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Welcome to Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary

Our work

About Silverwood

The 785-acre Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in 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 approximately five 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.

In addition to Silverwood's stunning birding observation area and 5 miles of trails, visitors are also encouraged to explore the fascinating displays in the Frank Gander Education Center about Silverwood's flora and fauna.

For detailed species lists, see below.

Visiting Silverwood

Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeside is free and open to the public from 9am to 4pm on Sundays. Silverwood is closed during the months of August and September due to fire danger.

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.

If you have any questions, please contact Resident Manager Phil Lambert at or (619) 443-2998.

Silverwood's Adopt-A-Trail Program

The Adopt-a-Trail program provides monetary support for the upkeep of Silverwood’s 13 trail segments. Click the button below to learn more about our Adopt-a-Trail program.

Remembrance Bench

The Remembrance Bench Program provides an opportunity for individuals to memorialize or honor a loved one. At Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary, we offer this opportunity in the stunning observation area that attracts an abundance of birds and small mammals, which can be viewed from the shaded comfort of our benches.

July 2024

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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.

Volunteer at Silverwood!


PLEASE NOTE: Silverwood is subject to close during rain, extreme fire danger or heat, or other uncontrollable conditions. Stay in touch and get up to date news on our Silverwood Facebook page.


  • USFWS logo
  • City of San Diego

  • County of San Diego
    County of San Diego
  • State Coastal Conservancy
  • SANDAg transnet logo
    SANDAg transnet logo
  • Malk Nature Fund
  • Coastkeeper
  • UCNRS logo
  • San Diego Regional Fire Foundation logo
  • Americorps
  • Room & Board
    Room & Board
  • San Diego River Conservancy
  • National Marine Sanctuary Foundation