Today was a fun little adventure up to Santa Ysabel to check out the Santa Ysabel Nature Center that opened today (December 14, 2019). We had a busy morning at the shop so unfortunately, we missed the festivities of the grand opening, but it was still nice to get up there and check it out. If you are not familiar with the area this is a great addition to Can Diego’s backcountry.
The Santa Ysabel preserves consist of Santa Ysabel West and Santa Ysabel East trails which cover over 6,347 acres and include over 20 miles of trails (which are some of my favorite). The trails are open for non-motorized multi use and we see horseback riders on the West side all the time. So especially for the East side of the preserve having a nice dedicated parking lot with bathrooms and water at the bottom by highway 79 so you don’t have to actually park on the highway anymore. The parking lots speaking of are pretty nice and plentiful.
One of the upsides of this location for hiking the East preserve is that the trail has a connector from the nature center. So, you can visit and do what appears to be a nice three-and-a-half-mile loop or break out and explore the whole preserve which if you hike to the staging area at the top basically takes you to Julian. This is an excellent opportunity to earn you apple pie.
The Nature Center itself was really nice inside there is a community room for classes and events with a nice patio. The bathrooms where clean and ample so no porta johns or bushes anymore (at least down here). One of the things I’m also looking forward to is being able to get water there too which on top of regular water fountains they had the water bottle filler too, so pretty legit.
The interpretive room was really cool too. They had a bunch of examples of flora and fauna in nice displays. There were some cool interactive displays for the kids (myself included). Having this area will be a great way for locals and visitors alike to learn more about what an amazing area we live in.
Outside there was some cool landscape to include some bells which I am sure no one will get tired of people ringing them, ha-ha. While still under construction the amphitheater and playground looked like they are going to be great additions. This was a soft opening and there are a few things that are still in the works but what a great thing for us to have. If you are headed out our way an up to Julian of coming back from the desert stop by and check it out, then stop by the store and say hi!