Before Spanish settlers arrived in the region, the area was inhabited by Native Americans, now called the Kumeyaay. During the Spanish period of California, the park land was originally operated as a “Rancheria” by the padres of the San Diego Mission for the grazing of cattle. Ten years after Mexico gained its independence from Spain, a man named Librado Silva was given a provisional land grant for Rancho San Dieguito and constructed the first adobe in the area in 1831.
Juan Maria Osuna was later granted the land and raised horses and cattle. In the nearby community, his original adobe has been restored and is part of the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. In 1954, 100 acres of hilltop and canyon land covered in chaparral was donated to the County of San Diego from the Rancho Santa Fe Irrigation District. This land was developed into the park we have today. The upper park was opened in 1965, and the lower park was opened in 1977.
Personal Experience: I'm actually pretty floored I had never explored this park before! Before this, Felicita Park was always my go to park for many hours of exploration and picnics. This is not your average park in San Diego that's for sure! It's HUGE and filled with so much variety and beauty! You could definitely spend many hours exploring. There's suspension bridges and lookout points, a butterfly garden, vast open space for picnics and SO much more!
There are multiple suspension bridges here:
And also lookout points!
Lemonade berries grow in abundance here!
And a beautiful butterfly garden that was bursting with flowers even in late October!