Recently I hiked portions of the Coast to Crest Trail in the San Pasqual Valley southeast of Escondido. One 10-mile long trail section starts just off Interstate 15 at the northeast corner of Lake Hodges near Kit Carson Park and ends at the intersection of State Route 78 and Bandy Canyon Road not too far east of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
|A) Ysabel Creek Rd Staging Area. B) Old Coach Trail Parking Lot.|
Driving directions to Old Coach Trail Parking Lot from Hwy 78 and Interstate 15 intersection in Escondido: south on I-15 for 5.9 miles, exit W Bernardo Dr/Pomerado Rd, Right on Pomerado Rd 0.4 miles, left on Highland Valley Rd 2.4 miles to Trailhead parking.
Driving directions to Ysabel Creek Road Staging Area from Old Coach Trail Parking Lot: north on Highland Valley Rd 1.7 miles, left on Bandy Canyon Rd 1.7 miles to Ysabel Creek Rd, left on Ysabel Creek Rd and immediately right into parking area.
|Trail sign at Ysabel Creek Road Staging Area.|
|View east at start of trail at Ysabel Creek Road.|
|View south at start of trail at Ysabel Creek Road.|
|View north at start of trail at Ysabel Creek Road.|
These trails aren't birded very often, mostly the spring and winter. (eBird checklist here)
You may see or hear Bell's Vireos, April-June, though I seem to be the only one to have recorded them. Cattle Egrets fly up and down the valley and visit the dairy farms (they nest at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park). Watch for the rare Zone-tailed Hawk, most of which are spotted in winter at the Wild Animal Park across the valley. Cactus Wrens are resident in the thicker prickly pear patches on the drier edges of the valley. You might hear Yellow-breasted Chats in late spring and summer. Blue Grosbeaks have been reported, but not frequently. They may arrive in later spring when there are fewer birding visitors.
|Prickly pear cactus just east of Ysabel Creek Road parking area.|