The Del Dios Gorge section of the Coast to Crest Trail holds both natural beauty and historical significance. The trail runs between the scenic San Dieguito River and the Del Dios Highway, just downstream of Lake Hodges. Remains of the historic Hodges Flume can be seen on the hillside above the highway, and the area is home to the C.W. Harris Site Archaeological District, where artifacts from over 9000 years of human habitation have been found.
The Del Dios Gorge Highway was just opposite the river, running parallel to the trail. Unfortunately, this meant there was a fair amount of traffic noise interrupting the lovely serenade of morning birdsong.
On the far side of the bridge, the trail was situated below the level of the nearby highway, so the traffic noise wasn’t quite so loud. On our right we could hear the sound of water flowing over rocks, mostly hidden by thick vegetation.
At 2 miles we reached our destination – the Rattlesnake viewpoint. While rattlesnakes are always a possibility on San Diego trails, the viewpoint is actually named for the stone rattlesnake built here, not the presences of actual snakes.
The trail continues on towards Lake Hodges, but we turned around at this point and headed back to the car.
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From I-5, take the Via De La Valle exit. Head east on Via De La Valle for approximately 5.2 miles. Turn right onto Paseo Delicias/Highway S6 (Del Dios Highway). Continue on Paseo Delicias/Del Dios Highway for 2.9 miles. Just past Calle Ambeinte, there is a small produce market on the right. Turn into the market’s parking lot, and find the entrance to the San Dieguito River Park staging area at the southwestern edge of the lot. Drive down the long driveway to find a parking lot at the bottom. map
|Total Distance:||4 miles|
|Total Ascent:||550 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|