Day Trippin’ with Your Dog: Part 1

I thought I’d share a few places I’ve hiked with my dogs over the past year so you can check them out if you are looking for somewhere new and haven’t been to these places yet. I will try to post a blog with new places once I’ve compiled a few options. If you have any other ones to share in the San Diego area, please feel free to write a comment below.

A very important note to remember whenever you are hiking, be considerate and pick up after your dog and follow the rule that whatever you bring in with you, you carry out with you.

A very limited view of the open area.
A very limited view of the open area.

On your way up to Julian, off Hwy 79, is a wonderful open space to hike with your dogs. We went to the east side of the Santa Ysabel Preserve, which hikes you through the rolling hills with open space on either side of you for miles. Warning! There are cows on the trails!!! Be prepared to moooooove over to give them a wide berth if your dog is a little leery of these large creatures. Besides creatures of the bovine family, there are tons of other wildlife to watch such as squirrels, rabbits and birds. Bring plenty of water as it is quite hot out here with little shady spots along the trail to rest in.

Lake Miramar – A great place to bring your dogs to walk as there are plenty of people, bicyclists, fishermen, and other dogs to socialize with. There are two paths you can take around the lake – the higher, paved path, or the lower, dirt path. Make sure you check your dog’s coat for ticks if walking the lower trail as it does take you through some thick brush. The paved trail has very minimal amounts of shade, but there are benches periodically along the 5 mile loop. Warning! There are many ducks and geese at the entrance (by the main bathrooms) so keep a tight hold of your dog’s leash.

The entire hike to Lake Ramona via Blue Sky Trail can be trying for a novice (such as myself lol) as it is an ascent of 450′ with a hellish switchback for the last 1/4 of the hike. If you can make it to the top, as I did, there is a beautiful lake for you to cool off in and reward your dog with a quick dip. However, if you are just looking for an easy walk through nature, you can enjoy the first half of the trail which takes you through a tree lined path. Warning! Be very aware of snakes!! Bring plenty of water as there isn’t any where to refuel as the heat can be brutal for both you and your dog.

There are several trail options to walk around Lake Hodges so you can visit several times and see something different each time. For instance, we have hiked here 5 times and each time we walked a different trail. A nice hike around beautiful water that surrounds you with fresh air and pretty scenery. Warning! Be very aware of snakes!!

Fiesta Island – This is not a nature trail but still a fantastic place to bring your dog for some fun in the sand. Make sure you drive to the fenced in area (noted on map below) to enjoy a completely safe area for your dog(s) to run around off leash if they have a great recall. Dogs are welcome, and encouraged, to swim in the ocean. With such a large, open area of land, there is hardly an incident of dog aggression and everyone has a spectacular time. Bring plenty of water for your dog to drink after as salt water is dehydrating and most dogs like to drink it.