December 2, 2023
Wildflowers on McCoy Path within the Tijuana Estuary. Photograph by Luis Monteagudo Jr.

San Diegans are blessed to take pleasure in many hikes which might be close to our bodies of water, and so they’re not all close to seashores or scenic coastlines.

This outing, we check out two hikes that present some nice inland water views.

McCoy Path, Tijuana Estuary

One of many hidden gems of San Diego County is the Tijuana Estuary, a wetland system in South County that provides an unbelievable and various quantity of wildlife and atmosphere.

A lot whether it is near mountaineering trails which might be straightforward to get to. The south and north McCoy Trails are simply accessible from the Tijuana Estuary Customer Middle at 301 Caspian Approach in Imperial Seaside.

There may be free parking in a gravel lot on the Customer Middle. From there, you’ll be able to join straight away with the North McCoy Path, which is a brief .3 mile path that leads from the Customer Middle out to the wetlands.

When you’re carried out there, take into account the close by South Path, which is barely longer at .75 mile and takes you additional into the wetlands and to the mouth of the Tijuana River.

Each trails are flat and simple to hike, with both grime or gravel paths. There are a number of benches within the space to permit folks to cease and relaxation.

The paths are in a large open expanse so there’s not a lot solar cowl, however because the trails aren’t lengthy, there’s much less publicity.

Highlights: The Estuary is a breeding, feeding and nesting space for native birds and 1000’s of migratory birds that journey alongside the Pacific Flyway. Over 370 species of birds have been documented, and on our hike we noticed California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover.

There’s additionally loads of flora, together with Fennel, Coast Cholla Cactus and Coastal Sage Scrub.

However the Estuary itself additionally affords various visible delights, with coastal sage environments together with salt marshes, vernal swimming pools and sand dunes.

One factor to notice — the estuary is close to the Naval Outlying Touchdown Area  and on the day we hiked, there was a nonstop  airborne parade of helicopters conducting coaching maneuvers. So, don’t be shocked if it’s loads noisier than your traditional hike.

Old Mission Dam
Previous Mission Dam in Mission Trails Regional Park. Photograph by Luis Monteagudo Jr.

Oak Canyon Path, Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park is mountaineering heaven with a number of trails to select from, every providing totally different surroundings.

One of many hikes providing water views is the Oak Canyon Path, which begins proper behind the historic Previous Mission Dam, which all the time has operating water. The dam is registered as each a Nationwide Historic web site and a California State Historic Landmark and is straightforward to get to as there’s a small car parking zone on the entrance, but additionally loads of parking alongside the street resulting in the dam.

From the dam, you’re taking a dust path alongside the Oak Canyon Path that begins to wind alongside the river. The path is designated as Reasonable and is about 3 miles spherical journey. It takes you over a number of picket bridges and there’s a slight incline with the terrain getting a bit rockier the additional you go alongside the path.

Highlights: As you proceed alongside the path, it is going to take you previous streams that be a part of up with the San Diego River. The large payoff is an space with small swimming pools of water and two small waterfalls. The climate is getting hotter so count on to see much less and fewer water as we get into the summer season.

On that be aware,  take into account early morning hikes and take loads of water and sunscreen because the climate heats up. Blissful mountaineering!

Though he was raised within the city jungles of New York, Luis Monteagudo Jr. likes to hike and benefit from the open air. He has hiked within the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Zion Nationwide Park and the Oregon Coast amongst many different places. When you have any hikes you’d wish to suggest, tell us at [email protected].