• Activities:

    Fishing, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    6.24 Miles

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

360 degree view of North County San Diego on a 40 million year old Volcano. Endless mountain biking trails, fishing, and wildlife.

Lake Calavera Preserve is located in Carlsbad, CA and is home to one of North America's smallest volcanoes. It is the end peak of each trail and is what's known as a "volcanic plug" (cool hardened lava). The northern face of Mount Calavera is that of columnar joints- columns of molded lava. Geologists believe the volcano erupted 15-20 million years ago leaving behind columns of lava which make Mount Calavera what it is today.

Lake Calavera also has an abundance of fishing and wildlife. So if you plan on fishing, there are plenty of spots on shore, as well as locations to launch a raft or kayak to troll the water. The Lake also provides a great number of birds and other animals which make this place a must go for photographers.

The main trailhead begins off Tamarack Ave starting with a paved road. This road eventually leads you to the dam, which dates back to the Second World War. You will cross the Lake and over look a creek off the hillside which runs during the winter months. The path continues looping toward Mount Calavera. Once you reach the top head back down the south side of the peak and you will continue the long, but scenic way back to the main trailhead (6.24mi).

Pack List

  • Water
  • Hiking shoes / Running shoes
  • Camera
  • Telephoto lens
  • Leash for dogs
  • Fishing supplies
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

I'm curious if you contacted the city or another agency to confirm fishing is legal here. I've been searching online and found conflicting information. Please let us know your sources of information.

7 months ago
7 months ago

Took my parents and pup here for a hike and it made for a fun afternoon. Volcano is incredible and even more fun to hike up. Theres tons of mountain bike trails that you can also hike around through- you could spend a whole day here exploring!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

3 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

4 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves