13003 Wildcat Canyon Road
Lakeside, CA 92040
The 757-acre Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary, located near Lakeside, is owned and maintained by San Diego Audubon. Its purpose is to preserve in as complete and natural a state as possible a prime area of coastal chaparral and riparian woodland. It is available for hiking, guided walks, bird watching, passive research, and education. Over 324 native plant species and 124 bird species have been recorded there, as well as numerous reptile and mammal species, including mule deer, bobcat, and raccoon.
The Sanctuary has completely recovered from the 2003 Cedar fire. The flora and fauna are abundant and provide an excellent laboratory for studying the natural cycles of chaparral and riparian ecosystems. This crown jewel of San Diego Audubon has over four miles of trails for you to explore.
An observation area, one-third of a mile from the parking lot attracts birds and small mammal species, which can be viewed from the shaded comfort of available picnic tables and benches. Those with physical limitations may drive or be driven to this area. There are picnic areas at the Nature Center and the observation area, self-contained toilets at the parking lot and observation area and a drinking fountain in the observation area.
Wildflowers are profuse in winter and spring. Each spring, we look forward to a large variety of breeding birds, including bluebirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers, towhees, wrens, goldfinches, phainopeplas, and many other songbirds. Additionally, a wide variety of butterflies, mammals, reptiles, and other wildlife are also there for you to enjoy. Come out on Sundays and enjoy the show.
The Sanctuary is open to visitors from 9am to 4pm on Sundays. Guided walking tours are offered every Sunday at 10am and 1:30pm, except from July through September due to the summer heat. The Sanctuary is also open on Wednesday mornings to SDAS members. At those times when the Sanctuary is open to the public visitation, our Frank Gander Nature Education Center will also be open. Come out and see the many new displays in the education center about Silverwood's flora and fauna.
From central San Diego go east on I-8 to the Highway 67 exit in El Cajon. Once on Hwy 67, go north on 67 to Lakeside. When the freeway ends, take Mapleview St. east (right) to the second traffic light at Ashwood, go 4.8 miles to Silverwood. Look for the large yellow mailbox on the right. Be careful of traffic when entering and leaving Silverwood.
From northern San Diego city and North County, take Highway 52 east all the way through Santee to Hwy 67. Take the northbound 67 exit to Lakeside, and from there follow the directions as above after the freeway ends.
Schedule a Group Visit
Anyone may schedule a group visit (a family, a school class, a Scout or church group, etc.) on any day of the week by calling the Resident Manager at (619)443-2998 at least a day in advance to coordinate.
The unswerving purpose of Silverwood is to preserve, in as complete and natural a state as possible, a prime swath of one of the country's most critically endangered ecosystems: California's coastal chaparral. Central to the long- term success of this preservation effort is education. At Silverwood the earth and its creatures are our teachers.
A Few Simple Rules
- No Pets Please
- It is important to sign the register before venturing out on the trails. You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the safety information, which is available along with trail maps at the register stand, and should carefully note and follow all trail signs.