Chollas Creek arises in Lemon Grove and La Mesa, where its four branches begin. It flows through many of San Diego's most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and empties into the Bay at Barrio Logan.
The 30-mile-long creek and its small canyon are undeveloped, although portions of it have been armored or channelized. It has been described as "one of San Diego's most neglected watersheds." For decades the creek has been plagued by pollution, illegal dumping and the destruction of natural habitats. In 2002 the city of San Diego adopted a 20-year, $42 million plan to rehabilitate the creek. Regular cleanups to remove trash and encourage native plants are conducted by local groups like the Friends of Chollas Creek and Groundwork San Diego.