Rock the Hope at Lake Elsinore

Hike the Levee Trail 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. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

  2. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

  3. Strolling With Sam

    Most people come to Samuel P. Taylor State Park for the beautiful creekside campground and picnic areas. But the hiking here can be pleasantly peaceful on a short trail featuring old-growth redwood trees.

  4. Sponsored

    Four Ways to Fall for North Lake Tahoe

    As vivid autumn colors start to line the sky and crowds begin to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking secret season takes over and is a favorite among locals. With turning leaves, crisp air, and 12 towns to explore, North Lake Tahoe is the place to disconnect.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

  2. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

  3. Rock Star Hike

    The sandstone giants of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park might be the coolest damn formations in SoCal. Explore the craggy slabs on a 2.5-mile hike.

  4. Clarity in Claremont

    The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is inaccessible, rugged terrain but there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained and feels gloriously far away, despite being close to the city.