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

Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch

The 2003 Cedar Fire burned 95 percent of the preserve, but it has come back beautifully.
The 2003 Cedar Fire burned 95 percent of the preserve, but it has come back beautifully.

The 2,272-acre Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve is owned by San Diego County Park and Recreation while the 325-acre Goodan Ranch that is within the preserve is jointly owned by the county, the cities of Poway and Santee, and the CA Department of Fish and Game. Together they offer over 10 miles of hiking through coastal sage, chaparral, oak woodland, riparian, and grassland habitats.

The 2003 Cedar Fire burned over 95 percent of the preserve, but it has come back beautifully. Look for spice bush, San Diego’s wild member of the citrus family, as well as flowering chamise, ceanothus, manzanita, buckwheat, laurel sumac, bush monkey flower, and other common chaparral species blooming in their season. Note the interesting rounded and polished rocks on the top of the ridge that appear to have been tumbled in water.

There are outstanding views of rolling, chaparral-covered hills and of Sycamore Canyon below on the Ridge Trail. It is best to bring at least a quart of water and start early at the west end of the staging area since there is no shade. At 1.2 miles, look for a wooden sign and a trail leading off the ridge on your right, continuing just a little over half a mile to the bottom of Sycamore Canyon to the historic Stowe Trail.

In the latter part of the 19th Century a town named Stowe was established in Sycamore Canyon and a dirt road went up Sycamore Canyon from Santee to Stowe. Although the town of Stowe has long since vanished, the road still exists...although it is an illegal entry into the preserve from Mission Trails.

Once you reach the canyon, follow the trail (dirt road) north approximately 0.25 mile to a trail leading off to the left. Follow it, cross the stream, and join the West Boundary Trail, which parallels the road. Continue north on the edge of lush riparian vegetation with sycamore trees, arroyo willows, coast live oaks, cottonwoods, and, in the winter and spring, a flowing stream. About 0.5 mile up this trail, cross over onto the road and visit the Goodan Ranch Center, a newly constructed building where there are toilets, drinking water, a small museum, and a place to sit in shade and relax. It is just west of the ruins of the ranch house that was destroyed in the Cedar Fire.

After resting and imagining what it must have been like to live in this isolated setting, continue north on the West Boundary Trail for 0.5 mile, where you have the option of going east up Cardiac Hill to the staging area to finish the hike in a little over 1.3 miles, but you will miss one of the best parts of the preserve. Instead, continue north on the road for less than a mile to the Goodan Staging Area and the preserve’s Poway north entrance to the Martha’s Grove trailhead. A good part of this well-maintained trail traverses a shady coast live oak woodland and, at about 0.75 mile, you will come to the Martha Harville Oak Grove Memorial, where there is a cool, verdant, shady oasis with picnic tables and benches that honor the memory of a park ranger.

After resting in Martha’s Grove, continue walking south and west. The trail again becomes a dirt road taking you back into the grassland. At about 1.75 miles from the trailhead, there is a junction. The road to the left goes up Cardiac Hill, leading to your parked car. Despite its name, Cardiac Hill is not very challenging. In a little over 1 mile is the junction with Sycamore Park Drive.

Canyoneers are San Diego Natural History Museum volunteers trained to lead interpretive nature walks that teach appreciation for the great outdoors. For a schedule of free public hikes:

http://www.sdnhm.org/education/naturalists-of-all-ages/canyoneer-hikes/

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

A postmodern eclectic

Hemisphere, Darius Degher, Dead Rock West, Sandollar, Adam Gnade
Next Article

Georg Trakl: December’s mood over meaning

Poems set in the evening and the autumn and winter
The 2003 Cedar Fire burned 95 percent of the preserve, but it has come back beautifully.
The 2003 Cedar Fire burned 95 percent of the preserve, but it has come back beautifully.

The 2,272-acre Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve is owned by San Diego County Park and Recreation while the 325-acre Goodan Ranch that is within the preserve is jointly owned by the county, the cities of Poway and Santee, and the CA Department of Fish and Game. Together they offer over 10 miles of hiking through coastal sage, chaparral, oak woodland, riparian, and grassland habitats.

The 2003 Cedar Fire burned over 95 percent of the preserve, but it has come back beautifully. Look for spice bush, San Diego’s wild member of the citrus family, as well as flowering chamise, ceanothus, manzanita, buckwheat, laurel sumac, bush monkey flower, and other common chaparral species blooming in their season. Note the interesting rounded and polished rocks on the top of the ridge that appear to have been tumbled in water.

There are outstanding views of rolling, chaparral-covered hills and of Sycamore Canyon below on the Ridge Trail. It is best to bring at least a quart of water and start early at the west end of the staging area since there is no shade. At 1.2 miles, look for a wooden sign and a trail leading off the ridge on your right, continuing just a little over half a mile to the bottom of Sycamore Canyon to the historic Stowe Trail.

In the latter part of the 19th Century a town named Stowe was established in Sycamore Canyon and a dirt road went up Sycamore Canyon from Santee to Stowe. Although the town of Stowe has long since vanished, the road still exists...although it is an illegal entry into the preserve from Mission Trails.

Once you reach the canyon, follow the trail (dirt road) north approximately 0.25 mile to a trail leading off to the left. Follow it, cross the stream, and join the West Boundary Trail, which parallels the road. Continue north on the edge of lush riparian vegetation with sycamore trees, arroyo willows, coast live oaks, cottonwoods, and, in the winter and spring, a flowing stream. About 0.5 mile up this trail, cross over onto the road and visit the Goodan Ranch Center, a newly constructed building where there are toilets, drinking water, a small museum, and a place to sit in shade and relax. It is just west of the ruins of the ranch house that was destroyed in the Cedar Fire.

After resting and imagining what it must have been like to live in this isolated setting, continue north on the West Boundary Trail for 0.5 mile, where you have the option of going east up Cardiac Hill to the staging area to finish the hike in a little over 1.3 miles, but you will miss one of the best parts of the preserve. Instead, continue north on the road for less than a mile to the Goodan Staging Area and the preserve’s Poway north entrance to the Martha’s Grove trailhead. A good part of this well-maintained trail traverses a shady coast live oak woodland and, at about 0.75 mile, you will come to the Martha Harville Oak Grove Memorial, where there is a cool, verdant, shady oasis with picnic tables and benches that honor the memory of a park ranger.

After resting in Martha’s Grove, continue walking south and west. The trail again becomes a dirt road taking you back into the grassland. At about 1.75 miles from the trailhead, there is a junction. The road to the left goes up Cardiac Hill, leading to your parked car. Despite its name, Cardiac Hill is not very challenging. In a little over 1 mile is the junction with Sycamore Park Drive.

Canyoneers are San Diego Natural History Museum volunteers trained to lead interpretive nature walks that teach appreciation for the great outdoors. For a schedule of free public hikes:

http://www.sdnhm.org/education/naturalists-of-all-ages/canyoneer-hikes/

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Tortillas star at Taquería Zapata

A shorter menu of tacos outside Pancho Villa market, still two bucks each
Next Article

Body Salt writes leaf-songs

“Being a songwriter is like being a little deciduous tree in the soil of your life experience.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close