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Lake Calavera Preserve Loop



3.2 mile 5.1 kilometer loop
98% Runnable


Ascent: 180' 55 m
Descent: -180' -55 m
High: 381' 116 m
Low: 223' 68 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 13% (7°)


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Trail shared by Jared Gustafson

Get out and enjoy a great mix of everything Calavera Hills has to offer.

Jared Gustafson

Features Birding · Cave · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

The park's sign says it closes at dusk.


This 3-mile loop around Lake Calavera Preserve offers gorgeous views of its namesake lake, the area's famous volcanic plug, trees, and plenty of scrub brush throughout its rolling route.

Need to Know

The man-made paths are extremely slick when wet or damp! Be very careful if you see moisture on them.

Runner Notes

When on the trail overlooking the lake, be vigilant as there are a few blind corners where MTBers could come around. There are lots of trail extensions to increase your run to at least 15 miles. Run up to the volcano summit and find the cave on your way down...


Start out by parking at the Sky Haven East Trailhead Parking and heading across a loose dirt path to the Lake Loop Trail. Take a left onto the trail, then head down to the creek crossing. Be careful on the trail if it's wet, as it can be very slippery!

From the path, stay right and head straight up the trail instead of continuing on the Lake Loop Trail (you'll get there later). Shortly up the trail, you'll see a right, which you'll want to take to enjoy the up and down singletrack. You'll climb out of the singletrack toward power poles before connecting with the fire road and heading right.

You'll soon make a "T" with the next fire road and head right down the steep grade before climbing back out. You'll level out with homes on your left, then head right back down and up to a wide path on your right, where looking left you'll see an iron gate leading toward a street.

Hug the fence on the right and follow the fence to the large boulders marking the trail intersection where you'll keep right. Stay on the main trail down and follow the signs taking you left. You'll see the lake soon enough as you follow the path above the lake.

Watch for blind corners where mountain bikers may be coming around. If you run with music, keep at least one earbud out so you can hear what's happening around you.

The upper lake path will weave left and right then take you down a rocky descent where you can work on your fancy footwork bouncing down the rocks. At the dam, keep right and connect with the trail on your right just after the steep cement-path incline. You'll follow this fire road all the way back to the car.

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Nov 2, 2018
Ernesto Llanes

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 8 votes


  3.9 from 8 votes
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in California


269 Views Last Month
4,110 Since Jan 8, 2017



Looking back on the path you traveled around the base of Calavera Volcano.
Feb 16, 2017 near Carlsbad, CA
Intersection of Back Stretch and Main Trail.
Feb 16, 2017 near Vista, CA


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