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9 of the Best Hikes in Lakeside, California
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9 of the Best Hikes in Lakeside, California

Looking for the best hiking trails in Lakeside? They also offer opportunities to bike, trail run, and explore other outdoor activities too.

Natasha Kouyoumjian

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6 min read

October 27, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

Living in Lakeside, California, the perks are many, but none rank higher than the hiking trails this place has to offer. With enchanting routes and spectacular nature, the city screams hiking with a capital H. Located in San Diego County, the warm weather and the inviting atmosphere are the least of what the trailheads deliver. Luxurious camping experiences, horseback riding, fishing, and rock climbing are all available at Lakeside. With easy, moderate, and hard trails, the trails found in the ingenious area are fit to accommodate all level hikers. If you’re muddled about where to go, we’ve chased down nine fascinating hiking destinations.

The rockiest roads lead to the best destinations.

1. El Cajon Mountain Trail, County Preserve

Location: 13775 Blue Sky Ranch Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 11 miles
Elevation: 3,579 ft
Duration: 6h 55m
Route Type: Out & back
Dogs: Allowed on leash

El Cajon Mount trail at Lakeside, California is the answer for those in pursuit of a good challenge. With its rough sunlit patch and California wildflowers, this trail offers a challenging route for passionate hikers. So get ready to scramble up and down the route as you trek this 7-hour trail. Take in the mesmerizing mountain view that awaits as you reach the peak and take your time staying present with nature. If you’re thinking about what to wear, hiking shoes and khaki pants are highly recommended for this challenging trail. 

2. Oak Oasis Open Space Preserve, County Park

Location: 12620 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.60 miles
Elevation: 311.68 ft
Duration: 1h 4m
Route Type: Loop
Dogs: Allowed on leash

Sometimes, you just need that effortless hike that grants you an awesome reward. An hour on foot to Oak Oasis is the ultimate Lakeside hiking experience you’ve been looking for. Bird watching, mountain biking, and a kid-friendly atmosphere are what make this a great destination for family weekend trips. Bring your cowboy hat for a good photo op as you indulge in some equestrian adventure. Have fun meeting fellow hikers, witnessing the wildlife, and smelling the wildflowers. Make sure the pooches are on a leash to avoid any harm from both sides.

Bask in the colors of the dense gardens, ranging from a broad variety of wildflowers species and embracing the rocky paths.

3. El Capitan Preserve

Location: 13775 Blue Sky Ranch Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 10.37 miles
Estimation: 6h 11m
Elevation: 3,041 ft
Route Type: Out & back

A formidable mountain view awaits the courageous hikers of this trail. With its year-round dawning beauty, this location is every nature lover's dream trail. Take on this track for a 6-hour and 11-minute hike and enjoy one of the spectacular hikes in Lakeside, California. Though an intimidating route, the area is distinctively popular amongst hikers. So get ready to bump into a number of fellow mountaineers on your way. With the trail so sunlit and bright, you might want to stock up on water and sunscreen to dodge dehydration and sunburn.

Enjoy the serene atmosphere and the blue swaths of breathtaking Lake Jennings.

4. Lake Jennings Trail, Lake Jennings Park

Location: 9535 Harritt Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.78 miles
Elevation: 288.71 ft
Duration: 1h 40m
Route Type: Loop
Dogs: Allowed on leash

Fishing, hiking, bird watching, and many more adventures await on this track. This loop trail is a year-round calm and kid-friendly environment, offering you some peaceful family quality time. Track the lush stretches of this trail filled with wildflowers, complemented by a stunning view of Lake Jennings. If you’re hiking with kids, stay mindful of spearing their fingers on the prickly pear while picking a few treats. Enjoy this uncanny trail, home to one of the best lakes in Lakeside, CA. When you feel like you’ve taken in the entirety of Lake Jennings and the surrounding area, continue the loop trail to head back to the car.

Lindo Lake is the only natural lake in San Diego County and features an adorable gazebo in the water.

5. Lindo Lake Loop, Lindo Lake Loop County Park

Location: 12660 Lindo Ln, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.18 miles
Elevation: 26.24 ft
Duration: 22m
Route Type: Loop
Dogs: Allowed on leash

If you’re seeking a light adventure with a luxurious feel to it, Lindo Loop Trail fits the bill. A soft atmosphere governs the area, making it the most family-friendly of trails at Lakeside. Enjoy road biking, fishing, and taking a stroll around the lake on this 22-minute trail. Make sure to bring appropriate snacks to treat the little ducks when they swim to shore and strap a leash to let your furry friends join you on this adventure.

6. Stelzer Park Loop Trail, Louis Stelzer County Park

Location: 11470 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.79 miles
Duration: 1h 28m
Elevation: 620.07 ft
Route Type: Loop
Dogs: Allowed on leash

We don’t condone favoritism, but we are obsessed with this one! This moderately challenging route is oddly one of the friendliest hikes in Lakeside, California. Prepare your camping gear and take on this route for a fun family adventure. Popular for camping, running, and picturesque postcard views, the track gets full quickly, so make sure you reserve a spot. You might also want to check the prices beforehand as they tend to change. The track is also wheelchair and stroller friendly, so you can have a smooth hike with your loved ones while enjoying the tranquility of the flowing river, the palette of the wildflowers, and the magical scenery as the light changes throughout the day. 

Horseback riding can be a fun experience no matter what level you’re on–especially on this historic trailhead.

7. Helix Flume Trail, El Monte County Park

Location: 15805 El Monte Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 1292.65 ft
Distance: 3.60 miles
Duration: 2h 24m
Route Type:
Out & back
Dogs: Allowed on leash

If you’re searching for the coolest hikes in SoCal, you’ve arrived. Get to know this challenging route with a broad variety of activities that will leave you coming back for more. Explore the Flume tunnels and discover the timeline boards describing the history of this unique SoCal trailhead. Enjoy the wildlife as you observe mountain lions in their natural habitat and take part in the action with mountain biking and horseback riding. Embrace the serenity and stillness of nature as you take some time to breathe in the moment for a five-minute meditation exercise to shake off some stress.

8. Historic Flume Trail, Lakeside

Location: 14042 El Monte Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.79 miles
Elevation: 334.64 ft
Duration: 1h 8m
Route Type: Out & back
Dogs: Allowed on leash

For those traveling in groups that include all-level hikers, this Lakeside, California trail is the dress that fits all. Making it what every mountaineer aims for is green landscapes stretching all around this meadow of a route. Enjoy a beautiful view as you walk over this undulating path during a smooth early-bird hike so you can experience the majestic sunrise. Pups are welcome but should be on a leash, so make sure you don’t set them free. 

9. Lakeside Linkage Preserve Trail

Location: Lakeside open space preserve, 9168-9100 Los Coches Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Difficult: Moderate
Distance: 1.98 miles
Elevation: 403.54 ft
Duration: 1h
Route Type: Out & back
Dogs: Allowed on leash

Another memorable hike in southern California is the Lakeside Linkage Preserve Trail. Considering this lakeside hike is located in an open space preserve, the wilderness is a mesmerizing view of wildflowers and wide lands surrounded by mountains. Cross the wooden bridge as the cacti pull at your sneakers, greeting you to the desert wilderness. Enjoy this one-hour mountain trail offering several adventurous activities ranging from rock climbing to trail running and even birding. Remember to bring a hat, as the trail offers little to no shade.

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