 23, 2013
Time:  6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location:  Santa Ysabel East Farmer Road Trailhead and Staging Area (see directions in left column)

Join the San Diego County Park Staff for a moonlight hike.  Learn about nocturnal animals.  Bring a flashlight.  For more information visit
by Senior Ranger David Hekel
Date:  Sunday, June 23, 2013
Time:  9:00am
Location:  San Dieguito River Park Headquarters (see directions in left column)

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 have grown, and I am now the Senior Ranger.  The mountain biking community has also grown tenfold since that time, and the mountain bike has become a 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.  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 patrol 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 also inother 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.

We will be holding our first official patrol training on Sunday, June 23 at 9:00am at the San Dieguito River Park office.  For more information on our program or on how you can apply, contact Senior Ranger David Hekel at
Date:  Sunday, June 30, 2013
Time:  8:00am - 10:00am
Location:  Sunset Staging Area (see directions in left column)

Join an SDRP Park Ranger to learn about geocaching and find some geocaches hidden along the trail.  GPS units will be available to borrow.  RSVP to 858-674-2275 x14.
by Ranger Dante Lee
Earlier in May, the River Park sent 5 rangers to attend the 28th California Trails and Greenways Conference at the Granlibakken Lodge in Lake Tahoe.  We joined trail professionals and advocates of all levels from throughout California in a three-day learning and networking experience.

The conference offered a variety of sessions to enhance our understanding of trail management and to share our varying experiences with each other.  We picked up great perspectives and exciting ideas (such as conducting a visitor census), and we were able to showcase our park in the exhibit hall.

Rangers Jason and Natalie even hosted a session to share the River Park's experience in recovering from the devastating 2007 Witch Creek Fire.  The presentation - "Lessons Learned in Fire Recovery and Restoration" - is available here on the website.
by Senior Ranger Natalie Borchardt
'Tis the season to collect native plant seed!  If you enjoy being in nature and have a few hours to spare, join the Park Rangers and Dust Devils to collect native seed.  More hands full of seed mean healthier habitats for the Park.

We collect seed to propagate new native plants that will be fostered in our nurseries until they are strong enough to be permanently planted in the Park.  A nursery environment ensures that the seedlings get a great start with plenty of water and shade.  These are key elements that the seedlings wouldn't necessarily get in a natural setting.  We also hand cast seed throughout the Park and along the trails on rainy days to ensure germination in areas that lack plant growth or species diversification.

Seed collection is a fun, non-strenuous activity that supports healthy native habitats.  Contact Leana Bulay (858-674-2275 X 14) if you are interested in volunteering for any of our upcoming seed collecting events or ask about temporarily adopting new seedlings to care for them in your own backyard!
PIEDRAS PINTADAS (aka Lake Hodges South)
Trail of the Month, by Cindy O'Grady
Wouldn't it be great to find a place where you can combine some after-work, quality trail riding with a family outing, only 30 minutes from downtown San Diego?  Well, you're in luck!  The Piedras Pintadas section of the Bernardo Bay Natural Area trails fills the bill.

Mountain bikers will know this area as Lake Hodges South, a mix of mostly single-track trails providing terrain for riders of all ability levels. Your kids will be able to handle the beginner level trails as long as they know to ride a bike.  Intermediate bikers can ride almost everything, and there are even a few technical sections for the advanced folks.

The Rancho Bernardo Community Park will be your base.  To get there, take the West Bernardo Drive/Pomerado Road exit off I-15 and turn left at the traffic light.  Proceed around Lake Hodges for approximately mile, then turn right on Rancho Bernardo Community Park Drive.  The center is on the left, across from the retirement home.

Rancho Bernardo Community Park has plenty to keep everyone happy while the cyclists are out doing their thing!  This recreation center and park has 38 acres with two play areas including a sandbox, eight ball fields, two outdoor basketball courts and, of course, restrooms.  The amenities are great, but the real gem is the Piedras Pintadas Trail, a 3.8 mile loop of natural beauty and local history.

Five hundred years ago, the Kumeyaay Indians made regular stops here in their nomadic wanderings.  Interpretive signs along the trail provide fascinating insights into their culture and daily life (hint: this will be invaluable when it comes time for your child's fourth grade Social Studies project).

Afterwards, everyone can share their adventures over a picnic, or head over to the North County Fair Mall area for one of the area's many eateries.  It's a weeknight your family will remember for a long time!
by Jasmine C., grade 3 

A twittering bird
Trees sway in the gentle wind
The water ripples

Haiku from Lagoon Days 2013.

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.