Famosa Slough

Famosa Slough is a 37 acre Marine Conservation Area which protects fragile wetland habitat near the point where the San Diego River meets the Pacific Ocean. While the surrounding area has been heavily developed, this small portion of wetland provides a peaceful patch of nature. The Slough is a popular spot for birdwatchers year-round, and a frequent stopover point for migrating birds in the winter. Over 190 species of birds have been spotted here.

I should note that we encountered a number of homeless persons, some discreetly camped out in the bushes, on our visit. While we did not feel unsafe at any point, if you’re nervous about that sort of thing plan to do this one with a buddy.

We set off to explore Famosa Slough on an early Sunday morning. While it was clear and sunny at our house in East County, we found a thick marine layer still enveloped the coast, providing a beautiful and ethereal mist. We found an informational kiosk at the north end of the parking lot, and trails branching in three directions. 2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9294

The center and right forks led to a couple of small loop trails where you can find a nice viewpoint overlooking the southern end of the slough.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9308

Here, we found our first model of the day, a Snowy Egret.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9300-edit

After quickly exploring the loops we returned to the starting point at the kiosk. The main section of trail lay to the left so we set off in that direction, crossing a small wooden bridge.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9343

We reached the end of a cul de sac (Montalvo St.) and turned right, picking up the trail on the other side of the street. A short trail branched off to the right, leading down to the sections, but we continued straight, following a trail along the outside of the fence.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9344

We passed through some overhanging trees and then crossed the end of another cul de sac, Mentone St, and then followed the trail straight as it traveled along the western edge of the wetland.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9347

A variety of birds were hanging out in the water swimming and fishing. We spotted terns, ducks, egrets and cormorants among others.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9351-edit

We made our way through another tunnel of plants.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9393

There was a turn-off on the right which led a short way to a nice little view point, complete with bench. Here we had a great view of the birds on the water from another angle. 2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9396-edit

Back on the main trail we emerged from the brush and continued on. 2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9407

More benches offered spots to kick back and enjoy the antics of the waterfowl.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9417

As we continued on, the trail edged closer to the road until we were right alongside the street.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9625

A short way before reaching West Point Loma Blvd there was another informational kiosk and a spot where you could walk right down to the water’s edge. A Little Blue Heron stalked fish in the water.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9508-edit

Continuing on, we had to cross West Point Loma Blvd before picking up the trail on the opposite side. On this side of the street, the trail ran along the eastern side of the water, and apartment buildings stood on our right.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9537

Just past the road crossing we spotted the remnants of a wooden trestle in the waterway.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9582-edit

The trail continued north, heading towards Highway 8.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9544

We spotted a Great Blue Heron and more ducks in the water.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9553-edit

To the north we could see where Highway 8 crossed the inlet to the San Diego River Channel just beyond. 2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9547

Around the .6 mile point we came to a wooden picnic table which was our turnaround point. We turned around and headed back the way we had come.2016_famosa_slough_dsc_9549

View the full photo gallery

Take I-8 west to Sunset Cliffs Blvd and turn left onto Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Keep left to turn onto Nimitz Blvd. Continue on Nimitz Blvd fro approximately .6 miles, then take the ramp to the right towards Famosa Blvd. Turn right onto Famosa Blvd. Follow Famosa Blvd. until it crosses Valeta St, where it will dead-end at the Famosa Slough entrance. You find a small dirt parking lot on the left and the trailhead straight ahead. map

Total Distance: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Total Ascent: Negligible
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes allowed
Facilities: None
Fees/Permits: None

For more information, visit:
Friends of Famosa Slough
Trail Map
View route or download GPX from CalTopo

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