The 123 acres of open space rises up from the nearby San Elijo Lagoon to the highest elevation of 275 feet. The trail head starts at a small dirt parking lot and climbs up into the Manchester Canyon that is covered with Coastal Sage Scrub and Southern Maritime Chaparral. It is part of the Escondido Creek Watershed that travels all the way past Lake Wohlford in Valley Center.
There was a lot of of blooming wildflowers as Chad, Tori and I climbed the northern ridge along the Powerline Trail. At the top, there was a couple benches with a great view of the entire canyon. Tori completed her daily hand stands before we continued on.
Manchester Preserve was pretty empty and we only encountered one trail runner and another family traveling in the opposite direction on our entire hike.
After descending back into the valley floor along the Sage Trail, we turned right and headed up the other side of the canyon wall on the Gnatcatcher Trail. The trail is named after the endangered California Gnatcatcher songbird that is native to Southern California.