San Diego Trails: Santa Ysabel West

San Diego Trails: Santa Ysabel West

The Santa Ysabel West Open Space Preserve only opened its doors (well, I suppose gates is a better word) a few months ago but is already proving extremely popular with hikers, equestrians and cyclists. Like the Santa Ysabel East Open Space Preserve which opened a few years ago, it is part of an old ranch which still has plenty of cattle grazing – if you go in the springtime you might even be lucky enough to see some calves.

The Santa Ysabel West trails are moderately difficult, they follow the old ranch roads but there are some steep up and down bits to navigate. The actual head of the trail is 3000 feet above sea level, and as you climb further you get the most amazing views over the Santa Ysabel Valley as far as the Volcan Mountain. The landscape really is beautiful, with cattle grazing on the pastureland, oaks, boulders and the odd splash of bright blue water – absolutely breathtaking.  You might need to have a paddle if there’s been a lot of rain, the Santa Ysabel West runs right through the creek, and when the waters flowing there are some stepping stones and boulders to jump across, but you might just find it easier to paddle – there is talk of a bridge being built eventually, but hey, why spoil the fun?

With lots of livestock, lots of trees and wild flowers in abundance, you really are in for a treat. Allow 3 or 4 hours to complete the round trip.


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