Tierrasanta, San Diego

Last updated
Tierrasanta, San Diego
T Town
Tierrasanta Sign.jpg
The Tierrasanta sign located on Santo Road
Location map Southern San Diego.png
Red pog.svg
Tierrasanta, San Diego
Location within San Diego
Coordinates: 32°49′15″N117°05′47″W / 32.820833°N 117.096389°W / 32.820833; -117.096389
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States of America
State Flag of California.svg  California
County Flag of San Diego County, California.png San Diego
City Flag of San Diego, California.svg San Diego
108 m (354 ft)
Highest elevation
240 m (780 ft)
Lowest elevation
50 m (180 ft)
Area code(s) 858, 619

Tierrasanta, Spanish for "holy land," or "holy ground", is a community within the city of San Diego, California. The symbol of Tierrasanta is an encircled Conquistador cross, similar to one atop Montserrat (mountain) near Barcelona, Spain, though it no longer holds any religious meaning. The community is referred to as "The Island in the Hills" by locals and on welcome signs, as there are only four roads that lead to Tierrasanta, all which end within the community.



Tierrasanta was originally part of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá ranch, which was active during the late 18th and 19th centuries. The U.S. military purchased the land in 1941 as Camp Elliott, a Marine Corps training facility. The Marines moved out in 1944 and the land was transferred to the Navy. It was deactivated in 1946. In 1961, the U.S. Government sold the area that is now Tierrasanta and a portion of neighboring Mission Trails Regional Park to the City of San Diego. In the following year, the Elliott Community Plan was issued to serve as a roadmap for development going forward, and in 1971 Tierrasanta was founded. The current Tierrasanta community plan was first issued in 1982, and included both the currently developed area and much of what is now Mission Trails Regional Park. [1] Meanwhile, the first master plan for what was to become Mission Trails Regional Park was issued in 1976 with the aid of numerous public agencies, planning groups, and a 45-member Technical Advisory Committee.

Tierrasanta's population had reached about 24,000 by 1980 and when the 1982 Plan was issued the area called Tierrasanta Norte, in the northeastern part of town, had yet to be fully developed. Tierrasanta has been almost fully built out since the early 1990s, and in 2010 had a population of 30,443 (ZIP code 92124). [2] Some 2,300 homes grouped in the southwest portion of town are part of the Murphy Canyon military housing complex. Tierrasanta was one of the first master planned communities in San Diego.[ citation needed ]

The original Community Plan called for an eastward extension of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, with connections to Jackson Drive on the south and Route 52 on the north. However, there long was opposition to the plan due to expected increased high speed traffic. The 2019 Master Plan Update to the Mission Trails Regional Park apparently settled the issue when it declared the plan to no longer be implementable due to resource management requirements. [3]

In addition, there was supposed to be a connection from Tierrasanta Boulevard to Princess View Drive, but this was never constructed. There are also no plans to connect the two Santo Road segments.[ citation needed ]

Because of the area's history as a military training base, some military debris including unexploded ordnance remained in the area when it was developed, in spite of multiple cleanup efforts by different branches of the services. In 1983 two 8-year-old Tierrasanta boys were killed after discovering unexploded ordnance in a canyon near their home. [4] The military has performed clearance operations as recently as 1994 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to investigate the area every five years under its FUDS Formerly Used Defense Sites program. [5]

In October 2003, Tierrasanta, among other communities in San Diego, was affected by what was known as "Firestorm 2003." This was a conglomeration of the Cedar Fire and numerous other wildfires that converged on Southern California. The residents of Tierrasanta were forced to evacuate. Nearly a dozen homes were lost to the blaze. [6] Shortly after, in 2004, the Tierrasanta Community Emergency Response Team (T-CERT) was created for rapid local response to natural disasters. A similar scare swept through Tierrasanta in the fall of 2007, though residents were not required to evacuate.[ citation needed ]


The developed part of Tierrasanta, which rises from west to east and includes numerous canyons, is situated like an island, not directly bordered by any other community. It is bounded on the north by the Mount Soledad (52) Freeway and the sprawling southern fields of MCAS Miramar; on the east by the 8,000-acre (32 km2) Mission Trails Regional Park, which has numerous hiking and mountain biking trails; on the west by slopes overlooking the wide Interstate 15 corridor running from Friars Road to Route 52, and on the south with homes overlooking the Admiral Baker Golf Course and the San Diego River. Community activities focus on the Tierrasanta Recreation Center, which includes lighted sports fields, a large swimming pool, tennis courts managed by the Tierrasanta Tennis Club, a gymnasium, and meeting rooms. [7] Numerous green belts with walking paths run through the canyons, and are maintained by the Friends of the Tierrasanta Canyons. [8] There are a number of entrances to Mission Trails Regional Park, including an entrance with parking at the eastern end of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.

Like most of the coastal areas in Southern California, the natural habitat in the canyons and other undeveloped areas within Tierrasanta, as well as in much of MCAS Miramar and Mission Trails Regional Park, is coastal sage scrub and chaparral. [9]

As described in its 1982 Community Plan, Tierrasanta is a community of single family homes, condominiums, apartments, three shopping centers, a branch of the San Diego Public Library, and a research park. Also located in the community are several elementary and middle schools and Canyon Hills High School, part of the San Diego Unified School District.

Government and culture

The elected Tierrasanta Community Council (TCC), which includes members from each of five geographic areas, plus representatives for commercial, Village Mission Valley Apartments, and Canyon Hills High, has responsibility for community planning and for advising the City of San Diego and other government agencies on local issues. The TCC supports numerous events in the community such as the Concert in the park series, the Patriots Day Parade honoring Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday in May, Oktoberfest and other events.

Dedicated open space areas and landscaped medians are maintained by the Tierrasanta Maintenance Assessment District, which was established in 1972 and most recently approved by voters in 1997. The 818 acres of Tierrasanta Open Space qualifies this urban park as one of the 150 largest in the United States.[ citation needed ]

The Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons is a Tierrasanta-based volunteer group that maintains the open spaces of the neighborhood's canyons.

As of 2021 Tierrasanta's elected representatives included San Diego City Councilman Raul Campillo, County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer of District 3, State Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, Democrat, of District 77, State Senator Toni Atkins, Democrat, of District 39, and Congressman Scott Peters, Democrat, of California's 52nd District.

Cultural amenities

The community has a branch library, jogging/mountain biking trails, baseball and soccer teams, and numerous clubs. The Tierra Times, a community service newspaper, has been published since 1971, and is delivered free to all residents six or more times per year.

An Armed Services YMCA is located in the Murphy Canyon area. The Admiral Baker Golf Club on the southern edge of Tierrasanta has two golf courses with priority given to active duty and retired military members, but is also open to civilians from nearby communities such as Tierrasanta.

Notable residents

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pacific Beach, San Diego</span> Community of San Diego in California

Pacific Beach is a neighborhood in San Diego, bounded by La Jolla to the north, Mission Beach and Mission Bay to the south, Interstate 5 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. While formerly largely populated by young people, surfers, and college students, because of rising property and rental costs the population is gradually becoming older and more affluent. "P.B.," as it is known as by local residents, is home to one of San Diego's more developed nightlife scenes, with a great variety of bars, eateries, and clothing stores located along Garnet Avenue and Mission Boulevard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California State Route 52</span> Highway in California

State Route 52 (SR 52) is a state highway in San Diego County, California, that extends from La Jolla Parkway at Interstate 5 (I-5) in La Jolla, San Diego, to SR 67 in Santee. It is a freeway for its entire length and serves as a major east–west route through the northern part of the city of San Diego. The road connects the major north–south freeways of the county, including I-5, I-805, SR 163, I-15, SR 125, and SR 67. SR 52 passes north of the Rose Canyon Fault before traversing Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. East of Santo Road and west of SR 125, the highway goes through Mission Trails Regional Park, a large open preserve. SR 52 is also known as the Soledad Freeway and the San Clemente Canyon Freeway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mission Trails Regional Park</span>

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Area codes 619 and 858</span> Area codes for San Diego County, California

Area codes 619 and 858 are telephone area codes in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) for most of San Diego County in the U.S. state of California. Area code 619 was created by a split of area code 714 in 1982. In 1999, a part of the 619 numbering plan area was assigned area code 858 in northwest San Diego County. In 2019, the area code boundary between 619 and 858 was eliminated, creating an overlay complex with the two area codes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Park, San Diego</span> Neighborhood in California, US

City Heights is a dense urban community in central San Diego, California, known for its ethnic diversity. The area was previously known as East San Diego. City Heights is located south of Mission Valley and northeast of Balboa Park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Diego Public Library</span>

The San Diego Public Library is a public library system serving the city of San Diego, California.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Diego River</span> River in California, United States

The San Diego River is a river in San Diego County, California. It originates in the Cuyamaca Mountains northwest of the town of Julian, then flows to the southwest until it reaches the El Capitan Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the river's watershed at 112,800 acre-feet (139,100,000 m3). Below El Capitan Dam, the river runs west through Santee and San Diego. While passing through Tierrasanta it goes through Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the largest urban parks in America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mission Hills, San Diego</span> Community in San Diego, California

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University City, San Diego</span> Community of San Diego in California

University City (UC) is a community in San Diego, California, located in the northwestern portion of the city next to the University of California, San Diego. University City is bordered by La Jolla and Interstate 5 to the west, Miramar and Interstate 805 to the east, and North Clairemont and Highway 52 to the south, giving the community a triangular-shaped boundary. University City is a part of District 1, which is represented by Councilmember Joe LaCava on the San Diego City Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">San Carlos, San Diego</span> Community of San Diego in California

San Carlos is a neighborhood in the eastern area of San Diego, California. It borders the neighborhoods of Del Cerro, Tierrasanta, Allied Gardens, the city of La Mesa, and Mission Trails Regional Park. The neighborhood extends to Cowles Mountain at the north.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grantville, San Diego</span> Community in California

Grantville is a middle-class neighborhood in the city of San Diego, in California, United States. It borders the communities of Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Tierrasanta and Mission Valley East.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Serra Mesa, San Diego</span> Community of San Diego in California, United States

Serra Mesa is a community in San Diego, California, roughly between Interstate 805 and Interstate 15, north of Friars Road and south of Aero Drive. It is named for Junípero Serra, a Majorcan (Spain) Franciscan friar who founded the Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Adjacent communities include Kearny Mesa, Tierrasanta, Mission Valley, and Linda Vista.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clairemont, San Diego</span> Community of San Diego in California

Clairemont is a community within the city of San Diego, California, United States. It has a population of about 81,600 residents and an area of roughly 13.3 square miles (34 km2). Clairemont Mesa is bordered by Interstate 805 on the east, Interstate 5 to the west, State Route 52 to the north, and the community of Linda Vista to the south. The community of Clairemont Mesa can be subdivided into the neighborhoods of North Clairemont, Clairemont Mesa East, Clairemont Mesa West, Bay Park, and Bay Ho.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kearny Mesa, San Diego</span> Community of San Diego in California

Kearny Mesa is a community in the central part of San Diego, California. It is bounded by State Route 52 to the north, Interstate 805 to the west, Aero Drive to the south, and Interstate 15 to the east. Adjacent communities include Serra Mesa, Clairemont and Tierrasanta.

Canyon Hills High School is a public high school situated in the community of Tierrasanta within the city of San Diego, California. Previously known as Junipero Serra High School, it was named for Junípero Serra, a Spanish missionary who founded Mission San Diego and other settlements in what is now California. It is a traditional school in the San Diego Unified School District and is the high school for students from Tierrasanta and the adjacent Murphy Canyon military housing community. On March 9, 2021, the San Diego Unified School Board voted to change the name of the school to Canyon Hills High School.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2008 San Diego City Council election</span>

The 2008 San Diego City Council election occurred on November 4, 2008. The primary election was held on June 5, 2008. Four of the eight seats of the San Diego City Council were contested. This was the last election for the odd-numbered districts using the boundaries created by the 2000 Redistricting Committee. No incumbent council members were eligible to run for reelection due to term limits.

East Elliott is an uninhabited community in the city of San Diego. It is bordered by Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to the north and west, the city of Santee to the east, and California State Route 52 to the south. The area houses the Sycamore Canyon Landfill. In 2013 the city of San Diego approved a residential development on the eastern border of the community, and recommended deannexation of the development to Santee.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1959 San Diego F3H crash</span> Aircraft accident

The 1959 San Diego F3H crash was the crash of a United States Navy McDonnell F3H-2N Demon in San Diego, California, on 4 December 1959. The pilot, Ensign Albert Joseph Hickman from VF-121, chose not to eject from the stricken aircraft, piloting it away from populated areas of Clairemont, including an elementary school, saving "as many as 700 people" on the ground, according to one estimate. The aircraft crashed into a canyon, with the pilot being the sole fatality. Hickman has been memorialized in the naming of an elementary school and a sports complex in San Diego. Several decades later, a similar crash occurred in University City, a neighborhood north of Clairemont.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Balboa Avenue Transit Center</span> San Diego Trolley station

Balboa Avenue Transit Center is a San Diego Trolley station in San Diego, California. The station is located along Balboa Avenue between Interstate 5 and Morena Boulevard. Service began on November 21, 2021 after the completion of the Blue Line Mid-Coast Trolley extension project.


  1. Current Community Plan
  2. Census Bureau Fact Sheet Zip Code 92124
  3. 2019 Mission Trails Regional Park Update
  4. Channel 10 news, April 24, 2008
  5. "Tierrasanta". www.spl.usace.army.mil. Retrieved 2022-09-21.
  6. Madaffer, Jim (October 25, 2013). "Cedar Fire Ten Years Later". Scoop San Diego. Retrieved 2014-09-23.
  7. Tierrasanta Recreation Center
  8. Friends of Tierrasanta Canyons
  9. San Diego Regional Coastal Sage Scrub & Chaparral Vegetation Monitoring Program
  10. Leonard, Tod (2013-06-22). "Sports site No. 29: Tony Hawk's alley". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  11. Jenkins, Chris (2011-06-30). "San Diego's Horner: Tour de France his tour de force?". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  12. Ramirez, Sara. "Sara Ramirez | San Diego Reader". www.sandiegoreader.com. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  13. Garin, Nina. "Changing the world one butterfly at a time". mcall.com. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  14. "Local 'American Idol' alum recovering from brain surgery: 'I'm so happy'". FOX 5 San Diego. 2021-03-10. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  15. url=https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/sdut-mundell-lowe-interview-2016mar19-htmlstory.html

32°49′15″N117°5′47″W / 32.82083°N 117.09639°W / 32.82083; -117.09639