Hiking the Western Trail of the San Diego-La Jolla Hiking Route
The Western Trail follows a rocky trail through the middle of the Great Plains. It follows what is now the US/Mexico border for a few hundred miles. The route used to be difficult and treacherous, but improvements have been made over the years. The route used to be closed for vehicle access between sunrise and sunset, but now it is open to all drivers. It is a challenging route for vehicle, but well worth the effort.
The original Western Trail continued east into Bexar county, but in the late twentieth century the trail became a much safer option for hikers. The old trail was also very rugged, with steep cliffs and unpredictable terrain. Today, the western trail follows a flat, level road through the center of the state, following the levee dividing the Comal river.
In addition to being a beautiful long route, the Western Trail has played an important role in wildlife research and observation. It is where scientists study local vegetation and animal life to study migration patterns and species survival. Many different types of birds visit the park each year. One of the most popular destinations is the Landa Park, with its tall grass, lush vegetation, and varied wildlife species. Approximately one-third of the park is forested with live plants and trees, while the other areas are mostly desert.
The western trail also links major urban areas, such as San Antonio, Texas; El Paso, Texas; and Austin, Texas. Many cities on the western trail border use it as an access point for Interstate 20, the biggest highway in the west. Bexar county, San Antonio, and the city of San Diego are very close to the park. The San Antonio Zoo and the Sea World offer trips into the Great Plains area, and the Comal River allows for hiking and boating along the banks of the river. Many tourists stay at the many hotels in the downtown area near the western trail, especially the Holiday Inn and the Hilton.
The trail begins at the La Jolla Cove, a large natural cove south of the La Jolla Bridge. The trail continues to follow the shoreline, passing numerous historical sites, such as the former fort of St. Augustine in present day San Diego, and the graves of several soldiers who died in the Mexican-American War. Hiking this path also gives you the chance to see the beautiful Torrey Pines Garden located on the south side of the trail. Traveling the length of the western trail takes you through many vineyards with amazing shade, where you can sit and enjoy a picnic or just sit and gaze at all the flowers. Just north of the trail, a structure with the words “Welcome to Texas” is visible.
A few miles further on the trail you will come across the La Jolla Cove Overlook. Here, you will have a choice of staying at one of the historical cabins in the area, or simply viewing the stunning bay (some call it the largest man-made harbor in California). Crossing the wooden bridge leading to the Overlook, you will come to what looks like a pasture with scattered Spanish style houses. From the Overlook, you can view the Spanish mission built atop the bluff. This route on the western trail of the San Diego-La Jolla hiking route is ideal for viewing the famous cowboys stroll, and for taking pictures with their beautiful roosting cowgirls.