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The San Diego River Trail

River Trail Concept The San Diego River Park Conceptual Plan envisions a trail system from the mountains to the ocean. The main trail is called the San Diego River Trail, a multi-purpose trail and pathway for pedestrians, bicycles and other users. The vision of the River Trail includes equestrian users east/upstream of Mission Trails Regional Park into Santee, Lakeside and beyond. This connected system serves as the unifying thread for the San Diego River Park system and will offer recreational opportunities and access to park facilities and nature, in general.


none currently


  1. West Valley Crossing - To extend the 3.75 mile estuary segment across the River to connect it with Friars Road and the Mission Valley YMCA. This project would complete this segment of the trail. Preliminary Engineering Report has been completed and the next step is a more detailed study.
  2. Cedar Creek Falls to El Capitan Dam - This would establish the trail from below El Capitan Dam to the existing trail to Cedar Creek Falls. Most of this trail is on National Forest Service lands. The River Park Foundation is partnering with the National Forest Service and County of San Diego to finalize a proposed alignment. Discussions with the City of San Diego and at least one private landowner are required to place the trail on their property.
  3. Stadium - SANDAG has taken the lead to develop a temporary alignment for the River Trail across the Stadium parking lot. SANDAG has completed an alignment study. Work has begun on the engineering and environmental document.
  4. Mast Park West to Mission Trails Regional Park - SANDAG has taken the lead on an alignment study which should be completed summer 2015. Much of the proposed trail travels across privately owned property (Carlton Oaks Golf Course) and the future of this land is currently uncertain.
  5. Discovery Center at Grant Park - The San Diego River Park Foundation is currently in permitting to develop a nature education and community center along with a passive park. This project supports the River Trail by providing public services for Trail users such as a refreshment stand, bike parking, public restroom and benches. It is anticipated that the Site Development Permit for this project will be obtained late 2015. Fundraising for constuction is ongoing. Project Information


Walker Preserve Segment Opened April 23, 2015
Mission Center Road Signalized Trail Crossing Opens (south side of the River)


The San Diego River Park Foundation advocates with funders, public agencies, landowners and other partners to complete the vision of the San Diego River Trail. In some cases, we will also be the lead to construct trail segments. The vision of the River Trail is to match the character of the community or open space it is traversing. In the mountains, the trail width will be narrower matching the wilderness experience that is provided. In Misson Valley, it will be much more urban with pocket parks, public art and even cafes, all designed in harmony with the River's ecosystem. In the estuary, there will be view areas and interpretive signs to celebrate the incredible wildlife and history of the area. While the San Diego River Park system will be much more than the River Trail, the Trail is a critical piece that ties communities and recreational areas together.


The River Trail can be divided into several sections, each at different stages of completion:

  • Cedar Creek Falls Area - For map, click here
  • El Capitan Reservoir Area - No public trails are currently available. Future trails are planned.
  • El Monte Valley - A Comprehensive Trail Plan has not yet been developed. Some projects are underway.
  • Lakeside River Park - For map, click here
  • Santee River Park - For map, click here
  • Mission Trails Regional Park: Several projects are anticipated, visit for trail information
  • MTRP - Ward Road - Trails will be developed as private property is developed or redeveloped
  • Ward Road to Fashion Valley Road - Known as the Mission Valley Greenway Initiative. For map, click here
  • Fashion Valley Road to Sefton Park/Mission Valley YMCA - Current Gap
  • Sefton Park/Mission Valley YMCA to Dog Beach: Known as the Estuary Section. For map, click here

* The above trail maps are not meant to be precise trail maps, but for illustration of existing and planned projects to complete the vision of the San Diego River Trail. For more detailed information contact The San Diego River Park Foundation.

The San Diego River Trail is a critical piece in the planned 52 mile-long San Diego River Park system. The trail will reflect the area it traverses from wilderness-type experience in the upper reaches to a more urban feel in Mission Valley. The trail system will also connect with existing and planned trails along its length. If you are interested in supporting this vision with your time, talents or funds, please contact the San Diego River Park Foundation to learn how you help complete the River Trail.



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