The Highland Valley Trail runs along Highland Valley Road, just south of the San Dieguito River near San Pasqual Valley. Despite the nearby road, the trail offers a scenic stroll along gently rolling hills through a mix of coastal sage scrub, grasslands, and riparian woodlands. Views of nearby agricultural farms and the San Dieguito River provide a pleasant backdrop.
We set off on a surprisingly warm day in between rain storms at the end of December. Since this was a relatively short and easy hike, we were joined by the ever adventurous Apollo. The parking area was uncrowded, there were only a couple of other cars so we had the trail almost entirely to ourselves.
The trail has a corresponding interpretive guide, the Ruth Merrill Children’s Interpretive Walk, and we noted numbered posts as we walked. You can pick up the interpretive guide from the kiosk at the trailhead, or download it from the San Diegutio River Park web page.
Not far to our left was Highland Valley Road, which meant there was a fair amount of traffic noise on the trail. Fortunately the traffic wasn’t too heavy, so we could enjoy some extended periods of quiet in between cars.
The trail dipped into a lovely grove of oak trees. A wooden footbridge spanned a small creek. There were a few puddles of water downstream from the bridge, but it was otherwise dry. It was a beautiful and serene spot, and a wooden bench made for a perfect spot to sit and soak it all in.
Around 1.4 miles the trail began to bend south, turning away from Highland Valley Road and following Sycamore Creek Road. We could see stand of willows and sycamore trees marking the course of the creek on the opposite side of the road.
After enjoying the scenery, we turned around and retraced our route back to the car.
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From I-15, take the W Bernardo Dr/Pomerado Rd exit. Head east on Pomerado Road to Highland Valley Road. Turn left onto Highland Valley Road, the parking area and trailhead will be on your right in approximately 400 feet. map
|Total Distance:||4.2 miles|
|Total Ascent:||373 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|