Difficulty G Distance 0 to 2 miles General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 4-6 San Diego - Coastal & Western County Season: All year

Lake Wohlford (Egret Trail)


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Egret Trail, Lake Wohlford, Escondido, CA
View from the bench on the Egret Trail

Lake Wohlford (Egret Trail)

  • Location: Northeastern Escondido. From the junction of Highway 78 and I-15, exit at Lincoln Parkway and head east for 1.3 miles. Turn left on Gamble St., go 0.4 mile and turn right on E. El Norte Parkway. Follow it 3.2 miles to Valley Parkway. Turn left and go 0.8 mile to Lake Wohlford Rd. Turn right and follow Lake Wohlford Rd. for 1.9 miles to an easy to miss junction with Oakvale Rd. Bear right onto Oakvale Rd. and follow it 0.7 miles. The entrance to the park is on the left.
  • Agency: Lake Wohlford/City of Escondido
  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 100 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo map: Rodriguez Mountain
  • More information: Map My Hike report here; trail map here
  • Rating: 5

Located in the foothills above Escondido, Lake Wohlford is best known as a fishing and recreational boating destination, but it also features several hiking trails. The Egret Trail, on the lake’s less-developed south shore, is a good place to keep in mind if you want to escape summer heat, offering a lot of eye candy (mainly in the form of impressive coast live oaks and Engelmanns) in a short distance. The only caveats are large amounts of poison oak (none directly encroaching the trail, but still abundant along the sides) and noise from watercraft and traffic on the opposite side of the lake.

Egret Trail, Lake Wohlford, Escondido, CA
0:00 – Egret trail head (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

The signed trail leaves the east side of the parking area, crosses a couple of footbridges and arrives at a bench overlooking the lake (0.1 mile.) A pleasant stroll among the oaks, glimpses of the lake in between, brings you to a short climb among some boulders. The trail then reaches a clearing with another bench and a portable restroom (0.5 mile) just before a T-junction with a dirt service road. You can retrace your steps, or if you prefer to make the hike into a loop, turning right on the road and following it past a gate where it becomes Oakvale Road. Follow it past a few residential houses to the park entrance, keeping an eye out for traffic. At the park entrance, follow the dirt road down to the parking area.

Lake Wohlford, Egret Trail, Escondido, CA
0:03 – Bench on the Egret Trail overlooking Lake Wohlford (times are approximate)

If you want to further explore Lake Wohlford, check out the Kumeyaay Trail on the north shore. No official trail goes all the way around the lake, but with some bushwhacking, it is possible to do so. The lake was built in 1895 as Escondido’s first reservoir. Originally called Bear Valley Lake, the name was changed in 1924 following the death of local engineer and businessman Alvin Wohlford.

Service road at Lake Wohlford, Escondido, CA
0:14 – Heading back on the service road

Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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