Lakeside Linkage Preserve, San Diego County, CA

Lakeside Linkage Trail

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Lakeside Linkage Trail

  • Location: The nearest parking for the Lakeside Linkage Trail is at Los Coches Rd. and Meseta Lane, Lakeside. From I-8, take the Los Coches Rd. exit (22) and head north for 1.5 miles. Park where available at the corner of Meseta Lane and Los Coches Rd., just north of the trailhead. From Highway 67, take the Winter Gardens Blvd. exit (5) and make an immediate left onto Woodside Ave. Go 0.5 mile and turn right onto Los Coches. In one mile, turn left onto Meseta Lane and park where available.
  • Agency: San Diego County Parks & Recreation
  • Distance: 1.9 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Best season: October – June
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles sun hat
  • More information: Trip descriptions here and here; Lakeside Linkage Preserve Facebook page here; Map My Hike report here
  • Rating: 5

This short but enjoyable hike provides a convenient workout with views that are quite impressive on clear days. It can be done as a 1.9 mile loop including city streets as described here or as a 2.4-mile out and back, plus a detour to the historic Whitaker House (1940).

Begin by heading south on Los Coches Rd. In 0.1 mile you reach the entrance to the preserve. The trail skirts the side of a meadow, climbs and drops briefly and then begins the first major ascent up a steep, exposed and often loose ridge. Upon reaching the top of the ridge, you are rewarded with views of El Capitan to the right (east) and of Lakeside’s residential areas (west). A few false trails made by BMX riders cross the top of the ridge but the main route is fairly obvious. Continue north, merging with a fire road 0.6 mile from the start. You follow the road briefly along the backs of some houses before splitting off on a signed single-track trail.

More ascent brings you to two short spurs leading to vista points, one mile from the start. The trail then descends to a paved road (1.2 miles) where you can make a short detour on a trail running alongside the road up to the Whitaker House. To complete the loop, retrace your steps back to the junction and follow an unmarked but obvious trail downhill. It deposits you on Rim Court, a cul-de-sac. Head downhill on Rim Court to Las Coches, turn left and walk 0.4 mile back to your starting point.

Lakeside Linkage Trail, Lakeside, CA
Climbing to the ridge
Lakeside Linkage Trail, Lakeside, CA
View from the ridge
Lakeside Linkage Trail, Lakeside, CA
Leaving the fire road
Lakeside Linkage Trail, Lakeside, CA
View of El Capitan






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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