Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tecolote Canyon: An Oasis Within Our Midst

Tecolote Canyon: An Oasis Within Our Midst

by Michelle Gregoire

An oasis of calm in the eye of our societal storm, Tecolote Canyon provides relief. The hum of traffic recedes with each step, as the senses take refuge in Nature’s tranquility. Birds sing greetings from bushes and trees. Rabbits and squirrels scamper across the trail. Bees hum about the flowers. Easy to traverse, the main trail is a leveled dirt road winding pleasantly through the park. For the more adventurous, offshoot trails lead to greater inclines and dips. Hikers, bikers, joggers, and dog walkers are welcome, but keep your furry friend on a leash—the park is a natural preserve for native flora and wildlife, so is home to all sorts of critters, including rattle snakes! The trails are well groomed, and there are a few trash bins for rubbish.

Conveniently located and easy to access, there are a number of access points, including the main entrance just off Interstate 5. Take the Sea World Drive/Tecolote Road exit, heading east and go about one mile to the end of the road. Directly ahead and next to their driveway is a sign that reads, “Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.” There is plenty of parking, just take care not to leave valuables in your car, as there are no parking lot attendants.

The Nature Center is also a great place to visit, with lots of educational resources and exhibits of canyon animal and plant life, including a host of live snakes and tarantulas! The staff is very friendly and happy to answer questions. There are regular nature walks and opportunities to volunteer. The center is located at the main entrance, at 5180 Tecolote Road, San Diego, CA 92110. This is where you’ll find restrooms and a water fountain, but access is limited to Nature Center operational hours. For further information you may call the center at (858) 581-9959 or visit http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/teclte.shtml.

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