Laguna Meadow

High wind warnings on Father’s Day kept us from driving up to Laguna Meadow for a hike. Thankfully, this past Sunday the weather looked almost perfect. The three of us drove up to the Laguna Campground and found some parking near the trailhead. After applying a good covering of sunscreen, we set off along the trail. We did not have an exact goal in mind, more letting my foot tell me what it could handle. I was hoping that I might break the 3-mile mark. 

I opted to take the trail to the right, as it would pass closer to Little Laguna Lake. It still held water, along with a few ducks as well. We continued walking along the trail, stopping at times to let mountain bikers pass by. Just before we reached Big Laguna Lake, we climbed a small knoll to stop under the shade of some pines. This gave everyone a nice breather. Once everyone was rested and hydrated we set off to cross the small dam that forms the southern end of the lake. A herd of cows was milling around. I took the lead and had my wife hold our dog close. I slowly began crossing, giving the cows plenty of room and time to “moo-ve” along. The trail here was narrow and as you might expect a bit overgrown. Carefully looking down in the grasses to the side of the trail, tiny frogs could be spotted hopping around. I tried to grab a photo but had no luck in capturing anything. 

About halfway across the dam three mountain bikers, who had stopped at the end of the dam, decided they needed to cross while we were on it. So they forced us to stop off trail, while they rode past. I guess they never bothered to read those “who yields to whom” signs… I debated mentioning something but had a feeling it would fall on deaf ears.

Once across, we continued southwest toward the Water of the Woods and the Los Rasalies Ravine. At the junction with the Sunset Trail, we found some rocks to sit on under the shade of the trees. The meadow, the pond, the smell of the forest—this was what I have been missing for almost a year. While I wanted to keep going and turn this into a large loop, I felt it would be wiser for my foot to just return back the way we came.

A few more bikers, along with some fellow hikers, passed us as we made our way back to the car. Instead of taking the exact same route back, I opted to have us cross over the meadow to the eastern side and use the Laguna Campground Spur Trail instead. This trail had a bit more shade, and since the day was warming up, it was welcomed by everyone. Soon, we spotted the glint of sunlight bouncing off the windshields of the cars at the campground. We stepped through the gate, and our hike was done. All told, we hiked 3.4 miles. With all the stops to allow folks to pass, the time was a tad on the slow side. But more importantly, the foot felt pretty good. A couple more hikes about this length and then it will be time to start adding some elevation gain into the adventures again!

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, Central Coast, 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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