Del Mar Mesa Preserve

About the Preserve


The 900-acre Del Mar Mesa Preserve lies on the east end of Del Mar Mesa. It is protected under the city's Multiple Species Habitat Plan. Parts of the Preserve are under State and Federal jurisdiction. Home to dozens of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals unique to San Diego, the Preserve was created through negotiations between government,  community,  environmental representatives, and land owners, who dedicated up to 75% of their land in exchange for higher housing densities. The Preserve is also home to many vernal pool complexes. The Preserve is contiguous to Los Penasquitos Canyon and serves as a critical animal migration corridor for the City and County.


A popular recreational destination for equestrians, trail bike riders, naturalists, and hikers, the City Parks Department developed a Resource Management Plan to designate compatible trails in consultation with community, environmental and recreational user groups which was enacted by the San Diego City Council.

Closed Trail.jpg

Proposed Commercial Development opposed by

Friends of Del Mar Mesa Preserve: The Notch Property 

Cisterra Development is seeking a Community  Plan and City General Plan amendment to allow a 450,000 square foot office complex on property formerly owned by the Catholic Diocese, widely known as "The Notch", for a church on the east edge of Del Mar Mesa Preserve.

The 11-acre property is surrounded on three sides by Del Mar Mesa Preserve--the highly sensitive City owned Deer Canyon on the north and State and Federally protected vernal pool complexes on the south and west.

Development on the east side on largely disturbed land is already permitted with community support for mixed-use development and an extension of Camino del Sur.


Preservationists hope to narrow Camino del Sur and minimize or eliminate development of the "Notch." The Friends of Del Mar Mesa opposes the proposed zoning changes and supports any opportunity to purchase the property for inclusion in Del Mar Mesa Preserve.

Further information:

Notch Aerial Colliers (1).jpg
Cisterra Visual 3.jpg
Fact Sheet Vis 4.jpg
Preserve Trail Home.jpg

Legal Trail Map

Management Plan Map.jpg

The City's Resource Management Plan, which was produced through a cooperative effort between recreational user groups,  community Planning Boards, environmental organizations, park advisory committees, was approved in 2014. The plan defines a trail system through the Preserve which protects sensitive species while allowing recreational use by hikers & runners, bikers and horse riders. The Friends

will help fund appropriate interpretive signage and trail markers. Please Note: Property on the northeast corner of the Preserve marked "private" is now owned by the city.

Users of these trails should keep in mind that the area is a nature prerserve.  Stay on legally defined trails, clean up after animals and take everything brought in out.