Otay Valley Delta

The Otay Valley Delta once held farmland, but over the years the land was neglected and soon filled with invasive, non-native plants. In 2012 55 acres were restored, the weeds replaced with native plants and trees, creating a beautiful stretch of riparian habitat. This short loop explores the restored section of the Delta where the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Otay Valley Regional Park meet.

In the midst of the recent heat wave, we were looking for a short hike close to the coast and this little loop was just right. We headed out in the late afternoon, hoping to catch some cool breezes. We started out along the paved path heading north from just outside the parking lot of the Saturn Blvd staging area.

We were surrounded by green baccharis bushes and the brown remnants of grasses dried out at the end of summer. It had been over 100 degrees at our house, and we were pleased to find it a balmy 89 degrees or so this close to the coastline.

Around .4 miles we crossed a narrow bridge. Rushes grew thick on either side, obscuring views of the water. There were some dragonflies flitting about along the trail, but none wanted to stay still for a photograph. It was really too hot out for much wildlife activity, but we did also spot a few rabbits – again, moving too quick to photograph.

Around .5 mile the trail began to curve to the right. Just north of the trail we could see black chain link fencing marking the course of the Bayshore Bikeway.

Around .6 miles we reached the Swiss Park staging area, another possible starting point for this loop.

Just to the right of the staging area was a trail of crushed granite lined with a wooden fence. We set off down this trail, heading south.

This area had been farmland until the 1970’s when non-native weeds took over. The 2012 massive restoration project planted over 18,000 native plants, trees, grasses, and shrubs resulting in the current beautiful riparian habitat.

Around .85 miles we came to a “T” junction. The left fork led to the Beyer Street Ranger Station, where we had started the last time we hiked the Otay Valley Regional Park. We turned right today, heading back towards our starting point.

We soon crossed the river again, passing over a cement spillway.

We came upon an unmarked junction and stayed to the left, following the course of wooden fencing.

Soon the fencing ended. We followed the wide dirt path as it curved around to the left.

The trail led south towards the Home Depot, then west a short distance back to the staging area.

View the full photo gallery

Take I-5 to the Palm Avenue exit and head west on Palm Ave. Turn right onto 19th Street/Saturn Blvd and continue to the end of the road, the staging area will be on the right. map

Total Distance: 1.15 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Total Ascent: Negligible
Dog Friendly?: Leashed dogs allowed
Bike Friendly?: Bikes allowed
Facilities: None
Fees/Permits: None

For more information, visit:
Otay Valley Regional Park
View route or download GPX from CalTopo

Comments are closed.