Otay River Valley Trail

Only a couple of cars were in the parking lot when I pulled in just after 8 am. The forecast was calling for a slightly warmer day, and I knew I was not going to have a lot of shade along the trail, so an earlier start was in order. I grabbed my gear and crossed the road at the light. The wide dirt trail runs along the river valley and it soon passed one of the several ponds that line the valley floor. Along the way, bilingual interpretive signs lined the trailside.

The wildflowers were still blooming as I continued eastward. After passing the second pond, a wooden boardwalk weaved across a small section of marsh. A few others were also out enjoying the trail, but for the most part, I enjoyed the solitude and sounds of the occasional bird. This area is a major locale for bird watching, and I certainly spotted several unique ones during my hike.

At a grove of eucalyptus trees, I reached my turn-around point and had a short break. I crossed over the flowing Otay River to make this route more of a “lollipop” hike rather than a simple out-and-back. I continued west along the north side of the river valley for a bit, passing a very large white church, and my route had me crossing the river once again. Soon I neared the Ranger station. Without stopping at my car, I continued west toward yet another pond. I followed the trail part way around it, enjoying the views. While the trail continued westward, my knee wasn’t up for the additional distance.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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