Meet Fallbrook, self-proclaimed avocado capital of the world. But there’s more greenery here than the toast-friendly fruit. This small town in northern San Diego County has more than 10 nature preserves.
Explore two less-visited hiking havens: Hellers Bend and Dinwiddie Preserve, then stroll down the eclectic main street. Start at Hellers Bend in southern Fallbrook, a 2-mile (round-trip) half-paved, half-dirt track hike.
Head through the gates and down under majestic oaks and along a babbling brook. The paved path then ascends 500 feet over the next half-mile, gaining beautiful vistas over the town of Fallbrook and beyond to Monserate Mountain, and even the Palomars.
At the peak of the preserve there’s a bench for more view time, and from there the trail becomes a narrow dirt path in a residential area before ending at a fence.
Head back to your car and head north to the Fallbrook Land Conservancy.
You can park at the lot and check out the Wildlife Sculpture Garden on a very short 0.2-mile loop. Afterward, cross the street to the Dinwiddie Preserve for a quiet half-mile stroll among oaks and sycamores.
BONUS FALLBROOK: Avocados aside, Fallbrook’s got plenty to explore. Park at the Fallbrook Library, a beautiful eco-friendly building with a charming shop of gently used books. Next, pass the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society (good to explore!) and get a coffee at local cafe Brooktown before walking north on Main Avenue.
There are plenty of nature murals along the way, a village square with sculptures, and plenty of boutique—and avocado-tique—shops (check out the art map). We like Caravan, an eclectic joint with global products, and the Spoiled Avocado—get the avocado fudge for a genuine Fallbrook treat! If you’re hankering for a big meal and craft beer after your hikes, we recommend Oink and Moo, a locals’ favorite with barbeque classics and a creative variety of burgers. Regardless, be sure to pick up some Fallbrook avocado memorabilia.
To get to Hellers Bend Preserve, take the I-5 or I-15 to the CA-76. Take the Mission Rd. exit and head north for 1.4 miles and turn left onto Hellers Bend Rd. The preserve is on the left after 0.2 mile (park before the curve on the street). To get to Dinwiddie Preserve and the Fallbrook Land Conservancy lot, go back to Mission Rd. and head north for 2.7 miles, turning right onto Stage Coach Ln. The conservancy offices and lot will be on your left in 1 mile. Finally, to get to the Fallbrook Library, continue on Stage Coach Ln. for 1.8 miles, turn left at Alvarado St., and in 1.5 miles the library will be on your left. Dog-friendly!