Mission Trails Master Plan Update

Current Trail Map for Mission Trails Regional Park  *please note that trails north of the 52 freeway are not authorized

The City of San Diego Planning Department, Park Planning Section, initiated a formal Master Plan Update (MPU) process for Mission Trail Regional Park (MTRP) in the winter of 2010. The MTRP MPU process included a series of public workshops, held in the spring of 2011, to engage local stakeholders and the interested public in the identification and refinement of future development options for MTRP. SDMBA has been closely involved in giving input on trail alignments for several years. There are up to 20 miles of new trail laid out in the MPU to create better connectivity and a more sustainable trail system.

As part of the MPU process, a Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) has also been prepared. The NRMP, a requirement of the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), has been developed concurrently with the MPU to ensure that protection and management concerns for both environmental and cultural resources have been fully assessed and integrated into the MPU.

A Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) has also been prepared as a part of this effort to ensure compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for all proposed facilities and management activities planned as part of both the MPU and NRMP.

The Mission Trails Regional Park Citizens’ Advisory Committee and Task Force, of which Kevin Loomis (SDMBA president) is a sitting member, approved the MPU at their public meeting on March 7, 2017. The MPU will next go to the Task Force and the San Diego City Council for Approval soon.  The approval of the MPU has been delayed for almost a year because certain environmental agencies want clarification on certain details.  While the approval of this plan does not make the new trails shovel ready, it is a major step is making Mission Trails Regional Park a better place to ride bikes, hike and experience nature.

2019 Update:  The MPU was approved by the City of San Diego Planning Commission on March 4, 2019 and by the Environment Committee on April 18, 2019 and by the City Council on May 21, 2019.  The Plan needs to be signed by the Mayor of San Diego and then will continue on to the County Board of Supervisors for approval of the portions of the plan that fall under joint management (Cowles Mountain).  

2020 Update: 
Kevin Loomis, President of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association ,was appointed to the CAC for the multi-use seat. In addition, Kevin sits on the trails subcommittee which is responsible for what trail projects are prioritized within the Master Plan Update (MPU). Due to this, the East Elliot loop trails are being advanced as one of the first projects to be implemented. In addition, the city has made strong progress regarding finalizing the southern leg of the Stowe Trail!  This new access will add some distance to the current traill starting from Mast Blvd in Santee. While a free MCAS Miramar Stowe permit is required, this trail connects to multiple trail networks to the North that can eventually get you all the way to Black Mountain and Penasquitos areas. 

Spring 2021 Update: 

East Elliott is an area of land in Santee north of the 52 freeway.  The City of San Diego has recently acquired land area which will become part of Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP). There is a proposed, robust trail system within East Elliott as seen in the approved Mission Trails Regional Park Master Plan Update.  (Refer to page map on page 3.86 of the MPU).  This trail system will link Oak Canyon to Spring Canyon and Spring Canyon to the Stowe trail. Please know we are years away from any trail being built. 

The first step was getting the Master Plan Update approved by the San Diego City Council, which happened unanimously June of 2019. Before COVID, the MTRP Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) created a planning subcommittee.  Kevin Loomis, Vice President of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association sits on this committee. The proposed East Elliot trails plan was selected in early 2020 by the CAC as one of the implementation priorities of the Master Plan Update.  Due to Covid, CAC and other planning meetings for the park were delayed.  Fortunately, meetings have resumed and the process has restarted. Getting these parcels acquired along with the needed environmental permits are a priority for the City. 

Currently, while there are social trails east of the 52, none of which are sanctioned. Several sections of these trails cross over private property. The San Diego Mountain Biking Association continues to advise that no trail users should be accessing the trails north of the 52 freeway. 

There is also positive news for connections near the new Weston community (formally known as Castle Rock) off Mast Boulevard across from West Hills High School.  The city is close to finalizing their environmental approval linking this community north to the Stowe Trail. Once complete, there will be two southern points of access to the Stowe Trail.  Please remember, to access the Stowe Trail, you must obtain a free annual permit from MCAS Miramar. For more information on the Stowe Trail and how to obtain a permit, click here.  

The San Diego Mountain Biking Association continues to work with the city, county and many other groups to bring to fruition the 20+ miles of new trail within the MTRP Master Plan Update.  Like everything in San Diego, it’s a long process but we remain steadfast and will see this through.

The public drafts of the MTRP MPU, NRMP and Community Plan Technical Amendments are provided below for your information.

Mission Trails Regional Park Master Plan webpage with links to documents