Tag Archives: Hiking

27th annual San Marcos Trails Day (postponed for rain)

Lace up your hiking boots, air up your bike tires, saddle up your horses and join the city in celebrating the 27th annual San Marcos Trails Day on Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 9 am to 1 pm.

Hike participation is free and will begin at 9 am; hikers can start signing in at 8 am. Hikers, kids bike ride and walkers will meet at Lakeview Park/Discovery Lake, 650 Foxhall Drive. Equestrian riders will meet at the Ridgeline Trailhead, 102 San Elijo Road. The staging area will also feature food and giveaways.

“Trails day is a celebration of the outdoors and in San Marcos we have something for everyone,” said Community Services Director Buck Martin. “With more than 63 miles of trail connecting to the entire region, San Marcos offers an extensive trail network for residents to discover.”

An easy two-mile hike will visit Discovery Lake and the Discovery Creek trails.  A more challenging seven-mile hike will explore the trails that lead to Double Peak Park.  Mountain biking enthusiasts are encouraged to bring bikes and enjoy the ride.

“Adventures are meant to be shared and this event is a great opportunity to meet new people in your community and share a fun experience on a local trail,” said Martin.

An adult must accompany all minors.  Sturdy walking shoes are recommended; bring water, sunscreen and trail snacks.  Dogs must be on a maximum 6-foot leash at all times. The hike is subject to cancellation in the event of rain.

Event participants are encouraged to share your hiking moments on Instagram by tagging the city with @sanmarcoscity and using the hashtag #DiscoverSanMarcos .

For more information on hikes or the city’s trails, please visit www.san-marcos.net/trails

San Marcos Trails Day postponed due to rain

Due to forecasted rain, San Marcos Trails Day has been rescheduled to coincide with National Trails Day on Saturday, June 2.

Summer brings warm temps and scaly critters

Summer brings warm temps and scaly critters 

As summertime brings warmer temperatures, more fury and scaly creatures have begun appearing in our yards and parks.

While April and May mark the start of rattlesnake season in San Diego County, recent reports have described increased snake sightings. As the reptiles come out of hibernation, it is not uncommon to spot them locally, though bites are rare. Most sightings are likely to happen between now and October.

“Snakes are most likely venturing out in search of food and to soak up the sun,” said San Marcos Park Ranger Ron Vinluan. “People think they’re going to chase you—that isn’t so. They don’t want anything to do with us.”

If you encounter one of the four varieties of rattlesnakes found in the county, give it space. Calmly back away from it, leave it alone and let it go on its way, Vinluan continued.

To avoid encounters with rattlesnakes, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests these safety steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of startling a rattlesnake:


  • Never go barefoot or wear sandals when hiking. Wear sturdy hiking boots with loose-fitting long pants to protect feet and ankles.
  • Stay on paths and trails, avoiding tall grass, weeds and brush where snakes may hide.
  • Keep your dog on leash while hiking and be aware of what your dog is doing at all times.
  • Make sure you can see where you are reaching and that you can see ahead of you. Look for concealed snakes before picking up rocks, sticks or wood.
  • Be careful when stepping over doorsteps as snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
  • Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
  • Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.

If bitten or you feel a snake or other animal is dangerous, call 911 immediately. For more information about rattlesnakes in California, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/Snake.

For more information about San Marcos parks, trails and outdoor adventures, visit www.san-marcos.net/play or contact San Marcos Community Services at (760) 744-9000.

Take a hike: San Elijo Hills planned with trails in mind-Sign on San Diego


When San Elijo Hills, a 1,921-acre, 3,400-home master-planned development in San Marcos began in the mid-1990s, more than half of its acreage — 1,115 acres — was set aside as permanent open space.

When its first residents moved in during 2000, their neighborhood’s amenities included 18 miles of hiking/biking/horseback riding trails, that also welcome leashed dogs.

The highest peak in North County is reached on one of those trails, the Double Peak Trail, covered in this column recently.

I explored another trail in the San Elijo Hills system that afforded amazing views virtually 360 degrees around. I enjoyed a splendidly clear day in early November, and since that kind of weather is more common in fall and winter, grab your hiking stick and head for these hills.

I carved out a loop trail that began at the Sunset Trail at the northern edge of San Elijo Hills Park, a 19-acre community park that fronts the town square. This park is also the maintrailhead for that 18-mile network of trails.

Most of the trails are paved, and my route followed the hills and valleys of this canyon-dotted terrain, making for some semi-strenuous ups and downs.

Heading out on the Sunset Trail, School House Way Access, I descended a short way to a T-intersection, where I turned right (north), hiking down and up some canyons. You’ll see a huge power tower ahead, which is basically where I headed.

The Sunset Trail eventually hits a suburban street, where gates prohibit vehicular access to these trails. Take a right here, past another gate across the road, and walk a short way up to the continuation of the trail on your left, here made from decomposed granite.

This trail winds up, again heading for that power tower. Where the grade is so steep that a sign here asks bikers to walk their bikes uphill, an alternate switchback trail immediately to the right takes hikers up to the same spot more gradually.

As you look around, you can see the Batiquitos and Agua Hedionda lagoons, the power plant on the coast in Carlsbad, and even a faraway glimpse of high-rises that are likely in the UTC area.

At the top of that switchback, the trail hits another intersection: left to Lake San Marcos trails and right to the Ridgeline Connector Trail. I took the left to see the lake. READ MORE VIA SIGN ON SAN DIEGO

A tale of two trails: Double Peak in San Marcos pulls double duty-San Diego UT

Sunset at Double Peak Park

Image by jimmsgi via Flickr

BY DOUG WILLIAMS-San Diego Union Tribune

Double Peak Trail in San Marcos draws mountain bikers as well as hikers.

SAN MARCOS — In literary terms, the trip up Double Peak can be told in two ways.

There is the novel, and then there is the short story.Preview

The long version makes for a nice morning or afternoon outing up Double Peak Trail — just one piece of the city of San Marcos’ extensive trail system — that ends at the 1,644-foot summit.

At 5 miles round trip, starting from Discovery Lake Park, the trail is long enough and steep enough for a good workout, but also family-friendly enough that almost all ages can do it – with a few rest stops, perhaps.

For those who live nearby, it’s a release valve.

It’s a trail Brad Freese of San Marcos says he tries to do “at least once a week.” I enjoy it,” Freese said, pausing as he headed uphill on a recent late afternoon. “It’s nice to be 10 minutes from home and essentially have the chance to get out on a trail, out in the open, without having to go out to the Cuyamacas or someplace like that. It’s very nice.”

The trail begins at Discovery Lake, where hikers – and mountain bikers – take off on a wide path that crosses a spillway bridge and then climbs steadily toward the new hillside homes of the Stone Canyon development.

Here, the way is paved and you hardly feel as if you’re headed into the wilds, but the views — looking back down on the little lake and new homes — are immediately rewarding.

After following the signs through a small section of the housing development, you’ll come out the other side onto a well-groomed dirt track. Follow the trail signs as you head higher on switchbacks cut into hills covered with such plants as manzanita, scrub oak, a few remaining wildflowers and coyote bush.

Below, built into canyons, you’ll see red-tile roofs and blue backyard pools of the new development, a contrast of colors against the dry, wild vegetation of browns and light greens.

But remember to keep your eyes on the trail. Even though you may not feel like you’re out in the wilds, critters are about. As I focused on a roadrunner up ahead on the trail, I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake. Be careful out there.

Eventually, about a half-mile from the top — as hikers pass through a gate that carries a sign warning of recent mountain lion sightings — the dirt trail intersects with a paved, two-lane road. And it’s here where the short-story version of Double Peak is unveiled. You find out you could have driven to the top.

The long story: A 2.5-mile uphill walk.

The short story: A quick drive from San Elijo Road on the other side of the mountain to Double Peak Drive to Double Peak Park. READ MORE VIA SD UT


Ridgeline Trailhead to open to public on Friday


san elijo hills trail

Image San Elijo Life


The new Ridgeline Trailhead in San Marcos will open to the public on Friday, October 15, 2010. The trailhead is located at 102 San Elijo Road, about two miles south of SR-78 on Twin Oaks Valley Road.

The Ridgeline Trailhead includes vehicle and horse trailer parking, restrooms, drinking fountains, shaded picnicking, views of South Lake (a future city park location), and trail access to the Lakeview, Double Peak and Ridgeline trails. There are also bicycle racks and horse tie rails available at the site.

The $1 million trailhead was funded through an agreement with the developers of San Elijo Hills. The agreement also included the development of the entire ridgeline trail system, open space, remote group picnic area, Double Peak Park and San Elijo Park.

The Ridgeline Trailhead provides one of the easiest access points to the Cerro De Las Posas Ridgeline as the trail access location is at the same elevation as much of the Ridgeline trail. Outdoor enthusiasts looking for a more vigorous hike, bike or horseback ride may do the five-mile loop down to Discovery Lake and then back up Twin Oaks Valley Road. There is also a slightly shorter look up to Double Peak Park using the Double Peak Trail and then returning via the Secret Trail.

The City of San Marcos features a proposed 72 miles multi-use trail system. There are 56 miles of existing trails currently that are great for hiking, biking, running, equestrian use and more.

For more information, please call the San Marcos Community Services Department at (760) 744-9000 or visit www.san-marcos.net (Departments/Community Services/Trails).

Check It Out: Elfin Forest Reserve- San Diego Union Tribune

Cliffs in Elfin Forest, San Diego County.

Image via Wikipedia


San Diego Union Tribune

THE PLACE: Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

With a beautiful drive as therapeutic as the scenic hikes, it’s not difficult to figure out why people visit the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. This 784-acre open-space reserve opened in 1991. It offers about 11 miles of hiking trails and six designated picnic areas and viewpoints, which include drinking water and bathrooms.

Thirteen trails with varying lengths, steepness and vegetation can be found, some of which feature scenic overlooks of the reserve, Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir, Escondido Creek, Lake Hodges, Channel Islands, Coronado Islands, the Laguna and San Bernardino mountain ranges or Pacific Ocean. Trails can be used for hiking, biking, horseback riding or walking dogs. The reserve offers free guided tours that range from fast-paced hikes to slow interpretive walks. A new addition to the reserve is the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, which is next to the main parking lot. The Interpretive Center is free to walk through and is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Designed by local artist James Hubbell, the small building opened in 2009 and is made of recycled materials. READ MORE VIA San Diego Union Tribune

Recent Mountain Lion Sightings Symphony/Montage vacant development in San Elijo Hills

The security guard for the Symphony/Montage vacant development in San Elijo Hills has reported a recent mountain lion sighting.  This location would match sighting last fall and this past spring.

The following safety tips are provided by the California Department of Fish and Game. They are based on studies of mountain behavior and analysis of attacks by mountain lions.

  • Don’t hike alone. Go in groups, with adults supervising children an keep children close to you. Observations of captured mountain lions reveal that the animals seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within your sight at all times.
  • Don’t approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • Don’t run from a lion. Running stimulates a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so that they don’t panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the lion.
  • Don’t crouch or bend over. A squatting or bending person looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal.
  • Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one. Throw stones, branches or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
  • Fight back if attacked. Some hikers have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. For more information about mountain lions, contact the Department of Fish and Game (DFG), case of emergency call 911 and DFG at 916-445-0045