Monday, October 12, 2015 / by Kimo Quance
Looking for a tranquil spot, far away from the hustle and bustle of San Diego?
Mast Park in Santee may be just what the doctor ordered.
The Park covers around 100 acres, and its vast open spaces offers a welcome break from urban living. Mast Park is the largest of Santee's eight parks and since 2012, it's being restored to a beautiful haven of nature.
Nature at its Finest
Shaded on all sides by eucalyptus, sycamore, oak, and cottonwood trees, the picturesque park winds along the banks of the San Diego River. The regeneration project has helped restore the natural wetland habitat around the park, which in turn encouraged natural wildlife to return. Mast Park is now home to a diverse range of butterflies, birds, lizards and turtles.
The two boardwalks run along the buffer area created, offering unobstructed views of the San Diego River. The Park is dotted with seating areas for visitors to pause and enjoy their surroundings; some say it's one of the most relaxing places they've ever been.
Now, some would consider the Park perfect as it is, but the City of Santee added even more amenities.
Standard Features + More
The park comes with 'regular' park fixtures like a picnic area with barbecue grills, a gazebo, playground, basketball court etc. But that's not all, Mast Park also has a few more unique features:
- Disc Golf Course – There is a free-to-play recreational course in the park, with a mix of tight tunnel shots and open shots. The abundance of trees adds an extra challenge to making your shots. With short tees available for new and younger players, the course is going to be fun for all. If you consider yourself a pro, you can combine the short and longer tees for 18 unique holes.
- Bird Watcher's Paradise – On a walk through Mast Park, you'll observe the endangered least Bell’s vireo, the California gnatcatcher and the southwest willow flycatcher. Close to the water, you'll find the great egret, great blue herons, mallards, mandarin ducks and American coots. Keep an eye on the sky for the swooping Cooper’s hawk, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, Nuttall’s woodpeckers and the black phoebe.
These are only a few of the species that make their home here or simply stop off here in the spring. The park also has a nice natural open space where you can feed the ducks.
- Massive Dog Playground – The park boasts a large fenced play area for dogs to run around in, free of any leashes.
- Trails for Days - Mast Park is riddled with an extensive network of trails; right from the welcome sign, two trails branch off, leading you on an adventure through the park. The nature trails form a mile long loop around the park. Don't worry about getting lost; the trail is marked at intervals and follows the San Diego River.
The park is also easy to find; for visitors coming via Highway 52, take the Mission Gorge Road exit. Head east on Mission Gorge, and turn left on Carlton Hills Blvd. The park is just four minutes north on Carlton Hills Blvd.
Nothing soothes better than the quiet sounds of nature, the sussuration of the river interrupted only by birdsong. Strolling the easy trails of the park, catching glimpses of the color of beautiful wildlife and foliage, what's not to love about Mast Park?
Add the combination of activities available in one place and it's a win for the whole family. Take a few days off and come visit one of Santee's beautiful parks.