San Diego is a city in the south of California and located in a desert-like area but on the Pacific ocean shore. Coastal sage scrub is one of the most common plants here. The city with it’s more than a million people is streaked with canyons which are very often parks and natural areas. I hiked once in the Torrey Pines State Reserve north of the city. This time I explored the visitor center of the Tecolote Canyon Nature Park.
Originally in this area there lived the Kumeyaay Indians before the Europeans came and they found food and shelter here in the Tecolote Canyon. Since 1872 there was living one of the first settlers right in this canyon. Since 1978 the land is owned by the city and now a Natural Park of which City Park Rangers take care.
The name Tecolote comes from the middle and south American Spanish word for a small owl. The canyon has nearly 10.5 km/6.5 miles of hiking trails. Classes, workshops or special events are possible here.
The visitor center gives a wonderful overview on this big, wild area. It offers educational AND recreational opportunities for children and adults. The visitor center shows a map of the canyon, there are good explanations about the flora and fauna and there are also some snakes in terrariums which are interesting to see. It shows as well some objects of the original human inhabitants and their life before the European settlers arrived.
When reading of the work they do I was astonished that they actually go around in the canyon to see if there are plants growing that are not natural in this environment. They pull them out then. Very interesting, indeed. They offer to go around and explain the nature to children which I think is very important. They are also active in promoting to preserve the integrity of the canyon and the Tecolote Creek (to keep it free from pollution).
I visited the center around noon. It was sunny and warm, ideal for hiking but I had no time for an extended canyon inspection. The center itself is nice and has a lot of information. Right behind the building there is a kind of bigger closed area where many different shrubs, trees and flowers are explained. We had a kind of little guided tour talking to a Park Ranger and some people working in the visitor center. I hope one day I can go and hike also some trails, it looks very good to me.
Tecolote Canyon, California/USA: