San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve

EASY 25 reviews

San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Solana Beach, CA that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.0 miles 252 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

beach

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

A beautiful backdrop wherever you go, the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve has amazing views to offer every which way you look. Do be careful of rattlesnakes and mountain lions as this is an active ecological site. Dogs must be kept on a leash, and half of the trails (east of the I-5 freeway) are open to horse back riders as well.

1 day ago

easy but still very pretty.

walking
2 days ago

2 days ago

walking
8 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

Great fun for the whole family! If you've got little ones I definitely recommend visiting the information center. Lots of cool live animals to see (snakes, turtle, lizards, ect) and you can pick up a scavenger hunt from the employees (or there are some outside on the sign) and turn it in when done for a Jr Ranger badge! After we did that we drove to the other side of the reserve (just one more exit south) and checked out Annie's canyon trail. So fun especially for my 9 year old. Lots of steep and narrow spots but definitely worth checking out. My 3 year old was able to make it up with a little help from Daddy but he did great and really enjoyed it as well. We will be back!

1 month ago

Tons of mosquitos !!! And freeway noise most of the trail . Aside of that the locals and joggers are very friendly ... I was stopped 3 different times by hikers trying to find the canyon... I walked the wrong direction up the oil pipeline , u want to head towards the west side of the freeway

2 months ago

Very good with family

hiking
2 months ago

we hiked to Annie's Canyon. it was a beautiful day. went in early at around 7 am, later than that and it get crowded.

hiking
2 months ago

We took the La Orilla trail toward Rios trail and went up to Annie's Trail where the caves and rocks are at. It was amazing. The narrow rocky pathways where really cool

hiking
2 months ago

What makes this trail special is Annie's Canyon trail nestled within the San Elijo Lagoon trail system.
Annie's is a slot canyon created out of the erosion of sandstone over thousands of years. You can hike up through the canyon squeezing through crevices that are sometimes only a couple feet apart. Check out the photo's I posted here.

5 months ago

5 months ago

6 months ago

I was a nice little hike. I really enjoyed the mushroom caves. it kind of reminded me of Zion walking through the canyon. very easy and relaxing walk.

hiking
6 months ago

Lovely walk. Great run. Not super stroller friendly unless u have another person. Shady at times. Not super crowded and lots of park rangers walking around so feels safe.

hiking
7 months ago

The trail itself is pleasant, with lots of birds and is more of a marsh path. The exciting parts happen in the mushroom caves, which requires more light bouldering and climbing up the slippery sandstone.

birding
7 months ago

8 months ago

Very nice, light walk around the lake. The mushroom caves are super cool to check out

hiking
2 years ago

I did the stretch of this trail from N. Rios Ave in Solana Beach to I-5 with a group of Cub Scouts about a year ago. It was a great opportunity to look at tracks in the soft mud in the lowlands just west of I-5, as well as the shorebirds along the lagoon. I've also done this one end-to-end by myself, and it's a nice coastal trail, although parts of it are quite exposed. There are a few benches along the trail east of I-5 where you can stop and have a lookout over the inner lagoon area. Start early in summer, because this trail is pretty exposed.

hiking
2 years ago

Great nature trail for little kids to explore! I had a lot of fun teaching my kids about the lagoon. We saw a lot of crabs, fish jumping out of the water, different plants. Surprisingly, not many birds in the water at all! Could have been the weather, it was quite hot, but a nice breeze coming from the ocean. My kids earned a junior ranger badge when we did the activities that we picked up from the visitor center. We can't wait to go back and explore some more.

We did the small loop from the visitor center on the north side, then drove over to do some of the south trails. We parked on Rios.

hiking
2 years ago

This would be a much better trail if it was a loop. But is is kept up well and there are a lot of birds. However, there is a constant hum from the highway.