On October 8, 2011, the San Dieguito River Park celebrated the opening of a short trail with a long horizon – the Old Coach Trail – linking the Coast to Crest Trail in San Pasqual Valley to the City of Poway’s vast trail system including the regional Trans-County Trail. The 200 feet of new trail, built by JPA rangers and Dust Devil volunteers, started from the Coast to Crest Trail floodplain area (just past the river crossing) to a new staging area at Evergreen nursery off of Highland Valley Road and links over 75 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. The inaugural hike led in 2011 by then Poway councilmember Jim Cunningham, leaders and volunteers from the San Dieguito River Park, and friends and donors, started in Poway and ended ten miles later at a celebratory ribbon-cutting at the new trailhead. This trail was the first in the County to link two regional east/west trails.
The San Dieguito River Park also received many accolades in 2011 including two Orchids, one for the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge and one for the JPA’s new administrative office, awarded by the San Diego Architectural Foundation at their annual Orchids and Onions awards program. An ambitious effort to remove invasive eucalyptus from the Del Dios Gorge was also in full swing in 2011 with helicopters hauling them out of the river gorge.