Saturday, April 4, 2015

Mission Trails and Coronado Island



We decided to do a little exploring around the San Diego area before the busy Easter weekend. Needing to return something at REI, I noticed that Mission Hills Regional Park wasn’t too far from there and looked like a good place for a hike. We stopped in the visitor center for a trail map and talked with a volunteer who showed us his favorite loop hike to the Fortuna Saddle. His directions were a bit confusing but we had a map, and he said the trails were all marked so we headed off. We knew we were in trouble when we missed the trail and had to back track in the first ten minutes, but we finally found it and headed for the San Diego River Crossing.


As we stopped to look at a trail sign, I noticed some movement in front of us. This is the Southern Pacific rattlesnake, which we had just read about in the visitor center. It was about three feet long, and had no interest in us at all, just slowly crossed the trail. I’m glad we rarely see snakes on our hikes!



We made it across the river and immediately began a good climb up a service road until we came to a turn-off for the trail we wanted to take. There was supposed to be a picnic area with some tables, where we intended to stop and eat lunch, but somehow we took a wrong turn and never found it. We ended up using a big rock for our picnic table while studying the map.



We never did make it to the saddle, but ended up on a ridge where we ran into a guy who gave us directions back to the parking lot. In spite of not being sure where we were we ended up doing a pleasant six mile hike. After a couple weeks in the city it was nice to get out in what felt like the middle of nowhere.


We saw plenty of lizards but no more snakes, and lots of Orange Tip butterflies. And on the way home we had to sample another brewery, Ballast Point. We really liked the limited release Oompa Lumpus Milk Stout, but the other beers were just okay.


Yesterday we crossed the bridge to Coronado Island to see how the other half lives. Although technically not an island, this is an upscale resort community on the beach and home to the famous Hotel Del Coronado, or “The Del”. We found a parking space and took off by foot down Orange Avenue to the hotel.

It is a lovely community with flowers blooming everywhere.

San Diego, CA, Mission Bay RV Park1

And the hotel isn’t too bad, either. Besides the original Victorian hotel, they’ve added a beach-front tower, villas, and cottages. It’s so big it’s impossible to get it all in one photo.






After wandering through the hotel we walked along the beach trail, then around the yacht club area and back to the car. We walked over four miles, a nice little city hike for a change of pace.





Once back at the car we decided to drive down the Silver Strand, home of a state park and naval base where the Navy Seals train. Traffic was horrible on the drive back to Mission Bay but luckily we were heading north on I-5, since there was an accident in the southbound lanes that had traffic backed up for miles. We really like San Diego but doubt we’ll ever come back. There are just too many people and too many cars, although it’s possible to find some quiet places.



  1. What a beautiful hotel. I really enjoyed the photos of the flowers and your hike, minus the snake. Safe travels!

  2. As much as you have loved this place so far, the fact that you doubt you'll ever come back means you will not be settling down here, which is good news for those of us who want you to keep on traveling so we can glom on. ;-) Exceptionally beautiful photos...

  3. SoCal is too crowded, property taxes are ridiculous, the whole state is running out of both money and water, commuting is a stress test… but it used to be nice :). Still photogenic tho. Maybe if you trade your rv for a sailboat… not much traffic out in the ocean and you can pull into ports up and down the coast, then island hop the Caribbean. Then Suzanne and the rest of us can glom on as deck hands. Get a big boat :)

  4. I think I'd be headed in another direction from the snake and no time for a photo.

  5. Looks like a great hike even though difficult to follow. I would like to try it. Your pictures are terrific. Great shot of that rattle. I've always wanted to see the Hotel Del Coronado but doubt I could take San Diego having an allergy to cities as I do. So thanks so much for showing me how amazing it is.

  6. You'd never know you were staying in a city:) It is good to get away though. Coronado is such a neat community. Nice to see someone is building a sand castle. There was one there during our two visits that someone built for the holidays. Not sure if you realize what your final photo is. Those dunes in your photo spell Coronado and can be seen from the air as you fly in to San Diego. Our son, the pilot, shows us on Google maps. It is very cool.

    1. How cool! Did not know that about the dunes. Thanks!

  7. I am amazed at how green Mission Trails still looks despite all the early heat the city has had.

    Yep, every time we go to SD I am so done with the crowds by the time we have to leave!

    I prefer staying at Santee Lakes more than Mission Bay because it is more rural feeling and has trails right behind the park. It gets a lot hotter in Santee though, and the Tengo internet is poor and Verizon signal is poor. But the ambiance is way better than MB.

    1. Yes, for a place to camp we would have liked Santee Lakes better, but then it would mean even more driving to go anywhere in SD. Mission Bay has zero ambience but we love that we can just hop on our bikes and ride from here, and we're hoping after Easter the crowds will thin out a bit. This has taught us that we have no desire to ever live in a big city!

  8. Tis the season for snakes.

    The Del is gorgeous. What a beautiful day.

  9. Great snake pic - they're usually just minding their own business :-) Living in SoCal has acclimated us to the city busy-ness, but we'll be glad to leave it all behind. Love the sand castle.

  10. If you keep hitting all those breweries you'll have no reason to go back. But does look like a nice trail, if it is a trail. Let me know when you get that big boat.

  11. It's been interesting to read your past few posts as we are considering a visit to San Diego next winter. Love the idea of being able to bike to the breweries, but yeah the traffic would get old really fast. We've definitely learned that we are small-town people! Still I think we'll have to at least check it out for a week or two.

    1. Definitely worth checking out San Diego. It's really a nice city but way too many people! And you don't want to be here during spring break like we did. Of course living on the beach you guys know all about that!

  12. I was just in San Diego - we did the Old Town Trolley Tour, my third time, and went all around Balboa Park, lots of places, including Coronado. I read that it's a "tied island." Wikipedia says, "Coronado is a 'tied' island, connected by a tombolo." The tombolo is the Silver Strand. Interesting. I've never heard of a tied island or a tombolo. I always thought it WAS an island. You've really covered a lot of ground so far. It would have been funny if we saw you walking by. Enjoy your last week there. :) And yes, the traffic is awful.