River Park Trail:
Channel Road to Lakeside Baseball Park (2 miles one way)
General Description: Easy, level trail that runs just north of the river.
Entry Points and Parking:
1) Channel Road Gate and Parking Area - Located at 10354 Channel Rd, just north of the San Diego River bridge on Channel Road in Lakeside.
2) River Run East Entry Point - Located at 11655 Riverside Dr, Lakeside, CA 92040. There is no parking at the business park. Please park across the street on Vista Camino.
3) Riverford Road and the San Diego River Bridge - You can access the trail either from the east or west side of Riverford Road, near Turning Point on the east or Marathon Construction to the west. Street parking only. Please do not park in business parking lots.
4) Lakeside Baseball Park or Marathon Way - Located at the west end of Mast Blvd in Lakeside. Street parking is found on Marathon Way or Mast Blvd. Parking is available at the baseball park beginning at 9:30 AM daily.
Wildlife: This open area is your best chance to see land-dwelling species such as jackrabbits and reptiles. Greater roadrunners have also been spotted here. You may see butterflies such as swallowtails and occasionally red-tailed hawks can been seen soaring above or sitting in the trees. Depending on the season of the year, you will probably see goldfinches, yellow warblers, and various sparrows. In more open areas you may see black phoebes and hummingbirds, among others. Look in the pond to see mallards, coots, egrets, and blue herons (which often perch on top of the water quality monitor). Osprey sometimes fish in the pond. Dragonflies are common. In the riparian forest, look for the large nest of the red-tailed hawk. The second (west) overlook is an excellent place to listen to wildlife as well as spot it; red-wing blackbirds are often seen here.
Plants: The large, fragrant bushes with spikes of purple flowers are sages. The red or orange tube-shaped flowers are monkeyflower and the dark green bushes with purple flower clusters are California lilac. Other native plants found here are artemesia and California sunflower, in addition to the sycamore and oak trees. All of these plants thrive in inland San Diego's climate with little water; the irrigation that you see is only used for the first few years while the plants are being established. Along the rocks (called rip-rap) on the side of the channel you can see native plants such as laurel sumac and toyon that are growing to cover most of the rocks.