Monday, April 4, 2016

Sweetwater Summit Regional Park

On our return to San Diego we decided to spend a week at a new-to-us campground in San Diego's southern region: Sweetwater Summit Regional Park. Perched on a bluff with views to the Pacific Ocean on the West and the beautiful hills of Bonita to the South, we had a very nice stay at this park.

Sweetwater Summit has about 100 camp sites. About half are huge full hookup sites, some long enough to hold any size rig plus multiple vehicles. The other half of the campground has water/electric sites and many of these sites include horse corrals. All sites have excellent separation.

There are 16 miles of trails (horses welcome), a playground, splash park (summer only), nice community building with an incredible view of Sweetwater Reservoir. Fishing is available on the weekends, public golf courses are very close by. Verizon signal is excellent.

Our site, #84, was at the end of the row with fantastic views...though almost any site at this park, especially in the full hookup section, will have expansive views. Though our site overlooked highway 125 about a quarter mile away, the highway is a toll road so it is not heavily used, thus it was reasonably quiet especially at night.

The full hookup sites are spread across a hillside offering good separation and fantastic views.

Our site #84.
We had tons of space for extra vehicles on both ends of the trailer.

View of our site from the other direction.
Many sites have better separation than this.

Our patio.
The partial hookup sites with horse corrals are in the trees in the distance.

View of the hills of Bonita from our front door.

The Sweetwater River Trail passes through the campground so we walked several sections of it during our stay. Though the river is no longer much of a "river" thanks to human manipulation over the past 100+ years, the corridor it passed through is a pretty swath of east San Diego County.

We walked the Sweetwater River Trail one morning, into the hills east of the campground.

Looking back at Sweeetwater Reservoir from the Sweetwater River Trail.
The campground is located out of sight at the top left of the reservoir.

The best part of our stay was meeting up with Jessica a former roommate of Hans' from many years ago. Jessica lives nearby and we were able to meet up with her a couple of days later for a bike ride.

Otay Lakes is a pair of reservoirs located just a few miles south east of Sweetwater Summit. Known for its use by the adjacent Olympic Training Center, the reservoirs also offer fishing, picnicking and some sweet, easy trails for hiking or mountain biking. We met Jessica at the Graffiti Dam and biked trails along both the upper and lower Otay Reservoirs.

Wonderful, mostly smooth single track trails make for a fun Sunday morning ride.
Otay Reservoirs are located on the edge of the developed area of San Diego's south county.

Grassy hills give way to scrappy eucalyptus trees along the reservoirs edge.

The trail has a couple of tight spots right through the eucalyptus.

Back at our starting point at Graffiti Dam we had to ride up a short paved hill
to access the trails around Upper Otay Reservoir.

Graffiti Dam.

Trails beyond the Upper Reservoir lead into wide meadows whose hillsides are topped with multi million dollar mansions.
The white dots in this and the next photo are protection for native seedlings.
This entire valley is undergoing habitat restoration.

Hans approaches Upper Otay Reservoir.

Though this area can be quite warm in the summer, a spring bike ride is absolutely gorgeous!

We walked along the Sweetwater River Trail west of the campground a couple of times. There's plenty of variety along this trail: a couple of public golf courses, a few horse corrals, riparian sections, and urban areas. It's a great place for urban walking that feels kind of like country.

Spring bloom at its peak along Sweeetwater River Trail.

Some glorious brush stroke clouds overhead.

We enjoyed our stay at Sweetwater Summit Regional Park and will likely stay here again on our annual San Diego's good to have some variety in a place we visit often!

Next up: Back to our sweet driveway site in Poway, CA as we continue to assist our parents through some medical issues.


  1. Those easy bike trails are the kind we like nowadays! Looks like a nice park.

  2. What views! And looks like you had fantastic weather for your outdoor pursuits.

  3. Looks like a great park! Nice to have trails right out of the park:) Great biking trails. Glad you had a nice last week away:)

  4. I always like learning about 'new' and different campgrounds. This one looks wonderful!

  5. It is a beautiful park. Joe and I hiked in Sweeteater in 2015. And I love Otay Lake...we always stop there to watch the coots.

  6. Great to know about more options in the SD area - and this one is especially nice! Love the big sites and good separation. Those blooms are incredible along the trail - we're not getting much color in Northern AZ :-( Wonderful to see so much water.

  7. What a lovely spot! It's always nice to see other options for San Diego.

  8. Oh cool! Thanks so much for finding another great place to stay in San Diego -- we'll definitely be returning there to visit family. We've been really impressed with most of the Regional Parks in California. What a gorgeous sitting area you had -- and love those biking trails!

  9. Sorry to hear the river is a mere shadow of its former self. Your pictures of the Sweet Water River Trail make it look like a really lovely hike. Not sure we'll ever make it to San Diego but those bike trails look like ones we'd love to do.

  10. We stayed in Sweetwater last November, it's a lovely park and not too far out of San Diego. Even in the old section where we stayed, the sites are large and it isn't very busy. We booked but it wasn't even half full. We would come back here too.

  11. What a fantastic park. It looks wonderful, and the trails look delightful as well. I will make a note of this!

  12. Looks lovely and the perfect place to be in spring. Love those blooms!

  13. It is so great you are stopping to this new places we have not read about giving us lots of options as we navigate southern cal early next year.