California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Boden Canyon Ecological Reserve - San Diego County

Fire Update

In October/November of 2003, three of the worst fires in California history engulfed southern California. The majority of the Crestridge Ecological Reserve, about 80% of the Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve, and a small portion of the Boden Canyon Ecological Reserve burned. The vegetation will resprout and the wildlife will return, and the ecosystems will be surprisingly rich over the next few years. However in the immediate and near future, the areas are more vulnerable in this post-fire condition so we ask that visitors to these areas pay special attention to staying on designated trails and staying out of designated closed areas to allow the natural regeneration to occur.

More information on the southern California fires.

General Location/Information

Boden Canyon is located approximately 9 miles east of Escondido, San Diego County. Land ownership within the canyon is a mosaic of California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CCDFW), City of San Diego, and San Diego County parcels. Of the total acreage set aside for resource conservation (2,068 acres), CDFW owns 1,211 acres.

Public access into Boden Canyon directly off Highway 78 is prohibited. City of San Diego Water Department land and CA Department of Fish and Wildlife's southernmost parcel are closed. The appropriate way to access Boden Canyon is from Orosco Ridge located on USFS land adjacent to Pamo Valley. See detailed driving directions for proper access route.

Outdoor California Article: "Boden Canyon Ecological Reserve Requires a Good Sense of Balance" (PDF) or Text Only by Lora Martens © 2001

Driving Directions to Boden Canyon Ecological Reserve

Starting from the intersection of Highway 78 and Highway 67 in the town of Ramona:

Take Highway 78 north (Pine Street) approximately 1.7 miles to where the road curves west and turns into West Haverford Road. Turn right (east) on west Haverford Road. Follow West Haverford Road east approximately 0.8 tenths of a mile to where the road curve north and becomes Pamo Road. Follow Pamo Road north past the old Ramona dump (Dump Road approx. 1.1 miles). At this point the road narrows, becomes windy and heads downhill. Continue following Pamo Road to the bottom of the grade approximately 1.5 miles past dump road. At this point you will see a US Forest Service (USFS) kiosk on the left (west) side of the road. Turn left (west) onto Orosco Truck Trail and continue past cattle guard/USFS gate (See Warning #1). Within a few hundred feet of crossing the cattle guard the road forks. Take the right fork across the creek and continue across the cement bridge (See Warning #2). Follow the windy dirt road (Orosco truck trail) uphill for approximately 2.7 miles. At this point the road forks again. Take the left fork (USFS Route 12502) and proceed approximately 0.5 miles to gate. You will need to park and continue down the road on foot. Please park so that your vehicle does not block access to the gate. As you walk down the road you will encounter another closed Forest Service gate. Proceed past this gate and enter Boden Canyon. See map for location.

Warning #1: This Forest Service gate is subject to seasonal closures. Please check with the Cleveland National Forest Service Palomar Ranger District office for road closures and other questions concerning use of USFS Lands.

Warning #2: The first section of the creek crossing is rocky and the road becomes dirt beyond the cement bridge. A low profile vehicle is not recommended.


Dowload maps of the Boden Canyon Ecological Reserve below.

History of Acquisition

The Wildlife Conservation Board completed three phases of acquisition in 1998 and 1999 for the conservation of 1221 acres within Boden Canyon. The funds used were from Proposition 117, the Habitat Conservation Fund, also known as the Mountain Lion Initiative. Boden Canyon was designated as an Ecological Reserve by the Fish and Game Commission pursuant to Title 14, Section 630 in August of 2000.

Purpose of Acquisition

The Boden Canyon Multi-Agency Land Management Plan (LMP) presents an opportunity to preserve and further restore a nearly intact representation of the natural canyon communities that historically existed along the cismontane foothills of San Diego County. While Boden Canyon is not an inherently unique feature in the landscape, most of the low-lying canyons similar to Boden Canyon have been irreparably damaged by long histories of heavy agriculture and urban fringe development. As a result of the tremendous losses suffered, few such canyons remain as intact representations of San Diego County's natural communities. Adding to its intrinsic character, Boden Canyon occurs within one of the longest natural wildlife corridors occurring within coastal San Diego County and plays a role in maintaining a regional habitat linkage extending east to Pamo Valley and northward to Riverside County through U.S. Forest Service lands.

The Boden Canyon LMP area is an important element of the Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP), a State of California Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP)/Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The MSCP identifies Boden Canyon as a core resource area and important biological linkage to areas outside the MSCP area. Additionally, Boden Canyon is included in the MSCP preserve area and is also located within the Focused Planning Area for the San Dieguito River Valley Regional Open Space Park.

Various properties within the Boden Canyon LMP area have been acquired by the CDFW to serve as an Ecological Reserve, by the City of San Diego for water resources development purposes and to protect biodiversity according to the City's mandate under the MSCP, and by the County of San Diego to serve as a biological mitigation site to offset impacts associated with a Department of Public Works road project. While the parcels have been acquired by differing agencies with varying mandates, there are common goals that bring the Boden Canyon property owners together. These goals include the desire to manage the Boden Canyon lands collectively with the principal objectives being to maintain and enhance the biological values of the lands while providing for a sustainable amount of public access that would not detract from the biology of the region consistent with the principles and directives of the MSCP and state ecological reserve policy. The interspersed ownership of the Boden Canyon properties lends itself to a unified management program approach and makes such an approach almost essential to effectively serve the interests of natural resource conservation and management with an allowance for public access. This collective management allows for unified monitoring, maintenance, patrol, and enforcement over an area that would otherwise be difficult for any single entity to effectively manage due to the site's relatively remote location, limited access, and large size.