Stop by the Visitor’s Center for a guided tour
Tijuana Reserve offers a variety of guided tours throughout the Estuary. Docents provide educational tours to discover the native plants of the reserve. These tours are free and meet on the second and fourth Saturday of every month.
Guided bird tours are also available at the estuary along the North McCoy Trail. This trail is 1/3 of a mile and the perfect place to spot the endangered Light-Footed Clapper Rail.
Informed docents lead the free tour and binoculars are provided. This tour is great for all ages.
What is an Estuary?
An estuary is a coastal wetland where freshwater that flows from rivers and streams mixes with the saltwater from the ocean. Or more simply put, an estuary is where the river meets the sea.
The Junior Rangers program at the reserves offers kids ages 7-12 a chance to learn about the cultural heritage of the park. This free program offers hands-on classes taught by the park’s experts. Topics change weekly to give kids a chance to learn something new each visit.
Come Join an Event at Tijuana Reserve
Throughout the year, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is home to many festivals and special events for families to enjoy.
In April, the park hosts the City Nature Challenge. This challenge encourages participants to observe the wildlife of the park and keep track of all the plants and animals they see to rack up points.
In early May, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated in appreciation of all the migratory birds and their journeys. Learn more about these amazing birds through nature walks, crafts and special presentations.
September is an important time for the reserve. On the third Saturday, Coastal Cleanup Day is held. This event is the largest beach and waterway cleanup program with data collection in the world.
This is a wonderful volunteer opportunity to help preserve Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve for years to come.
Best of the hiking trails
Tijuana Reserve is home to a variety of hiking trails that are good for all skill levels. You can also head to the Visitor’s Center to borrow a pair of binoculars to bring along. You may also like our article on the Best Hiking in San Diego!
If you are looking for a trail accessible to everyone, take the North McCoy Trail. It is a short trail that is flat and both accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
The River Mouth Trail is one of the more popular trails. Here you can follow the trail along to the river mouth where you will find a peaceful and relaxing beach. Sit back, relax and wait for the birds to arrive!
On the beach, you can see brown pelicans, curlews and least terns. Dogs can join you on this trail, but please make sure they are on a leash.
The River Mouth Trail is also popular for bike riding, so make sure to keep an eye out for cyclists.
Equestrians are Welcome!
During the summertime, Border Field State Park at the Tijuana Reserve is the perfect spot for a horseback ride. The park has four staging areas where you can start your ride.
Don’t have your own horse? No problem! Call the Visitors’ Center and get information on horse rental.