Del Mar’s train station with the mouth of the San Dieguito in the distance – in 1926 and today.

South of the mouth, then and now

It starts as a trickle on Volcan Mountain, flows downward as Santa Ysabel Creek, westward as the San Pasqual, then finally comes into its own below Lake Hodges as the San Dieguito River – the largest watershed in San Diego County – before spilling into the Pacific Ocean at Del Mar, some 50 miles later.

Much has changed along the banks of the San Dieguito over time – from semi-permanent Native American villages, Spanish ranchos, tomato and bean fields, roads, golf courses, and housing estates – but the course of the river through droughts, floods, and its recent restoration near the coast has remained much the same.

Del Mar has evolved from a sleepy seaside resort established in the late 19th century into the thriving beach community it is today; the two pictures above show the altered landscape where the San Dieguito meets the sea.

The San Dieguito River flowing through Del Dios Gorge in 1912 before construction of the Lake Hodges Dam.