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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.

Silverwood Visitor Information

Silverwood is open to visitors and groups from 9 am - 4 pm on Sundays from October - July (closed Aug - Sep). To sign up for a visit, see our calendar for available dates and click on your preferred option.

Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeside is free and open to the public from 9am to 4pm on Sundays, registration recommended. To sign up for a visit, see our calendar below for available dates and click on your preferred option. 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.

July 2022

Select a Date to View

Directions to Silverwood

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, turn left then 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.

Silverwood's Adopt-A-Trail Program

The Adopt-A-Trail program provides monetary support for the upkeep of Silverwood’s 13 trail segments. Adoptions are for one calendar year and directly support trail maintenance projects. Adopters are acknowledged with “Adopted by” signage at each trail head for the duration of your adoption gift, on our website, and in Sketches newsletter. 

A big thanks to our 2022 Adopters - your support makes a huge difference for Silverwood and the entire organization.

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.


  • San Diego Foundation
    San Diego Foundation
  • USFWS logo
  • County of San Diego
    County of San Diego
  • State Coastal Conservancy
  • SANDAg transnet logo
    SANDAg transnet logo
  • Coastkeeper
  • UCNRS logo
  • Malk Nature Fund
  • Logo for Union Bank