Carlsbad is known for it’s beaches, village shopping, brew pubs, flowers and Legoland. No wonder its a popular place to visit. However, what visitors may not know is that Carlsbad has great nature preserves to explore, too. Let me tell you about a really cool nature preserve called Lake Calavera. Why is it so cool? Well, you don’t always get a chance to hike a volcano in Carlsbad at Lake Calavera!
Located inland and surrounded by suburbia is a wonderful nature preserve. At this preserve you’ll find a lake, wetlands, coastal sage-scrub, wildflowers and an old volcano! You’ll also find egrets, herons, and ducks..oh my!
There’s a well maintained hiking trail that’s a 3.2 loop with an elevation gain of 400 ft. There are other inter-twining off shoot trails, where you can hike for several more miles. The trails can be confusing, but there are signs to help you navigate the area. So, you can take an nice leisure hike or climb Mt. Calavera for a more rigorous hike and a sensational view!
The City of Carlsbad recently made improvements along the trails. The best improvement is a new boardwalk over the marsh area in the preserve. It’s a big deal! Very nice to be able to walk through a lovely shaded area on a hot day!
Calavera means skull. It was thought that the mountain looked like a skull and so Mt. Calavera it was named! The mountain is actually an extinct volcano. The lake and dam dates back from World War II. Today you can hike, bike and even take your leashed dog on these trails!
Lake Calavera preserve is a 400 acre habitat to plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and more. You’ll also find stone labyrinths and caves to explore! You can fish on the lake, however, it’s not considered a good fishing spot. Best to stick to hiking and biking!
While it’s not necessary to hike up Mt. Calavera to enjoy this beautiful preserve, but I highly recommend it! The views from the top are remarkable, from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean ! It’s a quick steep uphill hike, but mostly everyone can do it, so do it!
You can spend a whole afternoon exploring this hidden gem! Don’t forget to bring lots of water and sunscreen. It can get pretty hot here because it’s away from the ocean. Lake Calavera is located at 3825 Tamarack Ave. Carlsbad, CA 92010. It’s open 24 hours a day. Phone 760-434-2978 for more information. Enjoy!