CARLSBAD, Calif. — You don’t have to jet set from San Diego to Hawaii to hike atop a volcano because there’s remnants of one right here in San Diego County.
A dog-friendly trail in east Carlsbad leads adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts alike around a 1.8-mile loop with plenty of sights to see along the way.
The beaten path can be found at Lake Calavera Open Space Preserve, which is home to a well kept non-swimming or boating lake that fuels wildlife in the area. It’s also home to Mount Calavera, which rises to around 513 feet.
What’s especially unique about the area of Lake Calavera Trails, according to the City of Carlsbad, is that at one point there was a volcano here. In fact, Mount Calavera — also known as Cerro de la Calavera — is actually a volcanic plug reportedly created millions of years ago.
These mountainous remnants of past volcanoes are created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano, according to the National Park Service.
There are a couple entryways for Lake Calavera Trails. There’s a trailhead off Tamarack Avenue and another off Sky Haven Lane.
AllTrails, a fitness and travel app used in outdoor recreational activities, considers this hike to moderately challenging with the average time of completion clocking around 39 minutes.
For those who wish to scale to the top, there are some challenging incline trails that can be accessed off of the loop trail. Hikers who trek to the top of this extinct volcano can take in sights of the Carlsbad coast.
According to the City of Carlsbad, Lake Calavera Preserve is the largest of 13 city-owned and managed nature preserves in Carlsbad. City officials say the objective of these conservation plans is to protect the rich diversity of plants and wildlife in San Diego County.
The city explained that Lake Calavera Preserve is actually home to four sensitive plant species and twelve sensitive animal species. This includes California buckwheat, the orange-throated whiptail, the buckeye butterfly and monkey flower, just to name a few.
Lake Calavera Trails is open year-round for hiking, biking and walking your dogs.