Features: Birding — Wildflowers — Wildlife
The West Loop is one of three loops through San Dieguito Lagoon, a coastal wetlands preserve. This area is more a win for wildlife than running, as the trails are plagued by I-5 freeway noise and lackluster views. Even photographers, with their choice of view and ability to hide the undesirable just outside of the frame, will have a difficult time avoiding hilltop development, power lines, and the freeway, not to mention a dumpster just north of the loop. But during the spring when the ponds are full of water and the mustard is in bloom, this becomes a 2-star trail, and is worth a visit if you live nearby. Birders will consider it at least 2-stars all year due to a large variety of visiting birds that the land manager has been tallying month by month
This lagoon is part of a bigger project to create an open space along the San Dieguito River Valley with ambitions to connect over 70 miles of trail from the lagoon to Volcan Mountain. The lagoon restoration itself was partly funded by Southern California Edison as part of a settlement to offset the adverse impact on marine life from the water-cooling system for the San Onofre Nuclear Plant along the coast.