Hidden Hike, Huge View

Hike to a huge view at Luelf Pond County Preserve in San Diego County

Luelf Pond County Preserve is just a 5-mile drive away from Dos Picos Regional Park and is a hidden treasure in its own right. This 90-acre park (street parking only) is home to a 1.5-mile (out-and-back) trail with huge rewards. While the pond is likely dry, the trail starts under a dense oak woodland.

Hiker going buy Luelf Pond entrance sign in northern San Diego County

Hiker looking out to view at Luelf Pond County Preserve in northern San Diego County

There are plenty of interpretive signs to read about local ecology before you reach a Y-junction. To the left dead-ends at the border with the Cañada de San Vicente Ecological Reserve (not open to the public), so head right, up the steep ascent, climbing over 300 feet in under a mile. 

Hiker on trail at Luelf Pond County Preserve

While the trail is narrow and overgrown, there are plenty of boulders for much-needed stops during the climb. At the top, you’ll want plenty of time to sit and enjoy the expansive views of the valley to the south.

Return the way you came.

Hiker on a trail at Luelf Pond County Preserve in northern San Diego County

BONUS WINE: Enjoy some of the local wineries post-hike.

Take the I-15 to the Poway Rd. exit and head east. After 8.9 miles, turn left onto the CA-67 and after 6.1 miles, turn right onto Dye Rd. After 1 mile, turn right onto Southern Oaks Rd. and after another mile, turn right onto Willow Oaks Dr., which deposits you at the preserve and street parking. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Matt Pawlik, @mattitudehikes

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