Saturday Drive – Eagles and Deep Ravines in North County Inland

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Are you looking for something to do on Saturdays to take advantage of the San Diego ocean, mountains, and desert?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. In an occasional series, I’ll recommend some amazing things I’ve experienced in my travels through San Diego. We are lucky to live in a place where there is so much to do. I’ll keep my introductions short and sweet so you can spend less time reading and more time experiencing the wonders of our area.

My first recommendation is to take advantage of a great activity that is only offered during the months of January and February. I included it as part of a Saturday drive I took last year through the hills out to Ramona.

I started off my morning by exiting the I-15 at Scripps-Poway Parkway and traveling east through the rolling hills out to State Route 67. On a Saturday morning, there is very little traffic, allowing you to enjoy the surrounding beauty of nature.

After, turning left (north) on SR-67, I continued to the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona. During the months of January and February, they open up the facility to the public and offer a free morning program that starts at 9AM. The Wildlife Research Institute studies local San Diego raptors, including a variety of hawks, peregrines, and eagles. (Did you know about 46 pairs of Golden Eagles and 30 pairs of Prairie Falcons live in the San Diego mountains?)

This one-of-a-kind outdoor demonstration allows you to see up close a variety of raptor birds the Institute tracks in the wild. The birds used for the demonstration are not part of a zoo environment but rather wild birds that are temporarily captured for tracking and research purposes. You can read more about what to expect at their demonstration on my San Diego Travel Guide.

You’ll probably be finished with your visit at about 11:30. From here, head back out to SR-67 and continue east through Ramona until you reach State Route 78. Take a left on SR-78 and you’ll pass through a semi-rural residential area before you enter an area I never knew existed in San Diego County. I felt like I had been transported up to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon or out to the Swiss Alps overlooking a ravine in Switzerland.

You’ll drive a few miles through hairpin curves along the edge mountains, overlooking a ravine. This is a perfect time of year to enjoy the lush mountain-sides, covered in lush green vegetation from the recent rains.

Once you make your way through the hairpin turns, you’ll drop into the San Pasqual Valley, where you can visit the San Diego Archaeological Center, San Pasqual State Historic Park, San Diego Zoological Society’s Wild Animal Park, and the award-winning Orfila Winery. After passing these attractions, you will only be a few miles away from highway I-15.

I hope you’ll try out this drive in February and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

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