Crestridge Ecological Reserve
The Crestridge Ecological Reserve, managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is approximately a 2,800-acre property that preserves the north-south linkage connecting the Lakeside Ecological Reserve to San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. The multi-use trails in the area are a combination of intermediate singletrack and doubletrack dirt roads. This is one of the few properties managed by CDFW which allows mountain biking.
Expect other trail users in the area and, as always, bring a bell and your best trail courtesy!
The Crestridge property was once part of a Mexican land grant granted to the Pedrorena family in 1845. The family built houses and corrals for their stock and harvested large crops from the land.
In the 1960s, the area that is now the annual grassland north of the oak grove on the reserve was cleared, fences were erected, and the area was used to raise quarter horses.
In the 1990s, a plan was approved for Gatlin Development to build homes on about 450 acres and to designate about 1,500 acres as open space. The citizens of Crest advocated the conservation of the property as open space and incorporation into the Multiple Species Conservation Program preserve system.
Gatlin established a conservation bank on approximately 1,000 acres, with the potential to double the acreage. At the urging of environmental groups and the Department, The Nature Conservancy purchased the entire property, which was then purchased by the Wildlife Conservation Board. The property was designated as an ecological reserve by the Fish and Game Commission in 2000.
Property acquisition continues to the present and has been accomplished through a donation of a 260-acre portion by the County Water Authority; and outright acquisition with Habitat Conservation Funds (Proposition 117) by the Wildlife Conservation Board.
- Primary Trail Type: Cross-Country
- E-Bikes Allowed: NO
- Suggested Route: Crestridge Singletrack Buffet - 17 miles, 3344 feet of elevation gain
- Land Status: State Managed
- Land Manager: CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
- CDFW Crestridge Webpage
- Crestridge Trail Map
- CDFW South Coast Region Map