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The San Dieguito River Park
18372 Sycamore Creek Rd.
Escondido, CA 92025
Phone: (858) 674-2270
Fax: (858) 674-2280

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The River Park has converted from a print-based distribution system to a web-based system. If you are interested in receiving e-mail notices when the quarterly activity schedule is posted to the website, and news of special events occurring in the Park, click above to send us an e-mail.

Historical & Cultural Resources


The San Dieguito River Valley is known to contain over 350 recorded archaeological sites, representing 9,000 years of Native American occupation. The earliest known Native American occupation in San Diego County can be found at the Harris Site, located within the river valley downstream of Lake Hodges Dam. The Harris Site was the seasonal home of the San Dieguito Indians in the river valley as far back as 9,000 years ago. This area has been preserved as part of the Open Space set-aside for The Crosby Estate.

Piedras Pintadas, literally "Painted Rocks" in Spanish, is best known for its remarkable rock art. While the precise function of the site is not known, it is clear that activities of great importance took place here. Even now, Piedras Pintadas is a place of special significance to the descendants of those Kumeyaay who created the site so long ago (about 500 years). Using funds provided by a grant from the State of California and matching funds from a San Dieguito River Valley Trust Fund at the City of San Diego, the River Park was charged with developing and implementing a plan to protect the Piedras Pintadas site.

In recent years, considerable damage has occurred at the site as a result of intentional and unintentional vandalism and general site intrusion. The primary objectives of the plan were to protect the site, interpret the life-style and management practices of the Kumeyaay, and to educate the public as to the importance of protecting cultural resources like Piedras Pintadas. The Park is seeking funding to construct a replica of the rock art which will recreate the sense and mystery of the original. The advantage of the rock art replica is that, unlike the original, which must be carefully preserved and potentially would be damaged by visitors, visitors will be able to walk among the replica boulders and touch and examine the rock art.  The River Park's Piedras Pintadas Trail includes educational signage about the lifestyles of the Kumeyaay, how the Kumeyaay used various native plants that still grow in the area, and wonderful views of Lake Hodges. 

See the Activity Schedule for guided walks in this area organized by the San Dieguito River Park.

The boulder shown in this photo contains "mortars".

giant boulder containing "mortars"

These were used by Native Americans as they ground acorns, seeds and other foods.


Historic sites located with the river valley are representative of the Spanish (1769-1821), Mexican (1821-1846), and American (1848-present) historic periods. Mule Hill, located in the western end of San Pasqual Valley, is a State Historical Landmark. It is closely associated with the Battle of San Pasqual which took place on December 6, 1846, during the Mexican-American War.

The Sikes Adobe Historic Farmhouse is a State Point of Historical Interest. The Adobe is located east of I-15 on the north shore of Lake Hodges, near the beginning of the Mule Hill/San Pasqual Valley Trail. Built by the Sikes family in approximately 1872, it represents California's early farming and ranching days. The San Dieguito River Park hired a team of historians to research the structure's historical significance, and restored the farmhouse to its period of significance (approx 1881) using a State grant in the amount of $350,000 secured by then Assemblywoman Charlene Zettel.  The San Dieguito River Park offers docent-led tours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons so that park visitors can imagine what life was like for our early settlers, alone in this area before the towns grew up around them, long before the freeway was built and the river dammed.   The San Dieguito River Park is seeking funding for a Visitor's Center and Park Offices that would be located adjacent to the restored Sikes Adobe Farmhouse.  Interpretive themes for the Visitor's Center include: The Pioneer Family Experience, The Changing Face of Agriculture, Grain as King (a history of the California winter wheat bonanza period), The Sikes Family, and the Town of Bernardo. Click here for more detailed information about the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmhouse and its restoration.


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