Fun exploring the dead volcano & trails up to the peak. I went late afternoon so there was the local high school cross country team running the trails & a handful of mountain bikers. A times it got a little congested on segments of the trails, but nothing too bad for the time of the day and it's surroundings. My only disappointment was the Motocross guy that came cutting through the preserve which I thought was illegal. I'll assume it was a rare occurrence and chalk it up to odd luck this day.
This is a great trail. Hike down hill from Peninsula drive where you park...Carlsbad village drive to the left. Many variations. Once I got to asphalt road. I took a left and walked across the dam and up the mountain and back the same way for about 3.25 miles and a 640 foot ascent. About 1 hour 5 minutes. Great view from the top. Neat volcano. With so many variations, another great after work place to go. Not as much ascent or trail grooming as their is at Double Peak in San Marcos( about 1000 feet ascent according to my trusty Suunto Traverse), but still a great workout and many variations make this the top Carlsbad choice, I think. Pretty cool to hike up a volcano. I would agree with moderate rating.
Went with friends and my dog. Wish there were more trash cans and shaded picnic tables throughout the trail. Had to either carry full dog poop bags with you for miles, or leave it on the side and pick it up on the way back. Maybe I'll just bring a ziplock next time. It was pretty though! Half of it it shaded. Would suggest wearing a hat because the sun beats down on you during some parts.