Otay Mountain Ecological Reserve


The Otay Mountain Ecological Reserve (OMER) is a limited open public reserve, of approximately 1,200 acres. The property was acquired to protect endangered and sensitive wildlife, native plants and special habitats. It is host to habitat types including chamise chaparral, southern mixed chaparral, coastal sage scrub, southern interior cypress forest, riparian woodland, and oak woodland. Many native wildlife species make their home here. It was designated as an ecological reserve by the California State Fish and Game Commission in 2000.

For more information, call the South Coast Region San Diego office at (858) 467-4201.

Recreational Opportunities

Wildlife Viewing

Activities: wildlife viewing

Please be advised:
The OMER property boundaries are highly irregular, bordering Federal, local government and privately owned lands. Public access, and/or firearms, may not be permitted on adjacent lands. Property boundaries, in some areas, may not be clearly indicated. It is the visitor’s responsibility to monitor their location and the rules and regulations of the property.

‘Limited’ access refers to the absence of a permissible (safe) public vehicular access point. The pull-off area at the yellow gate/informational kiosk does not qualify as a public vehicle entry/parking area, due to the lack of line of sight along Otay Lakes Road. 

Vehicles may access Minnewawa Truck Trail or Otay Truck Trail. Visitors may park along the side of the road (at the pull-offs) and walk in across BLM lands.

Alternative access: Pedestrian access at the yellow gate/informational kiosk located just east of the Skydive San Diego airfield off Otay Lakes Road near mile marker 7.4.

PLEASE NOTE: Leaving a vehicle near the yellow gate/informational kiosk is not advised, and may be subject to enforcement action. Vehicles must not be left blocking access to the gate.

Allowable activities at OMER:
The OMER allows hiking, wildlife viewing, and hunting. Dogs are allowed on leash only. Hunting activities must adhere to current General Regulations for Hunting*, and all regular seasons/bag limits apply. A valid hunting license must be in possession at all times while hunting. Valid tags/stamps must be in possession as applicable. As of July 1, 2015, lead ammunition is prohibited on all Department lands.

*Hunting is allowed in accordance with the Bureau of Land Management’s Wilderness Area regulations.

NOTE: Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all regulations pertaining to the use of Department lands.

Please refer to the Public Uses on State and Federal Lands section of the Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF)Waterfowl, Upland Game, and Public Use Regulations (PDF)(opens in new tab) booklet for both statewide and property-specific regulations.

Otay Mountain ER - click to enlarge in new window
Click to enlarge


South Coast Region (Region 5)

San Diego County

Directions: Head East on state highway 94. Take Otay Lakes Rd. Take the dirt road into Jamul Valley south of Otay Lakes Rd.

CDFW Lands Viewer