A few years ago while having coffee with an old friend at the Bad Ass Coffee Co. in Rancho Penasquitos I innocently asked what he thought of the museum in Penasquitos Canyon. Surprisingly he answered What Museum? Well, the following week we got our coffee to go and I drove us to and through Canyonside Park and showed him the museum buildings.
I was really surprised as my friend who lives in Rancho Penasquitos is a retired Captain from the San Diego County Sheriffs Dept. who played minor league baseball for the Cleveland Indians long before he coached kids baseball at Canyonside Park for many years… he was within shouting distance of the museum and he never knew it was there!
Fast forward to earlier this week… I’m having lunch with another old friend at the IHOP in Mira Mesa and I asked the same basic question of him. Once again… he had no clue that there was a museum in the canyon. So after lunch, we took a ride over there so he could actually see the buildings. We ran into one of the County Park Rangers and had a nice chat for perhaps 15 minutes or so.
On the way back home I asked how he liked Lake Miramar… Never been there he said! Guess where we’re going the next time we meet for lunch? He further commented that someone should be telling folks about all the attractions and activities in our area that are available at little or no cost…
I raised my hand!
So began the creation of a list of the major events and facilities located in and around Mira Mesa, Sorrento Valley, Scripps Ranch, and Rancho Penasquitos.
Places Around Mira Mesa
Let’s start by talking about that “Stealth Museum” located in Los Penasquitos Canyon. Its real name is the Rancho de los Penasquitos. It is de facto a museum as it is a complex of buildings and furnishings dating back to the middle 1800’s. The walls are adobe perhaps 18” or more thick and the beds in the Bunk House are of a size suitable for today’s Jr. High kids! The Spring House Building houses a natural spring that feeds Penasquitos Creek as it runs through the canyon. Unfortunately, it is no longer open to the public due to safety concerns. Just as well… the water is loaded with iron, has a pinkish hue and let’s not talk about the taste.
Another museum is the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum flyingleathernecks.org located on MCAS MIRAMAR. The museum entrance is on Miramar Road. Every other weekend and many holidays are “open cockpit” days giving visitors a chance to actually sit in the cockpit of an old warbird and let their minds wander to what it must have been like to land a plane at Miramar’s auxiliary landing field which was affectionately known as “Hourglass Field”. Of course, today there’s a few college buildings and Hourglass Field Community Park on that runway… that would make landing there rather difficult, to say the least!
Lake Miramar is actually a man-made reservoir that receives water from the Colorado River. It is located in Scripps Ranch and the entrance is on Scripps Lake Dr. rockymountainrec.com There is a 4.9-mile paved trail that follows the perimeter of the lake and is used by walkers, joggers, bikers, skaters and vehicles. In addition, there is a concession stand, picnic facilities including charcoal grills, boat launch, and watercraft rental, sport fishing (license required) and it’s all protected by a gaggle of geese who will bite if provoked. And beware of that big old gander, he does not like dogs!
While on your way to Lake Miramar you may pass by the Scripps Ranch Branch Library and Evans Pond hiddensandiego.net also on Scripps Lake Dr. The pond is at the far end of the library parking lot and features a short off-road trail around the pond that is perhaps 1.5 miles long. It’s a quiet and scenic walk around the pond. “Seating” has been cut into the stumps of dead trees and a “candelabra” is at water’s edge. The library sells feed for the fish and ducks… don’t know what the turtles eat.
The Mira Mesa Branch Library is located on New Salem St. at the intersection with Camino Ruiz. The Rancho Penasquitos Branch Library is located on Salmon River Rd. at the intersection of Fairgrove Ln.
Los Penasquitos Canyon has a plethora of off-road trails suitable for hiking, biking, and horseback riding although bikes and horses are restricted on some of the trails. The primary trailhead entrance on the eastern end is through Canyonside Community Park. On the western end, the primary entrance is the Los Penasquitos Trail Head West located on Sorrento Valley Blvd. it is also the primary Trail Head to Lopez Canyon.
There are secondary trailheads to Penasquitos Canyon at Penasquitos Creek Park and Camino Ruiz Park and there is a secondary trailhead to Lopez Canyon at Lopez Ridge Park. The closest trailhead to the Penasquitos Creek Falls is at Penasquitos Creek Park on the southeast corner of Park Village Rd. and Camino Del Sur.
Both Penasquitos and Lopez Canyons are administered by the Open Space Division of the San Diego Park & Recreation Dept. with one exception… the Rancho de Los Penasquitos and it’s surrounding few acres are administered by the County of San Diego. There is a County Park Ranger Office at the Rancho and an SDP&R Ranger Office at the northeast corner of Black Mountain Rd. and Mercy Rd. See sdparks.org for additional info.
Events Around Mira Mesa
There are many festivals and community celebrations in the area.
Some of the more popular ones seem to be the…
THE TASTE OF MIRA MESA
4th of JULY PARADES, FIREWORKS and CELEBRATIONS are held in MIRA MESA, RANCHO PENASQUITOS, and SCRIPPS RANCH.
Written by Al Radick