A short nature walk along a National City wetland.

Rusty old train tracks are overgrown with wild vegetation, including many California sunflowers.
Rusty old train tracks are overgrown with wild vegetation, including many California bush sunflowers.

I made a cool discovery the other day. A little-known hiking path in San Diego’s South Bay provides a view of a beautiful natural wetland.

According to signs that I saw, the small estuary between Bay Marina Drive, Marina Way, Interstate 5 and the Sweetwater River is a protected wildlife refuge. I believe, after looking at Google Maps, that the water flows from Paradise Creek. But I’m not certain. Perhaps someone reading this knows.

Long-unused train tracks that are partially concealed by vegetation run along the edge of the wetland, and so does a narrow footpath. I didn’t see any signs naming the trail, or any that prohibited a short hike. So I walked down it a bit, enjoying the fresh air and peaceful surroundings.

Information sign near edge of estuary identifies native plants. California Buckwheat, White Sage, Southwestern Spiny Rush, and Black Sage.
Information sign near edge of estuary identifies native plants. California Buckwheat, White Sage, Southwestern Spiny Rush, and Black Sage.
View of National City wetland from observation area south of the Best Western Marina Gateway hotel parking lot.
View of National City wetland from observation area south of the Best Western Marina Gateway hotel parking lot.
Beginning down the footpath on a sunny weekend day.
Beginning down the footpath on a sunny weekend day.
Some eroded sandstone adds beauty to the scene.
Some eroded sandstone adds beauty to the scene.
Prickly pear and chaparral yucca above a green estuary.
Prickly pear and chaparral yucca above a green estuary.
Beyond the sign lies a fragile wetland where native plants and animals are protected. I saw some birds out in the wildlife refuge.
Beyond the sign lies a fragile wetland where native plants and animals are protected. I saw some birds out in the wildlife refuge.
I turned about after a short hike and headed on back to the hotel parking lot.
I turned about after a short hike and headed on back to the hotel parking lot.

UPDATE!

On a later visit I discovered additional signs beside the hotel parking lot. They contain more interesting information.

I learned this wetland is called Paradise Marsh. It’s an environmentally important tidal salt marsh that’s part of the much larger San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Water reflects bright sunlight in National City's Paradise Marsh.
Water reflects bright sunlight in National City’s Paradise Marsh.
Paradise Marsh is a small part of the 2600 acre San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Paradise Marsh is a small part of the 2600 acre San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The birds of Paradise Marsh include the Willet, Mallard, American Avocet and the Great Blue Heron.
The birds of Paradise Marsh include the Willet, Mallard, American Avocet and the Great Blue Heron.
For hundreds of years, Native American tribes such as the Kumeyaay, Iapi or Tipai made their homes around the estuaries of San Diego Bay.
For hundreds of years, Native American tribes such as the Kumeyaay, Iapi or Tipai made their homes around the estuaries of San Diego Bay.
A beautiful tidal salt marsh wetland can be viewed in National City.
A beautiful tidal salt marsh wetland can be viewed in National City.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you enjoy beautiful things? Visit my photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

10 thoughts on “A short nature walk along a National City wetland.”

  1. It does look like a cool discovery, Richard. I like following old rail tracks and it’s great to see the native vegetation taking over. Thanks for sharing it with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Richard you should head out to the Tj estuary area near the Naval Helo base. Enter the section at 5th and Iris Ave. The wildflower there are normally incredible this time of year. I’ve not been there yet but me and the wife have been trying to find the time. The bloom windows is short.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no. I was at Tecalote canyon park and there was a photo there of two rattlesnakes curled up on the trail .. Yikes! I’ve seen rattlesnakes in AZ but they were stretched out and not threatened.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.