Crestridge Ecological Reserve
1175 Horsemill Rd.
El Cajon, CA 92021
Phone: (858) 467-4201.
Hike: There are many different trails you can take Level: Each trail varies in level of difficulty
Dog-Friendly: Yes Kid-Friendly: Yes
Crestridge Ecological Reserve contains 2600 acres of riding trails, unique architecture by San Diego’s most famous archtitect James Hubbel, ancient history dating back thousands of years and many fun, tiny details scattered throughout. Keep your eyes peeled!
This area was once a Kumeyaay Indian village, containing three prehistoric archaeological sites. We found mortars and metates in a few of the boulders during our exploration. These were once used to grind acorns into flour!
In 1845, Pio Pico, the Mexican governor of California, granted 48,800 acres to Maria Antonia Estudillo de Pedrorena. It was the third-largest land grant in San Diego County. The land was known as El Cajon de San Diego, “the box,” which referred to a pass between two hills. It ultimately became El Cajon, Lakeside, Santee, Bostonia and Flinn Springs.
The reserve was a cattle ranch in the early 20th century. The land was bought just before World War II by water and land developer Ed Fletcher. In 1990, it was set aside as open space for a 92-home project by Gatlin Development. In 1999, The Nature Conservancy purchased the property, and today it is overseen by the state Department of Fish and Game.
According to the state Department of Fish & Game, Crestridge is home to the largest known population of Lakeside ceanothus, a rare wild lilac, and provides important habitat for the endangered California gnatcatcher and many native butterflies.
Personal Experience: Hobbit territory for sure. 😛 Walk around and you will see what I’m talking about! There is something very special about this area. Just don’t go in the hot summer because you probably won’t be able to appreciate all the beauty if you’re dying of heat exhaustion. I will explore even further another day because I am definitely intrigued and saw other spots that caught my eye.
We found a (swallow?) nest with two deceased baby birds. This completely breaks my heart because I imagine they starved to death. Their mother probably was killed somehow and the poor babies were unable to feed themselves. Here they lay completely preserved in such a comfy position, desperately waiting for mommy to come home. Heartbroken.There are a lot of ruins here. I was told some are from an old schoohouse:We found a geo cache here by sheer luck! My friend happened to lift a wooden post and there it was! Cool!