Survey of Emerald Hills Area of San Diego

August 13, 2009

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The Thomas Guide (page 1290 B2) shows a large Chollas Radio System Open Space, which apparently consists of three parts.

The official Emerald Hills Canyon Open Space Trail Map shows the same preserve.

Official trailhead signs describe the preserve variously as the Chollas Creek Open Space, Chollas Radio Open Space or Chollas Radio Canyon Open Space.

The trail running along the south side of Highway 94 is a paved bicycle and pedestrian path that has been in use for many years; it was shown on a bicycle route map published in 1975. A few years ago, somebody planted and still maintains a few small palm trees next to the path. It was formerly signed as Petite Palm Grove, but the signs have disappeared.

The trail running from Federal Blvd. to Emerald Hills Neighborhood Park is probably at least as old, but most of it is unpaved, and the pavement that still exists is cracked and overgrown.

The large vacant hilltop surrounded by Emerald Hills Neighborhood Park, Tooley St., 60th St. and Old Memory Lane contains two large radio towers. A gate across the access road, which is at the north end of Old Memory Lane, was closed during this survey, but it was open during an earlier visit.

The loop trail from the west end of Zircon St. is signed and well-used. However, the trails to the south are not as shown on the official trail map. The trailheads on Amethyst St. and Kelton Rd. are not signed. An obvious trail leads south to the north end of 56th St., where there is no trail sign, but there are no-smoking and no-dumping signs.

The trail map shows no trails in the other parts of the preserve, but I found one. There are undoubtedly others. I followed a trail from the intersection of 60th St. and Old Memory Lane south to Market Street. There is a side trail leading to the west side of 60th St. at Weaver St. There is probably also a side trail (more like a dirt road) leading to the west side of 60th St. at Radio Dr., but I did not check it out.

The trail continues down the canyon (probably called Radio Canyon) and emerges on the north side of Market St., where it is signed as Radio Dr.

There is a sign for the third part of the preserve on the north side of Market St., and it obviously contins some social trails, but I did not check it out.

Transcript of survey.
Image annotations.
Data plotted on topo.

Philip J. Erdelsky