Rancho La Costa Habitat Conservation Area

This small network of trails with a cumbersome name includes Carlsbad’s high point and allows for some pretty nice views of North County, as well as a decent, easily accessible workout.

Distance: 4.4
Elevation Gained: 600′
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1:30
Critters: None

Get there like this. 


As I increasingly turn to newer experiences, I’ve started exploring some of the community trails and local trail networks in and around North County San Diego. Now, this region is heavily developed, and only small pockets of open space remain, so the variety and availability is pretty slim. That said, what remains is actually pretty good, and there are a fair amount of quick and easy hikes/workouts to be found.

This small reserve in east Carlsbad is one of them. Several miles of trails wind up to a flat summit, from which one can gain a fairly panoramic view of San Diego. Another benefit to these trails is that you will rarely ever be along, and you are never in a truly remote area. That’s good news for novice hikers who seek an easy hike but don’t wish to be out in the middle of nowhere. The reward is decent, given the locale and the effort expended, and this hike would be sufficient to get some people more enthused about hiking.

Batiquitos Lagoon

There are any number of ways to the top. I took a loop heading up the south side and coming down the east side of the hill. Both trails switchbacked gently, and I never had to exert too heavily. I actually jogged down the backside for my first trail running experience. It’s just like hiking, only faster. All told, it was a good workout snuck into a busy work week. Not bad if you have a brief period of time and don’t want to go far.

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