Dawson-Los Monos Canyon Reserve sits along the now perennial Agua Hedionda Creek in Vista, California and contains habitats such as Southern riparian woodland, coast live oak woodland, inland sage scrub, mixed and chamise chaparral, and mixed grassland of native bunchgrasses and introduced annuals.
Turn left on Dawson Drive (first left after Sycamore). Follow Dawson Drive for 200 yards to the security gate. At this point you will need the access code. You are crossing private property from here to the last gate at the reserve entrance. Follow the paved road down to the end of the cul-de-sac. The entrance to the reserve is the gate (unmarked) on your right at the end of the cul-de-sac. Park here if directed to do so or continue through the hooked gate in the fence to your right, along the dirt road. At the corner of the fencelines, enter the reserve through the gate with the combination lock. Close all gates and leave locked as you found them.
Turn left on Shadowridge Drive. Turn left on Antigua Drive; this brings you into Buena Vista Park. Park in the spaces at the far end of the parking lot. Walk along the paved road across the dam at the lower end of the pond; turn left and walk along the dirt road, keeping the eucalyptus on your left. At the end of the eucalyptus, find a gate in the fence on your right (You will need the combination to the lock). Once inside, stay close to the fence, then follow the path along the bottom of the hill to the creek, or up the hill to Mt. Hinton. Warning: there are poison oak and spiny Adolphia bushes in several places, and the paths are sometimes not very clear.
Twice a year in the spring and the fall, NRS staff, community, and school volunteers get together at the Dawson Reserve and along multiple other sites along Agua Hedionda Creek to examine the water quality by measuring water chemistry, invertebrate sampling, stream velocity, and physical habitat.
You will find two weather stations on the Dawson Reserve: one in the meadow (shown) and one up on a ridge. These stations continuously collect data on temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction, and atmospheric pressure. The data are stored in a database accessible online to anyone by clicking here.
The research trailer is available for small classes and overnight researcher use. Telephone, wireless internet, full kitchen, and bunkbeds (sleeps up to 3)