San Diego Trails: Fry Creek Trail

San Diego Trails: Fry Creek Trail

Canyon live oak
Image via Wikipedia

Fry Creek Trail wanders through the Cleveland National Forest, and if you love trees, whether you just love looking at them, talking to them, singing to them or can’t help hugging them, you’re gonna be in your element here, because you’ll be trailing through some of the oldest, biggest trees in the whole of San Diego County.

So what types of trees can you expect to meet as you hike through the Fry Creek Trail, along a mountain side which is 5000 – 6000 feet above sea level?

  • Douglas Fir – these are dark green and can grow up to around 120 feet! Branches are horizontal, short needles (around 3 inches) – look there’s one over there, and another, or is that a . . .
  • Coulter Pine – no, they’re much shorter and stockier, growing to around 75 feet in more of a cone shape, with long grey-green needles growing in bunches – is that one? No, that’s more like a . . .
  • White Fir – how can you tell? Because it’s light colored with silvery blue bark! Be nice to these, they can live up to 350 years old – how old do you think this one is? What’s that over there? It looks a bit like a . . .
  • Jeffrey Pine – mmmm, it smells of vanilla when you peel back the bark (but don’t do that). The wood is yellowy but the bark is thick brown or gray . . .
  • California Black Oak – drops its leaves in autumn, just after they’ve turned yellow, because it’s deciduous! They should be pretty easy to spot then, is that one over there, or is it a . . .
  • Canyon Live Oak – well, they don’t drop their leaves so if you go in autumn or winter you shouldn’t have too much trouble telling them apart. The trunk can grow up to 20 feet wide so you’d need long arms (or lots of friends) to hug this one!

Following the Fry Creek Trail

Enough about trees, what about the walk? Well, you need to be a bit careful not to head off in the wrong direction, all those branches pointing this way and that.  As you head onto the trail from the day parking area you’ll soon come across a three way intersection, remember to turn left to stay on the trail which will circle the Fry Creek Campground, when you reach the end of a dirt road turn left again and you’ll end up back where you started – simple.

Fry Creek Trail

Fry Creek Trail

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