Oak OasisIf you’ve been in Oak Oasis, you’re a rare person since this park is a very recent addition to the County system and until recently has been accessible only with special groups.
Oak Oasis is a gift to the citizens of San Diego County from the Minshall family. It consists of 405 acres of woods, hills, hiking trails and views. Drive in a short way to a large parking lot. The access trail is clearly marked. About ¼ mile in, the trail veers to the right through high shrubs, probably with ample blooming lilac ceanothus and red monkey flowers. You’ll come upon a bench for rest and contemplation.
The trail then heads up a dirt road into the oaks area, and there are plenty of them. In their midst is a cabin, and just beyond there the trail winds upward around the hill, with excellent views of San Vicente Reservoir. You have a couple of options — a trail to the left heading up for another lake view, to the right winding around the hill into an open meadow and back to the main trail (just keep going right and follow the trail signs).
A hike to the cabin area and first lake view is roughly 1 ½ hours round trip; all around the mountain add another 45 minutes. Oak Oasis is open from 9:30 a.m to sunset on weekends (to 5:30 p.m. weekdays). Horses and dogs on leash are OK, but no bikes. For information on all County Parks call 694-3049.
Directions: Drive out I-8 to 67 north. Pass Lakeside to Willow and turn right. At a four-way stop, turn left on Wildcat Canyon Road. The first park you’ll come to one mile along is Stelzer. Keep heading out on Wildcat Canyon Road another 2.2 miles past Stelzer, and you’ll see signs for El Capitan on the right and Oak Oasis on the left.