We'll be hiking on the Santa Margarita Trail along what Jerry Schad calls a "wild and scenic section of the Santa Margarita River" in Fallbrook, with an alternate return along the 500-foot trail (which runs approximately along the 500-foot contour). The total distance is about 5.5 miles, with about 400 feet of elevation change.
Leashed dogs are allowed.
A topographic map of the area, with the trails marked, has been posted at www.efgh.com/maps/santamargarita.gif. Caution: The topo was compiled when Fallbrook was somewhat less developed than it is today. Only a few of the many trails in the area have been marked.
We'll meet at the parking area on Sandia Creek Dr. next to the bridge over the Santa Margarita River (Thomas 997 G5, N 33 24.81 W 117 14.49).
SUGGESTED ROUTE FROM SAN DIEGO: Take I-15 about 45 miles north from San Diego and leave the freeway at exit 51(Mission Rd, Fallbrook). Follow Mission Road (County Highway S13) about five miles west into Fallbrook. Turn right at a traffic light onto Pico Ave., which soon becomes De Luz Road. Continue north on De Luz Road about 1.2 miles and turn right onto Sandia Creek Drive. Continue on Sandia Creek Drive another 1.2 miles to an unpaved parking area on the right side of the road just before the bridge over the Santa Margarita River.
The starting time is 11:30 AM. I will be at the parking area by 11:15, and at 11:30 we will hit the trail. We should return to the parking area between 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM. Depending on the speed of the group.
Check your favorite weather page on the Internet. (I like www.weather.com.) Wear good hiking shoes and suitable clothing and take lunch, water and sun protection. Take a camera if you wish.
RAIN? Heavy rain will cancel the hike. If there is only a little rain, we may still hike. In doubtful cases, I will wait at the trailhead. You must decide whether the weather is tolerable and take appropriate protective clothing. If anyone else shows up, we will hike.