Gorge(ous) Hike at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve (9 photos)

A couple more photos to sum up my impressions from the docent-led hike at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve last Sunday (previous posts: Chaparral Clematis, Santa Margarita Oaks).

This particular hike is called the “Gorge Hike” and the docents led us from the south entrance to the reserve (near Fallbrook) through an Avocado orchard into a riparian jungle along Stone Creek into rolling hills densely covered with chaparral, and ultimately into the gorge of Santa Margarita River, which is called Temecula Canyon here. I logged a total of 7 miles out and back, and a total elevation gain/loss of 1000 feet. A nice hike with a lot of natural beauty all around.

The Santa Margarita River is one of the last free flowing rivers in Southern California – but the craziest thing is that once there was a railroad right at the bottom of the canyon. In my photo of the gorge, below, the railroad tracks were on the left side. You can read some of its story here: Temecula Railroad.

Please note: the reserve is not open to the public but they organize these docent-led hikes during the cooler months of the year. If you’re interested, you can find the dates on the “Events & Activites” page of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy’s website (link opens in a new tab).

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