37385 De Luz Rd.
Fallbrook CA. 92028
Hours: 8 a.m. to one half hour before sunset
Phone number: (760) 728-2303
For up to date park closures please visit our News Page.
Directions: From downtown Fallbrook take E. Mission Rd west to Pico Ave. Go right (north) on Pico Ave. which quickly becomes De Luz Rd. Take De Luz Rd 2 for miles. At the corner of De Luz Rd and Sandia Creek Rd fork to the left and stay on De Luz Rd. The preserve staging area will immediately come up on the right hand side of the road.
In the event of significant rainfall or an ongoing storm, Santa Margarita Preserve will not open due to swift water in the Santa Margarita River and inaccessible trails. For up-to-date information, please call the Live Oak Park office at (760) 728-2303.
Santa Margarita County Preserve is 221 acres and is part of the County of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program. The property was acquired in 1992 to preserve the resources and picturesque scenery of the Santa Margarita Valley, while providing additional public trails in the community of Fallbrook. In partnership with the Fallbrook Land Conservancy the park was restored after the 2002 Gavilan Fire for public access.
The Preserve consists of riparian and upland habitats. The lush river corridor provides wildlife a place to naturally forage and make their homes. Raptors are a common site over head or perched in trees. Deer and other large mammals rely on the river for their water. Now preserved in perpetuity, this stretch of the river valley defines the natural beauty of Fallbrook and San Diego County.
The trails are open for multiple use; horse back riding, hiking and mountain biking. To the north the trails connects with the Fallbrook Public Utility Districts trails. To the west the preserve is buffered by Camp Pendleton.
The area has a rich cultural history. For centuries the abounding resources in the river valley sustained Native Americans, named Luisenos by the Spanish explorers. During the Mexican era, Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores was granted to brothers Pio and Andres Pico in1841. Today the original rancho boundaries encompass Camp Pendleton. Many geographical features in the area bare the name Santa Margarita, including the river and now this Preserve. The Santa Margarita Watershed straddles portions of Riverside and San Diego County, encompassing the communities of Temecula, Murrieta, Fallbrook, De Luz, Camp Pendleton and Oceanside.
The park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to half an hour before sunset. In the event of heavy rain the preserve will not open for public safety and protection of the resources. Fishing in the river is not permitted at this time.
Click images to enlarge