Piedras Pintadas Trail

Distance: 3.65 miles
Date: July 1, 2018

I pulled into the dirt parking lot just off West Bernardo Drive. Today’s hike would be along the Piedras Pintadas trail which is along the south shore of Lake Hodges. I grabbed my gear and headed past the informational kiosk and onto the trail. For a portion of the trail, numerous interpretive signs are posted along the trail, describing the life of the Kumeyaay people who once inhabited the area. 

The trail will cross over a creek that feeds into Lake Hodges. The scenery will change from the dry grasses to more riparian as you follow the creek. I also passed the memorial sign for Chelsea King, who was murdered along this trail in 2010. 

I then began to make a small climb toward the self spot. If you are able to hike after some rains, you will pass by a flowing waterfall. 

The trail now turned northward. I opted to take the west branch at the Y. Soon I reach the top of the lollipop and was greeted with a nice vista with Lake Hodges and Bernardo Mountain. I took my required photo and continued up the small ridge. Near its summit is a nice bench to enjoy the view.

I made my way back down to the hill and found myself back at the car in no time at all. If you are looking for a longer hike, you can easily connect it to the Bernardo Bay Trail.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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