Land of Los Jilgueros

Los Jilgueros Preserve Hike in San Diego County

It’s not often you find a 46-acre freshwater marshland gem hidden between a busy highway and a suburban neighborhood. Thank the Fallbrook Conservancy for Los Jilgueros Preserve and its tranquil 2-mile perimeter loop that’s a boon for bird enthusiasts. Start exploring from the eastern trailhead. Sycamores, oaks, bird houses, and authentic 1920s farm equipment line the wide path, which is adjacent to green grassy fields that provide a contrast to the wetland dominating the area. This park is especially rewarding for birders, who will find their first treat after just over half a mile. Here at the northernmost point of the park lies a nifty little pond that is home to a surprisingly large variety of winged specimens, including wood ducks, mallards, coots, and snowy egrets. Continue along the north fence to the Firescape Demonstration Garden, showcasing native drought-resistant plants. Ahead, next to a red-tailed hawk sculpture, you’ll find a two-way junction. Take the westernmost path for a boardwalk over the marsh.

BONUS BRUNCH: Just up the road is the 30-acre Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens, where you can enjoy brunch, numerous waterfalls, a heart-shaped lake (yes, lots of weddings here!), and beautiful garden varieties. Gardens entry is $7.50, open 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every day—call ahead in case of a special event.

Los Jilgueros Preserve is off of Mission Rd., north Fallbrook High School (Stage Coach Lane). Look for a sign and turn-in for the park on the east side of Mission Rd. To get to the gardens, continue north on Mission for a block and turn right on Grand Tradition Way. The preserve is dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Big Wave Hiking

    Pillar Point Bluff's amazing trail system is a coastal haven most popular for being the best spot to watch the famed Mavericks surf break in winter. But this place is beautiful year round for hiking.

    View
  2. Sweet and Salty

    Located on Highway 1 about 18 miles north of Jenner, Salt Point State is wild, scenic, and one of the most beautiful places to do some classic coastal camping.

    View
  3. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

    View
  4. Barnabe Bonanza

    Sure, there are higher mountains in Marin (Mount Tam) and easier ascents (Mount Burdell), but is there a more expansive North Bay view? Barnabe Peak in Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers a glorious panorama including Mount Tam, Mount Diablo, and Mount St. Helena.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Secret Stair Master!

    Step up to a wonderful 2-mile, nearly 1000-step workout in peaceful Pasadena that is part leg labor, part suburban stroll, and all serene secret.

    View
  2. Hidden Stairway in Silver Lake

    Life in Los Angeles can be vibrant in so many ways, including stairways! This hidden stairway hike in Silver Lake features colorfully artistic and historic steps via 1.5 miles, four unique staircases, and countless local food options for a bite to eat.

    View
  3. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

    View
  4. Hidden Trio

    A trio of hidden canyons is often found in more remote places, but they're also on this urban walk in the serene hills of eastside’s Mount Washington. Head here for a beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) neighborhood tour of historic homes, ample greenspace, and, yes, three hidden canyons.

    View