Rock the Hope at Lake Elsinore

Hike the Levee Trail at Lake Elsinore in Southern California

Woman and Man hiking at Lake Elsinore in Southern California

Good vibes are a shore thing at Lake Elsinore, Southern California’s largest natural freshwater lake. The 4-mile Levee Trail along the shores of the lake include a whole bunch of winged residents, brilliant panoramic lake views, and a splash of positive energy thanks to the Rock Snake that’s been growing since its creation earlier this year.

Every stone stands out and represents uniqueness, but look for colorful creations and messages of hope, kindness, and love—all much needed and adding good vibes to your aquatic stroll. Park at the Lake Elsinore Storm stadium lot (or street parking, both free) and Levee trailhead, and look for the wide dirt path heading west along the water. The ballpark, which is home to the Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, is worth checking out before beginning your walk.

The trail slithers along the levee shoreline and parallels a strip of water that is home to a variety of waterfowl, from pelicans and egrets to herons, ducks, and coots. You can also spot the striking white and black features of Caspian terns and Baird’s sandpipers wading in the shallows. 

After the rock snake, continue looking for birds to the south in the riparian environment and spot cactus wrens foraging in the scrub sage. The trail eventually bends south and offers plenty of benches to sit on to enjoy the expansive lake vistas that are framed by the Elsinore Mountains (of the Santa Ana range in the Cleveland National Forest) to the west. After 2 miles, you’ll reach a trail junction. You can continue exploring here, or head back the way you came. For a final scene of joy, look for a colony of rabbits amongst a pile of boulders surrounding an early trail segment. 

Rock with a sign painted on it saying Watch for Rocks at aLake Elsinore trail

TAKEOUT TREATS: Hop in your car and drive over to historic downtown Lake Elsinore for lots of mouth-watering local options, or stay close to the hike and visit La Michoacana for a variety of refreshing Mexican treats, from paletas to fruta con chile!

To get to the Lake Elsinore Levee trailhead and parking lot, take the I-15 to the Diamond Dr./Railroad Canyon exit and head west. After 0.5 mile on Diamond Dr., turn right at the stadium (Pete Lehr Dr.). The road veers left into the lot (street park here if the lot is full) and the trailhead is on your right. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View