Location: Santee, California.
Surface: Cement side walk, some dirt path.
Length: 3 to 5 miles
Fees: Parking outside the park: Free
Inside parking: $3.00 weekdays, $5.00 weekends
WEB Info: www.Santeelakes.com
One of California’s best kept secrets, Padre Dams Santee Lakes offers one of the most relaxing and scenic walks in San Diego County. This park is a series of 7 small descending lakes bordered by clean sidewalks on a more developed side with dirt and asphalt road on an undeveloped side. Green grass, Elm, Eucalyptus and Oak trees line this walk. Be sure to get there when the park opens for the most tranquil of walks. Bring your camera if you like. You’ll get to see Ducks, Blue Egrets, a variety of birds and other park inhabitants on your journey through the park. The lakes are stocked with Trout, Bass and Catfish seasonally. As you continue your walk, a grocery store, restrooms, chairs and tables are offered for your convenience.
Continuing north, you will see small islands in the middle of the lakes which are home to many indigenous species of plants and shrubs (invasive species were being removed at the time of this writing). Next you will come to the RV section of the park. This is a nice area which has recently been renovated and expanded. Some of the improvements include more spaces and river walks. This area now produces much of it’s own electric power because of recent installation of solar panels on the roofs of the RV storage section. Rest rooms are offered for RV customers only in this area.
Heading south, you are now on the less developed side of the lakes. Be aware there are no restrooms on this side, but there are a number of cement walkways that will get you to the developed side so you can use the facilities. Dirt path is your only option from the RV Park for about a quarter mile then you will be on asphalt and cement side walk the remainder of the way. Cut across the walkway when you get to the large pick nick area. Here you will find a small water park for the kids. Continue south to the park entrance and your walk is complete. Enjoy!