Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation Field Trips


The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation is pleased to offer educator-led field trips at the park. We can host students in kindergarten through 8th grade, and all of the experiences include a guided nature walk with MTRP Foundation staff and educational activities at the park’s stunning Visitor Center.

At the Visitor Center, students can engage with exhibits, embark on an eco-explorer scavenger hunt, learn about San Diego County’s native shrubland environment, enjoy a presentation in the Center’s theater, and have lunch in the outdoor amphitheater, taking in the view of Mission Gorge and the park’s peaks. Mission Trails is an 8,000-acre wilderness wonderland that every San Diego County student should experience.

MTRP Foundation-led Field Trips are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays and last three to four hours, can accommodate 60 students, and end by 1PM. The Foundation’s field trip programs meet Core Curriculum requirements and Next Generations Science Standards. The programs offered are developed for specific grade levels. If your group is larger than 60 students, please request two dates. You can arrive as early as 9AM and we will confirm your actual arrival and departure times via email.

The MTRP Foundation can reimburse up to $250 for bus transportation per field trip for groups of 25 or more students. The minimum number of students for an MTRP Foundation field trip is 15.

More information is in our teacher packet found here. Educators will receive an auto-generated confirmation email after reserving their date and a message from our Lead Educator within a week of making the booking.

If you are seeking a Ranger-led or self-guided field trip experience, please see those pages on the MTRP website. Self-guided programs can only take place on Mondays and Ranger-led Field Trips are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Educators: Scroll to the bottom of this page for the field trip reservation link.

Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation Field Trip Offered

K – 2nd Grade: The Habitats of Mission Trails Regional Park

As awareness of where we live in relationship to San Diego’s cherished wildlife is the focus of this K-2nd grade outdoor education program. The concepts of habitat and the four elements necessary for one – food, water, shelter, and space – are discussed in an introductory presentation. Students are then taken on an easy half-mile guided walk through some of the park’s native habitats to see where some of Mission Trails’ many inhabitants live. Students will also discover some of the many signs and clues wildlife leave behind. This program begins and ends at the park’s Visitor Center.

NGSS; K-LS1-1, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3-3, 1-LS1-1, 1-LS3-1, 2-LS2-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1

3rd Grade: The Kumeyaay and Mission Trails Regional Park

The Kumeyaay are our region’s indigenous people, and their ancestors lived in the area that is now Mission Trails Regional Park. One of the more obvious dwelling sites used by the Kumeyaay includes a granitic bedrock area that has several depressions worn into the surface from hundreds of years of grinding acorns and other foods. This 3rd grade outdoor education program takes students on a one-mile roundtrip interpretive walk to the historic Grinding Rocks site at the edge of the San Diego River. Along the way, Kumeyaay usage of native plants and wildlife resources will be discussed. The cultural and social customs of the Kumeyaay will be covered. This program begins and ends at the Visitor Center, where students will also get the chance to view an educational video or Native storytelling presentation and participate in a Scavenger Hunt through the museum.

NGSS; 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-4, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2

4th, 5th & 6th Grade: Ecosystems of Mission Trails Regional Park

Within the park there are seven distinct ecosystems – places where living and nonliving things interact. This one-mile exploratory walk takes students through four of the park’s dominant ecosystems – coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodland and riparian. Students will have an opportunity to discover the differences between each ecosystem and learn why these differences exist. We’ll discuss animal species that may be found within each ecosystem (and, with hope, see some!), and identify soil composition. This program begins and ends at the park’s Visitor Center.

NGSS; 4-ESS2-1, 5 ESS2-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS2-1, MS-LS-2-4

7th & 8th Grade: Biodiversity and Stewardship of Mission Trails Regional Park

Human beings are living organisms who interact with and benefit from the ecosystems around them. Ecosystems that have a greater variety of different species of plants and animals have a greater biodiversity. These ecosystems are also healthier and more stable. This field trip will emphasize biodiversity, human impact on the environment, and stewardship. We will include a discussion about biodiversity, and students will have the opportunity to be “citizen scientists” by using the iNaturalist app to track nature observations along the trail. Students will learn about stewardship and how they can be stewards for the environment, including a video about stewardship, which focuses on the stewardship involved with Mission Trails Regional Park. This program begins and ends at the park’s Visitor Center.

NGSS; MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, LS2.C (MS-LS2-4, MS-LS2-5)

Field Trip Reservation Form