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

See more than 100 species of birds at Silverwood

Learn about birds and plants on this educational hike.

The sanctuary provides seats in the bird observation area.
The sanctuary provides seats in the bird observation area.

There is something for every nature lover and even those who only want to get a bit of exercise at Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary. With a network of nearly 5 miles of trails, there are both easy walking paths through shady oak woodlands and more extensive paths through the chaparral where there are many wildflowers that bloom in late winter and spring. Hiking up to the ridgeline provides outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and out to the ocean. It is also a great place to learn about birds at the sanctuary’s observation area and nature center, which is to be expected since it is owned and operated by the San Diego Audubon Society. Tours are also available.

Silverwood trail to the observation area

From the parking area, start hiking southeast on the Harry Woodward Trail, named for the man who gave 85 of these acres as a gift to the Audubon Society to start Silverwood. This is an easy self-guided trip through chaparral with many shrubs identified with signs. Among those found here are holly-leaf cherry, mission manzanita, spice bush, buckwheat, and scrub oak, as well as other species making up the chaparral covering most of San Diego’s foothills. Currently this area is dominated by whitethorn ceanothus, a tall, but short-lived California lilac that forms dense thickets after a fire, a reminder that Silverwood was completely destroyed in the 2003 Cedar Fire. Fortunately, it has made a dramatic recovery.

Turn right at the Chaparral Trail to continue the self-guided tour where more chaparral shrubs are identified with signs, including chamise, chaparral yucca, sugar bush, and laurel sumac. Up ahead, across a bridge over an intermittent creek, is the bird observation area, a place to get acquainted with some of the more than 100 species of birds that visit or live in the sanctuary. Those likely to be seen include scrub jays, spotted towhees, hooded orioles, and California quail.

Sponsored
Sponsored

After exploring the bird observation area, return to the Chaparral Trail and continue east until the Spring Trail. Go right on the trail where it will soon be crossing an open grassy area with very few chaparral shrubs. In a normal rainfall year, this will be a marshy area, or cienaga, home to blue-eyed grass, Indian paintbrush, grasses, and rushes.

Silverwood trail map

Continuing on beyond the cienaga, the Spring Trail intersects with the Circuit Trail. Go left on the Circuit Trail, which continues up to the backbone of the ridge and crosses the “Big Rock Slab,” a large granite outcropping nearly devoid of plants, except for mosses, silver-leaf lotus, and a few dudleyas growing in the cracks. The Circuit Trail loops around the sanctuary, eventually returning to the entrance. As it does so, it will intersect with six other trails that could be explored if time permits. One highly recommended for outstanding views is the Howie Wier-Rady’s View Trail up to the sanctuary’s high point at 2100 feet. There is also a self-guiding Geology Trail that is compelling and informative.

Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary

Place

Silverwood Sanctuary

13003 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside

Distance from downtown San Diego: 28 miles. Allow 35 minutes driving time (Lakeside). Take I-8 E to El Cajon and exit onto SR-67 and go north to Lakeside. Turn right (east) on Mapleview St. At the stop sign, turn left (north) on Ashwood St., which will become Wildcat Canyon Rd. Continue for 4.8 miles toward the Barona Casino to the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary on the right.

Hiking length: 2-mile loop.

Difficulty: Moderate. Elevation gain/loss up to 1000 feet. Facilities and water available.

Hours open: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sundays only.

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

L.A. angst over newspaper loss not mirrored in San Diego

Jen Campbell sucks up GOP money
Next Article

A poem for Thanksgiving by Lydia Maria Child

The New-England Boys’ Song About Thanksgiving Day
The sanctuary provides seats in the bird observation area.
The sanctuary provides seats in the bird observation area.

There is something for every nature lover and even those who only want to get a bit of exercise at Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary. With a network of nearly 5 miles of trails, there are both easy walking paths through shady oak woodlands and more extensive paths through the chaparral where there are many wildflowers that bloom in late winter and spring. Hiking up to the ridgeline provides outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and out to the ocean. It is also a great place to learn about birds at the sanctuary’s observation area and nature center, which is to be expected since it is owned and operated by the San Diego Audubon Society. Tours are also available.

Silverwood trail to the observation area

From the parking area, start hiking southeast on the Harry Woodward Trail, named for the man who gave 85 of these acres as a gift to the Audubon Society to start Silverwood. This is an easy self-guided trip through chaparral with many shrubs identified with signs. Among those found here are holly-leaf cherry, mission manzanita, spice bush, buckwheat, and scrub oak, as well as other species making up the chaparral covering most of San Diego’s foothills. Currently this area is dominated by whitethorn ceanothus, a tall, but short-lived California lilac that forms dense thickets after a fire, a reminder that Silverwood was completely destroyed in the 2003 Cedar Fire. Fortunately, it has made a dramatic recovery.

Turn right at the Chaparral Trail to continue the self-guided tour where more chaparral shrubs are identified with signs, including chamise, chaparral yucca, sugar bush, and laurel sumac. Up ahead, across a bridge over an intermittent creek, is the bird observation area, a place to get acquainted with some of the more than 100 species of birds that visit or live in the sanctuary. Those likely to be seen include scrub jays, spotted towhees, hooded orioles, and California quail.

Sponsored
Sponsored

After exploring the bird observation area, return to the Chaparral Trail and continue east until the Spring Trail. Go right on the trail where it will soon be crossing an open grassy area with very few chaparral shrubs. In a normal rainfall year, this will be a marshy area, or cienaga, home to blue-eyed grass, Indian paintbrush, grasses, and rushes.

Silverwood trail map

Continuing on beyond the cienaga, the Spring Trail intersects with the Circuit Trail. Go left on the Circuit Trail, which continues up to the backbone of the ridge and crosses the “Big Rock Slab,” a large granite outcropping nearly devoid of plants, except for mosses, silver-leaf lotus, and a few dudleyas growing in the cracks. The Circuit Trail loops around the sanctuary, eventually returning to the entrance. As it does so, it will intersect with six other trails that could be explored if time permits. One highly recommended for outstanding views is the Howie Wier-Rady’s View Trail up to the sanctuary’s high point at 2100 feet. There is also a self-guiding Geology Trail that is compelling and informative.

Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary

Place

Silverwood Sanctuary

13003 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside

Distance from downtown San Diego: 28 miles. Allow 35 minutes driving time (Lakeside). Take I-8 E to El Cajon and exit onto SR-67 and go north to Lakeside. Turn right (east) on Mapleview St. At the stop sign, turn left (north) on Ashwood St., which will become Wildcat Canyon Rd. Continue for 4.8 miles toward the Barona Casino to the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary on the right.

Hiking length: 2-mile loop.

Difficulty: Moderate. Elevation gain/loss up to 1000 feet. Facilities and water available.

Hours open: 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sundays only.

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

Wagner, Liszt, and Brahms in Escondido

Payare levitates for the victory
Next Article

Fight over barbed wire at Kendall Frost Reserve

View of Mission Bay vs. protection against homeless camps and predators
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it 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 Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new 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 Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week 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 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