- This is how San Diego must have looked prior to the landing of the Spanish in 1542. Spread over 5,200 acres, over 40 miles of trails wend through a magnificent variety of habitats, including rugged hills, peacefull valleys, a lake, riparian woodlands,and some of the last remaining grasslands in the area. Found there are numerous bird species, including both golden and bald eagles, and wildlife such as coyotes, bobcats, foxes and possibly mountain lions. Cowles Mountains, at 1592 feet is the highest point in San Diego, and climbing it, or East or West Fortuna Mountains, affords spectacular 360 degree views from their peaks. Of historical significance is the remains of the Old Mission Dam, built on the San Diego River by Kumeyaay Indian slave labor to supply irrigation water to the Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first of the chain of missions established by Junípero Serra in California. Scattered throughout the park, close to the course of the river, are remnants of "morteros', or grinding rocks, where the Kumeyaay ground acorns into flour. Lake Murray, a reservoir with recreational opportunities is a part of Mission Trails Park and there is one campground near the Old Mission Dam area.. The visitor center, open daily, is architecturally outstanding, and worth a visit for the dramatic views. Guided hikes and interpretive programs are offered regularly.
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- Recommended 2010