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

Website by Astra Consulting

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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.

San Pasqual Valley

San Pasqual Valley is located east of I-15, south of Escondido, north of Rancho Bernardo and Poway. It is an agricultural preserve largely owned by the City of San Diego. The San Diego Wild Animal Park is located in the San Pasqual Valley, as is the San Pasqual State Battlefield Visitor's Center. The San Dieguito River Park has many projects planned or underway in the San Pasqual Valley.

Farmhouse in the San Pasqual Valley

The San Dieguito River Park recently completed a 10-mile-long, multi-use, non-motorized trail in San Pasqual Valley.  Click here for a trail map of the new trail .  This project is part of the Coast to Crest Trail .  Construction began in February, 2001 and was completed in time for a Grand Opening on June 1, 2002.  The trail has two parts - the Mule Hill Historical Trail and the San Pasqual Valley Trail.  Each are described in more detail below.  Funding for this project was received from State Environmental Enhancement Mitigation Program Funds (EEMP), State Public Resource Act funds, Statewide Transportation Enhancement Act Funds (Federal), National Recreational Trails Act (Federal) funds, and the San Diego Assocation of Governments (Local).  In addition, funding for engineering design was received from the City of Escondido.  Funding for interpretive signage was provided by the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Grant funds, via 3rd District Supervisor Pam Slater.   Read on for a detailed description of the new trail.

Mule Hill Historical Trail

This segment is a 1.25-mile-long trail for hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians beginning at the Sunset Drive cul de sac adjacent to I-15, extending south of Sikes Adobe but north of the wetlands.  A box culvert was used to cross Kit Carson Creek.  The trail runs across the back side of the Hodges Golf  Improvement Center and then alongside Via Rancho Parkway for a short distance, then turns south on the same course as an existing dirt farm road, heads south to terminate at two interpretive stations.  There are many historical resources in this area that are interpreted at the two interpretive stations, notably several skirmishes in the Mexican-American War of 1846, the flooded town of Bernardo, and the old San Diego to Yuma road. 

San Pasqual Valley Agricultural Preserve Trail

This 8.75-mile-long segment continues where the Mule Hill Historical Trail (described above) ends.  Ascending a slight rise, the trail user can see that agricultural uses begin here.  In the future trail signs will be added that inform you what is being grown in the various areas where the trail passes close by. 

Please bear in mind that the trail is in the valley as a result of the cooperation of the farmers.  Your  help is needed - under no circumstances should you leave the trail, interfere with any farming operations, or take produce or equipment!  There are times when the trail may be posted that it is closed for pesticide spraying. RAs the trail passes by areas in active agricultural use, the trail will be fenced to protect against theft of produce.  A protocol for trail closure when an area near the trail is being sprayed with pesticides was developed and approved by the County Farm Bureau, County Farm Advisor's Office, and the affected farmers.. emember that this is for your safety, so please observe the closure. 

After about a mile heading straight east, with the organic asparagus, gourd and squash farm on your left, the trail crosses the floodplain and the San Dieguito River (via a low-flow crossing).  At the old weigh station adjacent to Highland Valley Road, the trail bears left, and continues for another mile or so adjacent to the river on the bed of an old dirt road.  

When you come to a large kiosk and picnic table, the trail changes decidedly.  It narrows and climbs upward steeply.  Please be careful in this area to avoid conflicts with other users, as horses, bicyclists and hikers may all be encountered.  This section of the trail is called the Raptor Ridge Trail.  At the top be sure to stop and enjoy the fantastic views! 

Continue on down the hill until you get to the staging area at Ysabel Creek Road and Bandy Canyon Road where you can check out the San Diego County Farm Bureau's interesting signage about agriculture in San Diego County. 

Continuing eastward, you will arrive at the beautiful cantilever trail that the River Park built for trail users as an extension off the existing Bandy Canyon Road Bridge over Santa Maria Creek. 

The trail lies next to Bandy Canyon road for some distance.  Fortunately, this is a country road with relatively few cars on it.  You will soon encounter the Verger Dairy, which is directly adjacent to the trail.  There are usually calves to be seen next to the trail.  The trail takes a 90 degree turn to the left when you reach the orange grove.  The trail is fenced on both sides, giving a tunnel effect, for a short distance.  When you reach the river (Santa Ysabel Creek) the trail turns the right (east) again.  In this stretch, you may pick and eat the oranges on the trees inside the trail fence when they are ripe (beginning in May). 

The trail ends at the Highway 78/Bandy Canyon Road staging area.  Future plans are to extend the trail through the gorge to Boden Canyon and the Cleveland National Forest.

Sikes Adobe Restoration

Restoration of the historic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse was completed in 2003.  The adobe farmhouse dates to circa 1870 and once was the head of a 2,400 acre ranch.  The River Park hired a consultant (Ione Stiegler of IS Architecture) who specializes in historic architecture to prepare a Historic Structures Report (HSR) and Restoration Plan, including construction drawings and specifications.  Other consultants on the team included historians Stephen Van Wormer and Susan Walters, cultural landscape consultant Vonn Marie May, photographer Philip Rittermann, and landscape architect Laura Burnett of Wallace Roberts & Todd.  The HSR was awarded a prize in the documents category by the California Preservation Foundation on February 8, 2003.  The Restoration began in March 2003 and was completed in time for a January 2004 Grand Opening. The restoration received a People in Preservation Award from the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO). Click here to see photos that documented the restoration progress, and for more information about the project.

Future plans include the restoration of the farmhouse's exterior - the period gardens (ornamental and kitchen), the well, the adobe creamery, fencing and wheat field.

Future plans also include the planning and design for future Interpretive Center adjacent to the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse.  The Interpretive Center, which is currently not funded, would interpret the pioneer farming experience and the role and history of agriculture in San Diego.  Its setting on the shore of Lake Hodges also offers wonderful opportunities for active naturalist programs for the public, in particular birdwatching, as Lake Hodges is a Globally Important Bird Area (as recognized by the American Bird Conservancy).   

Clevenger Canyon/San Pasqual Trail

This trail segment, which is not part of the Coast to Crest Trail system but connects to it, has been completed.  The Clevenger Canyon/San Pasqual Trails, which are located on both sides of Highway 78, were built and are managed by the City of San Diego.  The trails include a total of 14 miles of hiking trails on land leased by the federal Bureau of Land Management to the City of San Diego. There are two staging areas on Highway 78, approximately 5 miles east of the Wild Animal Park. Portions of these trails were burned in the Rancho Guejito fire several years ago, and have since experienced severe erosion; some segments of the north trail on the upper plateau cannot be found.

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