Earlier this year, the City of Poway completed installation of a new bridge over Sycamore Creek on the Old Coach Trail, which replaced a bridge that washed out during a winter storm about 6 years ago. This new bridge establishes an official crucial connection between the San Dieguito River Park’s Coast to Crest Trail with the rest of Poway’s trail system and eventually the Trans-County Trail along Poway’s southern border.
Last month, San Dieguito River Park Staff and Rangers through-hiked the Old Coach Trail and checked out the new bridge. We parked a vehicle at the southern end and started at the Old Coach Trail Staging Area “North” at the Evergreen Nursery Growing Grounds at 14225 Highland Valley Rd.
The trail begins by heading south from the staging area through the growing grounds. It’s interesting to get a behind the scenes look at a nursery operation. A few hundred yards in is a small sign indicating we have entered the City of Poway (and left the City of San Diego). After following the frequently spaced trail signs through the growing grounds, we reached the steepest ascent of the hike. The trail follows an emergency access road up hill to a neighborhood that surrounds the Maderas Golf Club. The view from the top is impressive. The trail crosses Heritage Dr. twice as it works its way through the neighborhood and then turns into a utility road on a ridge overlooking the golf course to the east and the SDRP-preserved valley that Sycamore Creek runs through to the west. SDRP’s successful Sycamore Westridge Habitat Management Area is on both sides of the trail along the ridge.
At the southern end of the ridge, the trail descends to the new bridge over Sycamore Creek, which is at about the halfway point of the trail. Looks great!
We enjoyed taking a break in the shade of the oaks and all the other trees lining Sycamore Creek near the bridge before heading on. The trail goes up to about mid-slope and follows the creek upstream for much of the rest of the way to the southern Old Coach Trail Staging Area near the intersection of Espola Rd. and Old Coach Rd.
The Old Coach Trail is about 4 miles long and is open to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. To reach the Coast to Crest Trail, take the Old Coach-Coast to Crest Trail Link east from the northern staging area and cross Highland Valley Road at the crossing signal.