Mother Miguel/Rock House Realignment/Rehab


The Mother Miguel Trail (also known as Rock House) is located on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern San Diego County, California. Walking to the top of Mother Miguel Mountain has become a favorite past time for families in the South Bay. Mountain bikers have used the switchback route for many years. With no signage to guide trail users and a user-created trail that is difficult to follow, walkers proceed directly up the fall line of the mountain’s steep slope (an average grade of 29%). The result has been severe impacts to vegetation, an ever widening pathway, erosion, and habitat loss.

Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS or Refuge System), the Refuge protects a variety of native upland and wetland habitats, and plays a critical role in the regional effort to maintain the high biological diversity of southwestern San Diego County. The San Diego NWR was established to contribute to the recovery of endangered, threatened, and rare species; to support the native biodiversity of the southwestern San Diego Region by contributing to the development of a regional preserve under the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP); and to provide opportunities for compatible wildlife-dependent recreation. More than 16 species currently listed as threatened or endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act and/or the California Endangered Species Act are either known to occur on the Refuge or have occurred here within the last 20 years. Many other species of concern, including at least 35 species covered by the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP (City of San Diego 1998a) have also been documented on the Refuge. The Refuge received a SANDAG Environmental Mitigation Program grant with the project goal of protecting sensitive species and critical habitat on the southwestern slope of Mother Miguel Mountain, while managing public access in a manner that will create within those who visit the site an awareness and appreciation for the need to respect the habitats and species present on the Refuge. SDMBA is an officially listed partner on this grant and continues to help the Refuge with trail alignments and other technical assistance. The project objectives include creating a sustainable trail alignment that addresses the public’s desire to reach the top of the mountain, while minimizing impacts to surrounding habitat and species.

Winter 2019:  After numerous work days in early 2019, the Rock House trail is open.  All trail users are requested to stay on the switchback alignment which will allow the restoration area (the "scar") to heal.  New signage, guiding fencing, and interpretive signage has been installed by USFW.  SDMBA will continue to work with USFW to provide volunteer assistance for the refuge on various projects.  

Read more about this project from USFW...