Heller’s Bend Preserve is one of Fallbrook’s beautiful hiking trails which has been protected and maintained by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. This conservancy, as well as all the conservancies in San Diego County, has done such a great job preserving open spaces for us and future generations to enjoy. The wildlife thanks them very much too.
This is a short and easy hike with a 550 ft. elevation that will greet you with beautiful views at the top. Much of this hike is shaded making it even more enjoyable. Please note that the parking is literally non-existent and right along a windy 2-lane road. There are a couple dirt pull-offs for cars but that is it! For this reason, expect the hike to be isolated.
The Fallbrook Historical Society did a great job researching the back-story of how this preserve got its name. You can read the full article here. Before South Mission Rd. was constructed in the late 1940’s, Heller’s Bend was the only way to head into Bonsall, Vista & onward south.
This was a very dangerous, dark and windy road with a decent amount of serious car accidents. It seems like it was mostly out-of-towners that were crashing as the locals knew the road quite well.
How this trail got its name, Heller’s Bend, actually dates back to 1920. During this date a prominent figure almost flew down the bank after the steering gear on his car broke down while rounding the corner by the big “Heller” sign. Ever since then it was known as Heller’s Bend.
Before being bought out by Safeway, Heller’s Grocery store was the first major grocery store chain in San Diego County. It was not uncommon for the chain to advertise its shops through large billboards in neighboring towns.
After the new South Mission road was put in, I read that Heller’s Bend became more of a make-out spot for local teenagers to hang out. How cute.
As I mentioned above, parking here is scarce. Thankfully we do have a nice list of all hiking spots and hidden gems in Fallbrook if you absolutely cannot find a place to park and enter. The trailhead is alongside a windy road so I wouldn’t be parking far and walking alongside it just to do this trail.
Once you’re actually inside, you will quickly see how special this place is. It is lush all year long thanks to the canopy of oak trees which line much of the paved trail. We did find little off-trails which lead to what appeared to be an old orchard.
As you continue up the paved path, head right for the overlook. The trail does appear to just end abruptly and if you head left it gets even more confusing as you walk along homes and feel as though you’re possibly trespassing onto someone’s property.
I would just go to the over-look and be on your way back down the hill personally.
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