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Hiking in San Diego: Lake Hodges South Side

Lake Hodges South Side-slide0
Heather Zupin

Lake Hodges is a reservoir near Escondido and I-15. There is a bike path that connects the two sides and is also the longest stress ribbon bridge in the world. When full, the lake is 115 ft deep and has 27 miles of shoreline.

There are several hiking trails that wrap around the lake. It's best to take a map with you so you can customize how far you want to go. To get to either side of the lake you need to park near the freeway and walk a bit to the trail. The south side is by far a shorter walk from the car to the lake, and overall is the better of the two sides in my opinion.

Once you get to the lake, the trail is narrow and unpaved. Even though it is so close to the highway, the trail was not very busy and seems tucked away from the busy road. This is a good spot for intermediate or advanced mountain bikers. This is not a good trail for small children because the trail can be steep at times and it is easy to slip in the sand.

When it comes to wildlife, this is the best hiking trail in the area. Because it is so remote, the animals are able to flourish without human interaction. There were lizards, frogs, squirrels, birds, butterflies, and beetles. The birds are especially entertaining, even if you are not a bird person. Because there are so many different kinds of birds, they seem to form a hierarchy. It's exciting to watch as the waterbirds move out of the way when the falcons and hawks hunt for dinner at the lake. Their behavior is so similar to the social hierarchies of people and other animals. Watching them reminds you how much we all have in common.