The San Luis Rey (SLR) River originates in the Palomar and Hot Springs Mountains in eastern San Diego County and extends over 55 miles across northern San Diego County before discharging to the Pacific Ocean in the City of Oceanside. The SLR River parallels Highway 76 in Oceanside. The SLR River drains a watershed of approximately 360,000 acres or 562 square miles. Within the City of Oceanside, the SLR River is fed by one of its tributaries, Pilgrim Creek.
There are numerous land use types within the watershed with the majority of land remaining undeveloped. Higher population concentrations are in the western area of the watershed. Residential and agriculture serve as the dominant land uses in the watershed.
These land uses have introduced many pollutants into the river and have degraded the water quality. The river shows high levels of chloride and total dissolved solids and the mouth of the river has had historical bacterial exceedances.
About 8 percent of the City of Oceanside’s drinking water supply comes from the SLR Valley Groundwater Basin. Water from the basin is pumped from wells and treated at a reverse osmosis plant before being distributed to Oceanside residents.
Recreational Activities: Fishing, swimming, walking, biking, bird watching. The SLR Recreation Tail travels along the south side of the river in Oceanside and is used for biking, jogging and walking.
Public Access: Access along the main stem of the SLR River is minimal. The mouth of the river is easily accessible where the SLR River enters the Pacific Ocean.