April 2022 Activity: Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

Our April 2022 activity will take us for a walk in the lovely riparian canyon of the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway. Located near Lake Poway, this is an easy out and back walk on a dirt road, with the option to get in closer contact with nature on a narrow single track trail that parallels the main road.

As usual, this is not a Sierra Club outing. No Certified Outing Leader will be present. You may join, leave, participate as you wish on the scheduled date, and at your own risk. Please continue reading for the details.

Photography Subjects

A wide variety of more or less challenging subjects offer themselves to photographers, including:

  • riparian woodland with oak, sycamore and willow
  • flower and plant close-ups and macros right along the dirt road
  • birds like acorn woodpeckers, towhees, etc.

Our timing will allow us to enjoy nicely angled afternoon light shining through the trees. It will be easy to shade smaller subjects with your body or a diffuser for close-up photography.

Depending on your preference, all lenses from ultra-wide angle (to photograph the tree canopy) over macro to super-telephoto for birds are useful here. A polarizer will come in handy for landscape-type photography to reduce glare on foliage. Depending on the weather and cloud coverage, challenging conditions with high contrast may exist especially for the woodland photography. A tripod may be useful for bracketing multiple exposures.


  • DATE: Saturday, April 23, 2022
  • TIME: we begin to walk at 4 PM sharp, plan your arrival accordingly
  • LOCATION: 16275 Espola Rd, Poway, CA 92064 (Google Maps)
  • MEETING POINT: info kiosk at the middle of the parking lot
  • DISTANCE: ~2 miles out and back, or less if you want to keep it shorter
  • FEES: none (donate to the Friends of Blue Sky instead)
  • NOTE: open during daylight hours only; parking lot gates close at sunset

WATCH OUT: plenty of Poison-oak grows in the area. It causes skin irritations that won’t show until a few days after contact, and can last for days or even weeks (redness, bumps, bad itching… you don’t want that).

NOTE: Parking can be limited at this location. Consider carpooling with a person you know and trust about their vaccination status and pandemic-related situation.


From I-15 exit 24 Rancho Bernardo Rd, head east on Rancho Bernardo Road. You soon enter the City of Poway, and Rancho Bernardo Road becomes Espola Road. Espola Road briefly turns into a one-lane road. Shortly after it widens again into two lanes, the road turns right almost 90 degrees, to the south.

Make a left-turn in this curve, onto the parking lot (watch for the sign “Blue Sky Reserve Entrance 200 Yards Ahead”, and the left-turn lane). The parking lot itself is not very visible from the road. Do NOT make a turn onto the Green Valley Truck Trail! It’s gated — and the dirt road we’ll be walking on.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or send an email, as usual.

Featured image: Green Valley Truck Trail under oak canopy in September by Alexander S. Kunz.


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