Hiking Lake Calavera’s Volcano

Sundays are lazy days for us – we sleep in, head to church at 12:45, get home around 2:15, eat a late lunch, and usually hit the pool, beach, or do a hike of some kind later in the day. Last Sunday, we chose to do a hike – a hike up an extinct volcano, to be exact. 🙂

THE MINI APARTMENT carlsbad hike

Lake Calavera is a short drive from our house, nestled in the suburban neighborhoods of North Carlsbad, in Southern California. There is an inactive volcano at the south end of the lake – it’s a steep and rocky climb, and not for the faint of heart. We parked our car at Oak Riparian Park and walked to the trail mouth at the intersection of Lake Blvd and Emerald. From there, it’s a relatively short trek around slightly confusing trail markers that will eventually lead you to a clearing where you can make the steep ascent to the top of Mt. Calavera. John was very insistent on making the steep climb, I was a little more reluctant – but hey what’s life without a little adventure! It was definitely steep, but so worth it once we reached the top!

The views from the top were breathtaking – you could see 360 degrees across all of North County. The most interesting sights were the devil’s postpile-esque rock formation on the side of the mountain, the rock/succulent shrine at the top before the descent (which was actually a Poke-stop, go figure), and the crop-circle rock formations you could see below by the lake:

John and I had such a fun time on this hike (even though I was slightly complainy about how steep it was on the way up). The trek down was just as intense as coming up – but stopping along the way to catch desert Pokemon (no shame) and taking pictures of the scenery made it all the more fun.


This hike took us about 2 hours, and was a total of 3.5 miles round trip. The only downside of hiking local (at least in our opinion) is being within shouting-distance of houses and people’s backyards. We miss living in the Northwest and going on hikes in the middle of the forest and mountains where there’s no civilization. But since we’ll be in San Diego for a while, we are eager to venture further out to find more fun day hikes! Finding local hikes are the perfect way to turn any date day into an adventure. You’re getting a workout in, exploring new places with your person, and getting to spend quality time together!It’s definitely something John and I love to do together, and we can’t wait until we get to turn day hikes into camping trips.

What is your favorite day hike to do in your area?

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