- Location: The main trail head is located at the end of Gabbiano Lane in Carlsbad. From Interstate 5, take the Poinsettia Lane exit (45) and head east for 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Batiquitos Drive, go 0.5 miles and bear right onto Gabbiano Lane. Follow Gabbiano about one quarter mile to a dead end near the entrance to the lagoon and park where available.
- Agency: Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation/City of Carlsbad
- Distance: 3.2 miles
- Elevation gain: Level
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo map: Encinitas
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield San Diego County
- More information: Trip descriptions here, here and here
- Rating: 2
Popular with locals, Batiquitos Lagoon offers a hike that is kid- and dog- friendly (bags are usually supplied at the trail head and there are several trash receptacles on the route, making for easy disposal) and can be enjoyable any time of year, even on hot days. Bird watching opportunities here abound (avocet, sandpiper, willet, godwit and more) and with a permit, you can even fish in the lagoon at two designated spots.
The three-mile round trip on the north shore described here is the most popular hike in the lagoon, although visitors can easily extend or shorten the walk as seen fit. From end of Gabbiano Lane, head into the lagoon, at first following a paved trail and then a dirt fire road. Numbered sign posts, keyed to a brochure that can be found online or (supplies permitting) at the trail head, describe the plantlife, including natives such as lemonadeberry and coastal sage scrub and invasives, such as dandelions, mustard, fennel and the eucalyptus trees that provide shade but dominate the landscape. There are even a few clusters of prickly pear and cholla cacti.
At about 0.4 miles, a bench underneath a large palm makes for a nice spot to rest. Traffic noise from I-5 becomes quieter by this point. The trail then crosses a creek on a boardwalk and continues to a junction with another path coming down from a residential area. It continues east, passing a golf course and arriving at a split (1.3 miles). The two paths soon rejoin and continue to another junction, 1.6 miles from the start. One trail heads left and uphill toward Batiquitos Drive while the other continues toward the eastern end of the lagoon. This is a popular turnaround point; you can sit on a shaded bench and enjoy the view for a few minutes before heading back.
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.