East of the town, west of the Rodríguez Dam
Mention Tijuana River, and people think trash-strewn polluted concrete canal near the border. But there's another Tijuana River, clean and pristine, and nearer than people think. Follow Boulevard Insurgentes up to the head of the Tijuana valley, turn right at Monte de los Olivos Cemetery, ease down the dirt road past the last of the maquiladoras and the end of the concrete canalization. Above, to the left, the beginnings of the mountains, and the Rodríguez Dam. In front of you, the river's last meandering untouched section. Yes, a few soda cans, car parts, and cardboard boxes, but they're concealed by great swathes of ten-foot bull rushes with foxtails, trees, and native bushes among the chuckling, clear waters. Wildlife teems here too. Mass flights of birds with bell-clear chirps sweep into the trees. Hawks hover. But better hurry. "It's been like this for thousands of years," says green activist Silverio de la Mora Ceballos, "but the way Tijuana grows, it may not last much longer."