Heller’s Bend Preserve

20150216HellersBendDSC_7147-EditHeller’s Bend is a 48 acre preserve owned and managed by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. The FLC was founded in 1988 by local residents to preserve the natural beauty and enhance the rural character of the Fallbrook community. While the Fallbrook area has undergone considerable development since 1988, thanks to the FLC areas like Heller’s Bend Preserve have been set aside for our enjoyment.

We parked our car at a dirt turnout a little bit down the street and walked up the road to the Preserve entrance. Upon our first step on the wide, paved road beyond the gate, we knew this was going to be a beautiful place. Tangled branches of oak trees overhung the path, and long green grass lined the edge of the trail.20150216HellersBendDSC_7155-Edit

The trail descended briefly before turning to the right. We found ourselves in an idyllic spot beneath the oaks, with a bench next to a tumble of boulders. 20150216HellersBendDSC_7157-Edit

Just beyond, the path crossed a small creek. Along the left side, the water cascaded over a small scattering of rocks.
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It was a beautiful, warm day, and we were the only people in the Preserve. While we were only a few hundred feet along the trail, we seriously considered just hanging out in this spot for the rest of the afternoon. But the desire to see what else this place had to offer was strong, so we continued along the trail. The old road meandered uphill through more shady trees and long, verdant grass. 20150216HellersBendDSC_7165-Edit

After a few turns, the trees thinned out a bit and we came to a slightly more exposed section of trail. Here the road climbed even more steeply.20150216HellersBendDSC_7180-Edit

We stepped carefully here, for we found several different types of critters on the warm pavement (click for larger images).

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Another bend or two in the road and just shy of ½ a mile we reached the end of the pavement. Two benches provided ideal spots to enjoy the wide vista before us. 20150216HellersBendDSC_7190-Edit

While the end of the pavement was a logical turn-around point, we decided to follow the now dirt path a bit further just to see where it led.
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We passed behind a residential area with a chain link fence along the edge. It was open and sunny up here, and we found lots of wildflowers just starting to bloom (click for larger images).
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The trail soon narrowed to a single track and we found ourselves travelling up and over a steep, chaparral covered hill. We found a fork in the path. The right branch looked like it headed uphill towards the residential area, probably a neighborhood access path into the Preserve, so we continued downhill to the left.

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Just short of the 1 mile point, the trail came to a chained off dirt road. We assumed this was the boundary between the Preserve and the private properties beyond, so at this point we turned around and made our way back.20150216HellersBendDSC_7205-Edit


Directions:
From I-15, take Highway 76 west to South Mission Road. Turn right onto South Mission Road and continue for approximately 1.4 miles, and turn left on Hellers Bend. After about .2 miles you’ll see a dirt turn out on the right as the road starts to curve. Park here. Walk up the road a couple hundred feet to find the Preserve entrance on the left side of the road. map

Total Distance: 1.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Total Ascent: 530 feet
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes allowed
Facilities: None
Fees/Permits: None

For more information, visit:
Fallbrook Land Conservancy – Heller’s Bend Preserve

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