The Friends of Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit land trust and educational organization located in Valley Center, California. As an environmental education organization, The Friends works to raise awareness of the Preserve's important natural resources and to support recreation and enjoyment of the Preserve by the public. We also work to acquire and conserve ecologically important natural open space, enhancing and expanding the Preserve's conservation footprint. Collaborating with state and county government, local foundations, and private donors the Friends has successfully added 190 acres of critically important open space to the now 1900-acre preserve. There is more to be done to protect the sensitive ecological resources of the Preserve and its wildlife connectivity to nearby open space lands. Please view our video.
Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve is owned and operated by the County of San Diego Department of Parks & Recreation (Local Map). Over 11 miles of trails traverse the diverse habitats of the Preserve. These habitats are key to the survival of sensitive and threatened plant and wildlife species such as coast live oak woodland, southern live oak riparian forest, Diegan coastal sage scrub, native grassland, southern mixed chaparral, and Chamise chaparral habitats. The Preserve is adjacent to undeveloped federal lands, Rancho Guejito, and undeveloped lands of the Rincon Indian Reservation; Its creeks are tributaries of the San Luis Rey River. Hellhole Canyon is home to over 24 wildlife species considered sensitive by County, State or Federal Governments. The canyon has over three miles of creek bed and provides a critical, but threatened habitat and wildlife corridor connecting the Rancho Guejito, Cleveland National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and southern inland areas of the County with the Preserve and areas to the north via the San Luis River watershed and areas north and east of Pauma Valley and further on to the Santa Margarita Plateau (Corridor Map). The area represents the last inland connection between the north and south parts of the County west of the inland mountains of the county. Please see our introductory video.