The San Dieguito River Park was created to help preserve and protect the fragile resource of natural open space. Rules were established to provide the opportunity for recreation that does not interfere with wildlife or people’s enjoyment of the Park’s natural resources.
There are trails within the River Park that are managed by other agencies, and different park rules may apply. Please see Trail Maps for information and restrictions about a specific trail.
Have a Good Time!
It is very important that people enjoy their time spent at the San Dieguito River Park. Regardless of how people feel when they enter the Park, when leaving they should feel good about themselves and their experience.
For Your Safety and the Preservation of Sensitive Habitat
STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS
The JPA staff maintains trails designated for public use. These trails are maintained to provide access to natural areas and preserve the adjacent ecology. Use of closed trails is not allowed and use of non-designated trails is discouraged. If people stay on the trails, then the wildlife will be allowed to live unaffected by the intrusion of humans who come to their habitat to enjoy nature and get exercise. Night time trail use is prohibited.
PETS MUST BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES AND OWNERS MUST CLEAN UP AFTER THEIR PETS
Pets should be leashed and on the trail for resource protection, safety, and consideration of other people (see handout ‘Why should I put my dog on a leash’). Owners must clean up after their pets. Although the park provides bags at the trailheads, it is the pet owner’s responsibility to carry a bag or tool to remove the pet waste.
ALL GEOLOGICAL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES ARE PROTECTED
It is important that the geological features remain undisturbed to ensure a healthy ecosystem off the trail. Archeological resources are protected. Removal of any artifacts erases cultural history information of the San Dieguito River Park. Artifacts must be studied in their original location or the information is lost. Relics that remain may have religious value, and the removal of these artifacts can be considered the equivalent of stealing from a church.
FISHING AND BOATING
Fishing is permitted seasonally at Lake Hodges. Fishermen must possess a California fishing license and a daily-use permit that can be purchased at the main boat dock concession stand. Call 619-465-3474.
Fishing is also permitted between the railroad tracks and Jimmy Durante Blvd. on the south side of the San Dieguito River, and at the river mouth west of Camino Del Mar at the San Dieguito Lagoon. View the City of Del Mar ordinance .
NO FISHING anywhere else in the park. This helps lessen the impact of fishermen to the lake and surrounding ecosystems.
Boating is permitted at Hodges Reservoir February through October on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (except the third Wednesday of every month), and at Sutherland Reservoir March through September on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (except the third Friday of every month). Contact the City of San Diego Reservoirs and Recreation Program at (619) 465-3474 or visit their website for more information.
LITTERING AND DUMPING PROHIBITED
Carry out what you carry in.
Trash cans are located at all trailheads and also on some trails.
All trail markers, fences, signs, benches, and materials must be protected. JPA has limited funding and vandalism takes resources away from other projects. Natural features also must be protected from defacement. Spray painting and carving into rock, sand, or trees is, of course, strictly prohibited.
NO COLLECTING OR REMOVING OF ANY PLANT OR ANIMAL — THEY ARE PROTECTED
In order to maintain a quality experience for people who enjoy the natural areas of the San Dieguito River Park, it is important not to disturb the ecosystem. Because of the large amount of people who visit the park, picking flowers or breaking off a branch can have long-term negative impacts on the ecosystem.
For every snake or lizard that is killed or removed, many insects or rodents will not be eaten and allowed to thrive and multiply.
HUNTING, FIREARMS & FIREWORKS ARE PROHIBITED
This includes all weapons; guns, rifles, bow and arrows, sling shots, and spears.
Regardless of the target these items are not allowed. Weapons put the public’s safety at risk.
OFF ROAD VEHICLES ARE NOT PERMITTED; AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY
Off road vehicles damage the SDRP trails that are designed for equestrian, hiker, or bicycle usage only. The noise of off-road vehicles may interfere with bird nesting and nocturnal animals that sleep close to the trail.
Read the Mobility Policy (PDF), which describes rules about power-driven mobility devices and trails that can accommodate them.
FIRES ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED
Dry brush, in some cases has inherent properties that encourages fire, is extremely dangerous. Throughout San Diego County campfires contribute to devastating fires annually.
BBQs are permitted in a specified area at the Lake Hodges boat dock ONLY, no exceptions (lake must be open for fishing).
OVERNIGHT CAMPING IS PROHIBITED
Please remember that a large number of people utilize the trails of the San Dieguito River Park and our ability to maintain a healthy natural environment will insure our continued access to natural areas in the future.
Designated parking areas are available to provide access to many of our trails at various points throughout the park. Use the interactive San Dieguito River Park Map to get directions by clicking on the P symbols.
Please note the hours that they are open. Overnight parking is not permitted in our staging areas. Vehicles left overnight may be subject to towing at the owner’s expense.
Staging areas open: Daily at 6:00 AM
Close: 6:00 PM (October 1 – March 31)
Close: 7:30 PM (April 1 – September 30)