Dictionary Hill Open Space Preserve in Spring Valley is the newest addition to the County’s open space parks. Thanks to the dedication and perseverance of the Dictionary Hill Open Space Advocates, the County Board of Supervisors recently voted to acquire and preserve these 175 acres.
In the 1800’s, Dictionary Hill was known as Lookout Mountain. Rufus King Porter, one of the founders of Spring Valley, would climb the mountain to check whether the steamer was in port before making the trip into Old Town to pick up mail and sell produce. Today, standing atop the hill, one can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of southeast San Diego.
There are several access points to the new open space, but we chose the trailhead at the end of S Barcelona Street as it appeared to offer the longest hike to the hilltop, and incorporates a stretch along Bancroft Creek. The trail began at the road’s end, leading into a dense grove of eucalyptus trees.
The real destination though appeared to be on the western edge of the hill top, from where we had an outstanding view of the city below and the coastline beyond. We began picking out local landmarks and were even able to spot our house. In the distance, we could see the Silver Strand, Point Loma, the Coronado Bridge, and the Coronado Islands off the coast of Mexico.
Mount Helix was closer, to the northeast, and Iron Mountain and Mount Woodson could be seen far in the distance to the left. We were also able to pick out the distinctive forms of El Cajon Mountain and Cuyamaca Peak. All in all, we were extremely impressed with the view given the short climb that had brought us here.
After exploring the hilltop we decided to take a slightly different route down. We found another rough path leading down the northeast side of the hilltop, heading towards another water tower (different than the water tower we had passed on our climb up).
This road curved around and continued west down an extremely steep hill. The dirt was very loose and slippery, being that it hadn’t rained in pretty much forever, and we were once again thankful for our trekking poles.
We were now in the canyon through which we had come in, and in just a couple hundred feet passed the turn-off we had first taken to begin climbing the hill. From here, we retraced our route back to the start.
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From 94 east take the Sweetwater Springs Blvd. Head south on Sweetwater Springs Blvd for approximately .9 mile. Turn right onto Austin Drive and continue for approximately .7 mile. Turn left onto S Barcelona St and proceed about .3 mile to the end of the road where you will find the trailhead. Park along the street. map
|Total Distance:||2.1 miles|
|Total Ascent:||565 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|