SD - Hike - Mission Trails Regional Park Ethnobotany Hike

  • Sat, May 21, 2022
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • MTRP Visitor Center

Nature Walk: Native Plants and Native Peoples of Mission Trails

Join us for a fascinating walk through the heart of Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) and learn about how indigenous peoples have long used many of the familiar native plants of the area for food, medicine, construction materials, tools and ceremony. This is an easy 2 mile walk with pauses along the way to talk about different plants, animals and local history. The trip is an open invite to members or non-members and does not require an RSVP. Please be sure to mask-up when appropriate and social distance when needed, which is very easy. 

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Details: We will meet at the MTRP Visitor Center where we will see examples of the many animals and other critters that inhabit the area and also learn about how Kumeyaay territory extends from the coasts to the mountains and deserts. From there we will walk down the Riverside Grinding Site Trail, with stops all along the way to talk about native vegetation. The trail leads to one of the archaeological sites in the park: bedrock mortars and grinding slicks used by the Kumeyaay Indians for food preparation. 

From there we will head to the Visitor Center Loop Trail, which will take us through coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and riparian woodland habitats, where we will learn more about how the plants in these areas have been used in daily life as well as in stories and other aspects of native cosmology. Our guide, GO member Mike Wilken, is an anthropologist, naturalist and author of the book Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias. 

Host: Mike Wilken

Trails: Meet at Visitor Center, from there walk to Riverside Grinding Site Trail and Visitor Center Loop Trail

Length: ~2 miles 

Difficulty: EASY

Elevation Gain: ~175 feet 

RSVP: Not necessary

Meeting Location: bv Google Map:

1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119

Meeting Date & TimeSaturday, May 21 @ 9:00am 

ParkingLimited parking is available at the parking area by the MTRP Visitor Center. See the google pin meeting spot. Ample parking is also available at overflow parking area at Mission Gorge and Jackson, however it is about a 20 minute walk to the Visitor Center. 

Cost: There is no fee for parking or entry to the park. 

Time CommitmentPlan for approx 2-3 hours 

Dogs: Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Lots of foxtails and bees right now.

Trail Details: The first part of the trail goes gently down from the Visitor Center to the grinding rock area by the creek. From there we return to the Visitor Center loop; here is more detailed info:

Note: These do not depict the exact route we will be taking, but they provide valuable information.

What to Bring:

  • Food

  • Ten Essentials

  • Phone/camera 

  • Warm/cool weather clothing

  • Any prescription or other needed medications

  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunblock, lip block)

Cell Phone Service: No reception issues anticipated.

Health Problems/Allergies: It is the responsibility of participants to carry on their person a record of significant allergies, medications and medical history in the event of a medical emergency. Discuss any medical concerns with a trip leader if you wish. Bees have been reported in the area. 

Contact/Question: If you have any questions not addressed by the information above or on our registration page, please feel free to contact the trip leaders: Mike Wilken (

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