Lakeside River Park

Lakeside River Park trailLakeside River Park is a small, yet scenic stretch of the San Diego River. This trail is something of a work in progress. The original groundbreaking took place in 2006, and since then workers and volunteers have built a nice little trail and restored a substantial amount of native vegetation along the river. Future plans include additional removal of invasive plants and planting of natives, as well as extending the trail in both directions. We visited the trail on a warm summer evening shortly before sunset, and found the trail provided a pleasant little stroll with lots of birds and other wildlife.

We found the entrance just east of the River Run business park and headed south along the gravel path.Start of the trail at Lakeside River Park

This first quarter mile runs between a dry creek bed to the left with houses on the other opposite bank, and the business park to the right. Cottonwood and the occasional pine tree lined the well-maintained path.Cottonwood trees line the trail

After a quarter mile, we came to an intersection. The path to the right is a spur trail that, according to the Lakeside River Park Conservancy’s (LRPC) web site is Phase Two of the overall restoration project. We headed the other direction, and the trail took a short jog to the left. The trail at Lakeside River Park

We passed by a large patch of prickly pear cactus, and the trail turned left. We could see evidence of the large amount of restoration work the LRPC has been doing along the trail. Numerous small dedication plaques honoring donors adorned the many plants along the trail side. The river was down to our right, full of willows, cottonwoods, mule fat, and all sorts of other greenery. To our left was a chain link fence along the edge of a golf course, which was peaceful and serene at this time of the evening. On our return trip, we encountered numerous bunnies enjoying the golf course.Lakeside River Park trail

Around 1/3 of a mile we found a short path leading down to a viewing area paved with flat flagstones, allowing us a closer view of the riparian plant life. A small overlook

We continued on, admiring the thick jungle along the river. Most of the way was either so thick, or the water so low, all we saw were trees and bushes. But occasionally we got a glimpse of the actual river. Water is visible at Lakeside River Park

Then finally, around .7 miles, we came to an elaborate wooden viewing deck that provided a great view of wide swath of water. The viewing deck offers nice views at Lakeside River Park

From the deck, we could see ducks and other birds enjoying the water and its reed filled shores. View from the viewing deck at Lakeside River Park

Just beyond the deck we spotted what looked to be a platform for nesting osprey, unfortunately empty at the time of our visit. Osprey platform at Lakeside River Park

Continuing along, we came to a a tunnel of eucalyptus trees overhanging the trail. While eucalyptus is a non-native invasive species, they are slowly being removed as other native trees come to full height to accommodate birds of prey who require the tall trees.Eucalyptus trees line the trail at Lakeside River Park

Past the eucalyptus trees, the trail took another short jog to the left and we discovered a lovely granite bench where one could sit and enjoy the peaceful evening. A tranquil resting spot at Lakeside River Park

The trail passed along the edge of a cement company who has donated land to the Park for the creation of the trail. The final stretch of trail at Lakeside River Park

Finally, at 1.1 miles we came to the end of the current trail. Heading up the road to the left just a few hundred feet, we saw the beautiful sculpture that will someday be the formal entrance to this Park. The entrance sculpture at Lakeside River Park

From here we retraced our path back to our car.


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Directions:
Take I-8 East to 67 North. Take the Riverford Road exit, turn left on Woodside Avenue. Turn left on Riverford Road. Turn right on Riverside Drive. The trailhead will be on the right side of the road in less than 1/2 a mile, just past River Run business park (do not park there). Park on one of the side streets on the opposite side of Riverside Drive, like Rio Camino.map

Total Distance: 2.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Total Ascent: Negligible
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes allowed
Facilities: None
Fees/Permits: None

For more information visit:
Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy

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