Distance: 6 miles out and back if you hike along road .5 mile past Dam to trail down to lake, otherwise to dam and back is 5 miles.
Hike Date and Time: Sunday August 26, 2012 3PM-5:30PM
Hike-ability: Easy to moderate, mostly easy
Water: 33oz plus Liter of Gatorade
Directions: 6275 Espola Rd, Poway, CA 92064 Map
The Blue Sky Ecological Preserve trail is a well-kept secret of a hike hidden in the shadows of its big brother, Mt. Woodson in Poway. Not only does this trail offer similar scenic beauty as Mt. Woodson, it also has its own lake embedded in the hike as well!
Although unlike Lake Poway, which starts out the Woodson trail, Lake Ramona is at the end of the Blue Sky Preserve trail and in my opinion a much more radiant Lake due to its naturally barren scenic surroundings and a very welcoming and rewarding end to this out and back hike.
The Blue Sky Preserve trailhead start is well laid out as you pull in off of Rancho Bernardo Rd (which turns into Espola). The trail itself is well marked, wide, and consists of alternating compacted earth and sand, no rocks or gravel.
As you start out on the trail you immediately get a feel of a “mountain” hike as the hills and peaks of the area cover the landscape ahead.
The openness of the trail gives way to a tree-covered path, as many California Live Oaks surround a good portion of the middle of this hike. Signs will guide you as you go along this very flat and fast trail. At about the two-mile mark you will come to the more challenging part of this hike and well within site of the Dam that forms Lake Ramona.
You will begin a steady ascent for the last third of this hike, which leads you to the Dams edge, and a spectacular view of Lake Ramona. Many stop here, but my son and I continued on so that we could find a trail that winds down to the lake.
You can also make your way along the lakes edge along a somewhat formed trail that will lead you back to the main trail and the top of the Dam. From here it is the same trail back the return hike back to the trailhead start. The plant life highlights of this hike as mentioned before are the groves of California Live Oak.
Another highlight of this hike to add to the before mentioned, is the fact that this hike, especially upon the return gives you a detailed view of the Mt. Woodson trail from start to finish. Its an interesting view in that you can see the total distance of the hike which looks much shorter and effortless compared obviously to the enduring nature and length of the trail as compared to when you are in the moment hiking it.
I really enjoyed this hike and all that it offered in first time hiking this trail, scenery, the California Live Oaks. the challenge of the trail as well as the beautiful Lake Ramona.