Directions to the trailhead if you are coming from outside of Fallbrook:
* from I-15 take the Mission Road (S13) exit west;
* from SR-76 take Mission Road (S13) north;
to De Luz Road, which is one block east of the right-angle corner where the two Missions meet in downtown Fallbrook.
Take De Luz Road north from its beginning at Mission Road in Fallbrook, and descend into the Santa Margarita River Canyon.
After about a mile, just before you reach the bottom, turn right on Sandia Creek Dr. and follow it another ~mile to the parking lot on your right, immediately before the first crossing of the River at the T-junction with Rock Mountain Drive.
Mother Nature opens her welcoming arms here, filling visitors' senses with a bountiful harvest of sights, scents, and sounds along the Santa Margarita River. The trail is a fun meandering walk along the river.
The Santa Margarita River is one of the last wild rivers in Southern California, and is relatively unspoiled in its journey from the Temecula River Gorge, starting at I-15 in Temecula, along with its main tributaries, Rainbow Creek, Sandia Creek, and De Luz River. It cuts a beautiful gorge through the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains. The lower canyon is widely considered the most beautiful spot in the Fallbrook area, with expansive scenic views of a pastoral community and surrounding mountains.
Length: 5 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy