San Diego River once flowed beside Old Town.

San Diego history buffs know that the San Diego River, where it approaches the Pacific Ocean, is not located where it flowed originally.

A cobblestone filled channel in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a visual reminder that the river once flowed directly next to our city’s birthplace.

In 1853, to prevent flooding in Old Town and the build-up of sediment in San Diego Bay, the Derby Dike was built, diverting the river into False Bay–today’s Mission Bay.

A sign by a footbridge over the modest cobblestone channel shows where the San Diego River was originally located in relation to the park and nearby Taylor Street. You can find this sign in the beautiful outdoor Iipay – Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok Land of the First People, at the northwest corner of the State Park.

Long before the arrival of explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542, and the establishment of the nearby Spanish Presidio in 1769, the Native American Kumeyaay lived here on the banks of the life-sustaining river in a village called Kosa’aay. They called the river ha wenow.

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Beautiful art coming to SDSU Mission Valley!

Another very cool sight on the San Diego River!

I learned something exciting yesterday!

Nine works of art by renowned sculptor James Hubbell are coming to SDSU Mission Valley!

James Hubbell’s architect son Drew and landscape designer Glen Schmidt briefly described the public art project, as they spoke during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House.

A two mile looping trail is to be created at the new SDSU Mission Valley River Park. Every quarter mile, an artistic medallion, fashioned by James Hubbell and Emilie Ledieu (artist in residence at Hubbell’s Ilan-Lael Foundation) will mark the distance.

I also learned some of these creative trail markers will be installed in time for the new Aztec Stadium’s first game in September!

Over the years, I’ve heard many people describe James Hubbell as a true San Diego treasure. If you’ve seen his work, you might agree. His organic, award-winning mosaics and sculptures can be found all over the city, and beyond.

Here is his website.

I’ve photographed many of his works over the years. You can find those past blog posts by clicking here.

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

Join the San Diego River March in Mission Valley!

A beautiful morning photo of the San Diego River taken from Mission Center Road. This spot often floods and traffic must be diverted.

Would you like to help clean up the San Diego River? There’s a volunteer event coming up that might interest you!

I was in Mission Valley this morning when I saw a poster promoting the First Annual San Diego River March. This coffee, walk and cleanup is being put on by the Ecological Servants Project, a newly formed organization based in El Cajon.

The founder of the Ecological Servants Project writes in a newsletter how his difficult life was transformed, in part by an encounter with nature’s boundless beauty. He came to understand that life itself is beautiful.

I do know the San Diego River could use many helping hands.

The date for the volunteer cleanup is Friday, March 18, 2022.

You can find all of the details at their website here!

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

Winter beauty by the San Diego River.

Please enjoy these photographs of winter beauty by the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

I framed this natural beauty during several January morning walks. Some photos were taken from the pedestrian bridge that spans the river by the Fashion Valley Transit Center; others near Mission Center Road.

Reflections created magic. White clouds in the sky floated on water. Trees were turned upside down.

Branches, leaves, river and sky danced together mysteriously.

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

Leaves begin turning by the river.

Today is the first day of Autumn. The days are becoming noticeably shorter.

A few leaves down by the San Diego River have already begun to turn. Even through the weather has been hot due to our current Santa Ana conditions, the trees know summer is over.

I took a couple photos of Fremont cottonwood leaves changing their color in Mission Valley this morning. Some yellow has begun showing in all the green.

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

Ghostly branches of a cottonwood in spring.

In late spring and early summer the branches of a cottonwood tree can become very ghostly!

I walked under a Fremont cottonwood by the San Diego River this morning. My eyes were intrigued by the windblown white “cotton” that had collected on its own gray limbs and branches.

Check out the upcoming photos. Those drooping white puffs that resemble cotton candy are actually a fruit called achene. Seeds are dispersed by the wind.

I’m no botanist, so I don’t pretend to understand much about it.

I do know, however, that these seeds can plant themselves in a fertile imagination. The cottonwood’s fuzzed branches appear ethereal, like phantom forms from some unearthly world…

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

Bright yellow bursts of evening primrose!

This morning by the San Diego River I saw huge bursts of yellow flowers. It’s late spring–that time of year when Hooker’s evening primrose blooms!

Enjoy some photos!

(If you’re curious about that little red structure in the last two photographs, it’s the USGS stream gaging station at Fashion Valley. It contrasts nicely with the reddish stems and bright yellows!)

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

Spring sunflowers by the San Diego River.

Large patches of bright yellow sunflowers can now be enjoyed along the San Diego River!

It’s springtime!

The native Bush Sunflower (also known as California brittlebush or Encelia californica) grows throughout San Diego’s coastal sage scrub habitat, and can be seen almost anywhere you go–on hillsides, in canyons, by sidewalks–at least where they haven’t been crowded out by invasive crown daisies.

Fortunately, the banks of the San Diego River support thriving native vegetation, and patches of California bush sunflowers are numerous.

I walked along a short segment of the San Diego River Trail in Mission Valley today and captured these photographs.

The newly opened T & C Neighborhood Park adjacent to the Town and Country resort was carefully planted with native vegetation, and I found many bush sunflowers blooming along its pathways!

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

Nature’s beauty on a west Santee walk.

I took the following photographs today during a long looping walk around the west half of Santee.

From the Santee Trolley Square transit station I headed north up Cuyamaca Street, then west along Mast Boulevard to the East Fortuna Staging Area at Mission Trails Regional Park. After taking a short hike in the park, I headed south down West Hills Parkway and back east to the trolley station via Mission Gorge Road.

During the walk through Santee I snapped these photographs. Much of the walk was past homes, schools and businesses, but there were also these glimpses of natural beauty. (Additional photos that I’ll post in the next day or two include my short Mission Trails hike, an unusual historical monument, and very unique public artwork.)

The following three photos were taken as I walked down Mast Boulevard over Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. Far below, in the middle of Lake 2, two white pelicans were standing on a rock. I also saw dozens of swallows flying out from beneath the bridge, but the tiny birds darted about so swiftly I was unable to capture a good photograph of them. You can see one swallow zipping by in this first photo…

As I walked down Mast Boulevard under State Route 52, I saw an indication that I had almost reached Mission Trails Regional Park.

Then I headed into the East Fortuna Staging Area. From the entrance driveway and parking lot I took photographs of the mountains beyond trees lining the San Diego River, and some sycamore leaves.

Walking south down West Hills Parkway took me to the place where State Route 52 passes over the San Diego River…

Finally, where State Route 125 meets Mission Gorge Road, I was surprised to find a beautiful golden patch of California’s State Flower: the California poppy.

(Incidentally, last Tuesday, April 6 was officially California Poppy Day!)

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

Color lingers by the river after sunset.

One more blog post this evening, then I’ll give it a rest.

These photographs were taken in Mission Valley by the San Diego River right after sunset. Pinks, blues and oranges lingered in sky and water…

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