DISTANCE: 5 MILES ROUND TRIP STEPS: 12K ELEVATION GAIN: 800 ‘ HIKEABILITY: scale 0-10, (0 being Batiquitos Lagoon Carlsbad, 10 being Mt Woodson, Poway.) 3.5 WATER: took 2 liters used 1.25 SNACKS: energy bar, orange. CONDITIONS: temperature 80’s, slight breeze, hot sun RESTROOMS: Chemical toilets at trail head, about one mile from the trail head and at the reservoir
LOCATION: 16275 Espola Road, Poway. From I-15, take the Rancho Bernardo Rd. exit (24) and head east for a total of 3.4 miles. En route, Rancho Bernardo Rd. becomes Espola Rd. Just after the road makes a sharp right turn, look for the entrance to the preserve on the left.
When we talk about hiking the Poway area, a beautiful place to hike indeed, Iron Mountain and Mt. Woodson are always the 2 Peaks that come to mind and rightfully so, both warrant their popularity and “Hikeability”. However another hike in that same general area is the Blu Sky Ecological Reserve. Located off of Espola Rd., in Poway this hike sits in the shadows of Mt. Woodson and in fact a spur off of the Blue Sky Trail can take you to Lake Poway and Mt. Woodson.
On this Saturday 9AM morning start the first challenge to the hike was finding a parking spot. There is a generous sized parking area off of the Trailhead, but it may take you a few laps before a spot opens up. The trailhead is in the southern most part of the parking area but is clearly visible by an information board. There is a restroom, opposite the information board. There are also 2 other restrooms along the trail, one about midway, one at the top of the Dam, your final destination on this hike.
The first 1.2 miles of 2.5 mile trail to the Dam is for at least 75% of the journey, hard packed sand, very wide and easy to navigate and generous shade trees covering the trail. The last section of the hike and climb to the Dam is a little more rocky, but still very easy to negotiate, wide trail and plenty of room. The trail is marked very well with arrowed signs guiding you along the way.
At about the .75 mile mark you will come to a trail spur on the left, which is the Creekside Trail. You can take this to add more diversity, Creekside will detour back into the main trail as indicated on the trail mp on the left. Stay on the main trail for about 1.2 miles. You will come to the Lake Poway Spur. Stay on the main trail as it veers slowly left and to the trail up, again take a left and the final climb to the dam. A sign here makes your journey and the final 3/4 mile ascent to the Dam.
This part of the trail is very strenuous and for the last 1/4 mile is a paved road to the Dam. Once at the top stop here, rest, snack, hydrate. There is a restroom here as well. Once at the “summit” of Blue Sky take in the view of Lake Ramona and consider the option to add more distance and scenery to your hike by heading down to the lake. The trail down to lake is just to the right on the restroom. A larger paved trail continues on and around the lake. The trail is marked by a chain crossing the path, step over this chain and meander down to the “beach’ below. Very quiet, calm and peaceful here. A great spot for lunch and a well deserved break.
Great views of shimmering Lake Ramona and the surround mountainous scenery of the area. There is not much coverage on the ascent up and at the Dam so be aware of hiking in the heat at Blue Sky.
This is a great way to hike the “Hills” of Poway and still get a feel of the diversity of the area, hike a not so common trail as compared to Iron and Woodson and get in a good 5 mile challenge rich in reward and mental and physical health well-being.
An added bonus to hiking Iron, Woodson or Blue Sky is the The Stable’s Corner Juice & Smoothies shop at Espola and Twin Peaks Rd. Hands down the best smoothie shop in San Diego County.
“Hydrate, Respect your Limits, Respect your Partners Limits”