Old Mission Dam at Mission Trails is located along the San Diego River and Father Junipero Serra Trail. It provides an easy to walk and bike trail that allows for an exciting view of both the mountainside as well as the San Diego River below. Biking, walking, jogging, dog walking and hiking are common activities that occur here. After a few miles you will come to the historical Old Mission Dam that gives just a touch of San Diego’s history.
The Old Mission Dam’s history dates back to 1809 when Church leaders needed water for irrigation and survival. Local Indian labor was used to help create the dam and basin that still stands as part of the ruins (1). It was one of the most ambitious projects in the California mission chain and helped develop the area.
The Old Mission Dam and flume have an interesting design. It follows from Ancient Rome and allowed a great amount of work to ensure that it continued to flow downward. The dam was operational around 1813 and the flume around 1816 leading to a resurgence of the Mission in the 1820’s (2). When it rained hard the flume would still risk being damaged and removed.
The walk is great for watching the mountainside and nature. It is known as a favorite for bird lovers and dog walkers. The steep sides of the mountain side and jagged rocks that roll down into the ravine where the river maintains a flush environment are of interest here. You will be able to enjoy nature while getting in great shape. Read more about the Old Mission HERE.