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Local Hikes: Spring Anew at Old Mission Dam

Wildflowers are among the treasures on the hike around the old dam at Mission Trails.

The are rarely more evident around Santee than during a walk by the Old Mission Dam. Hundreds of tiny flowers have cropped up from the rains and cool breezes.

Baby squirrels munch the tall grasses. They play hide-and-seek among the bushes when people get too close. Otherwise, they frolic and scamper along with the .  

The Old Mission Dam trail starts at the past the main parking area, along Father Junipero Serra Trail, about eight tenths of a mile west of Mission Gorge Road. Since the gated entry is shut on both ends of the trail between sunset and sunrise, plan the hike for during daylight hours.

Built between 1807 and 1816, the dam was considered a major engineering feat for its time. The dam carried water to the Mission de Alcala at the east end of Mission Valley.

Today, the dam is a source of pure enjoyment as the water rushes over the dam and, further down, the San Diego River. The abundant rains this year make the river walk a beautiful thing to behold.

From the parking area, walk downstream on a foot trail past the old dam. You might see a . Tiny yellow, pink and purple flowers are treasures to look for.

At the iron footbridge, walk across the roiling waters of the river and you’ll see bright yellow flowers jubilating under the sun in open fields before the trail narrows in front of the rocky face of the gorge.

Join me next time, we'll be taking a stroll through Oak Canyon.    

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