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A creek in Hidden Forest
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Sandia Creek

Ponds, rivers and fountains… a search for water

Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Issue 16, Volume 11.

Looking for places to sit by a tranquil creek or listen to the melodic murmur of a fountain? Fallbrook has both and more! I lived in Fallbrook for four years before I discovered the Sandia Creek area, which is perfect for a walk beside still waters – except during flood times!

Hidden Forest

Unfortunately, not many of the water spots are wheelchair accessible, but two water spots can be enjoyed by anyone. The Hidden Forest near Gamini Ratnavira’s art studio at 936 South Live Oak Park Road is a hidden gem. Stand on the bridge and look either way for a view out of a travel magazine. The white boulders lining the stream are flanked by lush green ivy. A small stream meanders by. On one side, ivy vines drape from a fallen tree, creating a picturesque and comforting scene.

Village Square Fountain

In the heart of Fallbrook lies Village Square, and in that square is a large fountain. Accessible by wheelchair, its wide pond base is reminiscent of a romantic Italian movie. Children sit on the edge and look in, people toss in coins and others just enjoy the view. On hot days I’ll bet there are some who wish they could plunge in for a cooling off!

Santa Margarita River Trail

In 1996, the Fallbrook Land Conservancy (FLC) signed an agreement with the Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) that allowed trail access to 1,500 acres FPUD owns along the Santa Margarita River. One of those trails leads by one of the most beautiful rivers in the area. The Santa Margarita River Trail system is an adventure of sometimes getting wet because there are no bridges.

From Fallbrook, turn at Pico Avenue and Mission Road. Pico becomes De Luz Road. Turn right on Sandia Creek Drive and follow until you come to a large parking area on the right.

There are two trails; one begins from the parking lot and one is on the other side of Sandia Creek Road. Be cautious when crossing the road, as cars come very quickly around the turn and, because of a hill, you will be unable to see the Advertisement
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cars from a distance.

The trail across the road leads through a meadow and down to a creek area that is nice for picnicking. I have also seen fishermen in the area, so I assume it would be a good fishing spot as well. I have seen small fish and frogs in the nearby pond.

There is another trailhead on Willow Glen Road. From downtown Fallbrook take Mission Road, then turn left on Willow Glen. Take Willow Glen until it ends. There is a dirt parking area on the right.

Cross the road to the trailhead. The trail is fairly flat until you reach the river, then it is more of a climb. The river at the crossing point is a quiet place to sit and reflect.

A female homesteader named Ida Howell built her home here, possibly in the cleared area filled with tall green grass. The only evidence of a former homestead is the plaque engraved "Beloved Aunt, Ida Ellen Howell, 1863-1946."

Rock Mountain

Also off Sandia Creek Road, this trail contains rock outcroppings in the riparian area along Bryant’s Creek.

Heller’s Bend

Located along Heller’s Bend Road off South Mission, the lower half of the preserve borders Ostrich Farms Creek and is a beautiful sight with live oak trees and a nice place for a picnic.

Dinwiddie Preserve

The access to Dinwiddie Preserve is on Stage Coach Lane near the Palomares House. The trail is only a half-mile loop and there are several benches. It leads you along a small stream – Cienega Creek – and past a forest of oaks and sycamores.

Los Jilgueros

Los Jilgueros Preserve is located on Mission Road just below the Peppertree Park housing development. According to FLC information, "the name is taken from an 1889 map of Fallbrook which identifies the stream that winds through the land as ‘Arroyo de los Jilgueros.’"

This looping trail covers both ground and a boardwalk over a pond. The pond is choked with water hyacinth and has a beauty all its own. The stream is sometimes just a trickle, but it is still a soothing walk.

Find out more about the FLC trails at



Comment Profile Imagedanny larusso
Comment #1
what a beautiful place to spend an afternoon with the grandkids. simply charming!!!!!

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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