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Walk around San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park

Stroll amid prickly pear thickets.

In summer and fall, perhaps two or three centuries ago, Native Americans on the coastal side of the mountains were busy gathering luscious fruit from stands of prickly pear, tuna, and other varieties of cactus. Today, due to decades' worth of intensive cattle-grazing (which has suppressed many nonsucculent plants) and the invasive habit of prickly pear, some of the former gathering grounds are probably richer today than they were in the past.

The short Battle Monument Trail at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park offers a close-up look at dense thickets of prickly pear, ripe red fruits bulging by the hundreds wherever you look. The Indians managed to allay the annoying and painful effects of the tiny spines on the fruits by either burning them off or by deftly slicing both ends of the fruit and peeling back the skin.

You can begin your walk behind the park's attractive visitors' center, on Highway 78, 1.4 miles east of the San Diego Wild Animal Park. In the visitors' center itself you can learn about the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual, as well as the various uses of the region by Native Americans and later settlers.

Walk on the looping nature trail a short way, then continue west on the Battle Monument Trail. After wending through cactus thickets, you soon arrive at a hilltop ramada and bench. From there the broad, flat San Pasqual Valley spreads before you. Most of the valley is still classified as an agricultural preserve within the city limits of San Diego and so has not filled up with subdivisions. In the opposite direction you can spot parts of the artificial savanna at the Wild Animal Park, complete with some of its larger inhabitants. When it's time to go, return the way you came, or else continue west and downhill toward a state historical marker commemorating the battle.

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In summer and fall, perhaps two or three centuries ago, Native Americans on the coastal side of the mountains were busy gathering luscious fruit from stands of prickly pear, tuna, and other varieties of cactus. Today, due to decades' worth of intensive cattle-grazing (which has suppressed many nonsucculent plants) and the invasive habit of prickly pear, some of the former gathering grounds are probably richer today than they were in the past.

The short Battle Monument Trail at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park offers a close-up look at dense thickets of prickly pear, ripe red fruits bulging by the hundreds wherever you look. The Indians managed to allay the annoying and painful effects of the tiny spines on the fruits by either burning them off or by deftly slicing both ends of the fruit and peeling back the skin.

You can begin your walk behind the park's attractive visitors' center, on Highway 78, 1.4 miles east of the San Diego Wild Animal Park. In the visitors' center itself you can learn about the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual, as well as the various uses of the region by Native Americans and later settlers.

Walk on the looping nature trail a short way, then continue west on the Battle Monument Trail. After wending through cactus thickets, you soon arrive at a hilltop ramada and bench. From there the broad, flat San Pasqual Valley spreads before you. Most of the valley is still classified as an agricultural preserve within the city limits of San Diego and so has not filled up with subdivisions. In the opposite direction you can spot parts of the artificial savanna at the Wild Animal Park, complete with some of its larger inhabitants. When it's time to go, return the way you came, or else continue west and downhill toward a state historical marker commemorating the battle.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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