Turtle Head Mountain on Lake Hodges

MODERATE 12 reviews

Turtle Head Mountain on Lake Hodges is a 4.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Escondido, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.5 miles
685 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


nature trips

trail running




wild flowers



no shade

13 days ago

This was an awesome hike. Yes a bit hard to find the trail at points but worth it. Just some fantastic views. loved it

16 days ago

bella e isolata e molto facile

29 days ago

First 1/2 to the lake was easy. From there the trail became extremely narrow along the edge of the lake bank. Some rock scrambling was involved and the trail was overgrown. At times it was difficult to find the trail. Nice views of the lake from that vantage point, but definitely not an easy hike.

1 month ago

okay so i have a lot of thoughts about this hike. starting with the bad, it is 100% mislabeled. in no world is this an easy hike or suitable for beginners. to star with, the trailhead is totally unmarked. the trail starts of pretty easy and has some flora and fauna right out of the gate. however, once you round a part of the hill and the lake comes in view (which is beautiful btw), the terrain gets pretty rocky and the trail narrows quite a bit. there were many spots on this trail where i nearly lost my footing. much of the trail is hugging the sides of the mountains. i had to pick up and carry my day over at several bouldering spots. it’s essentially 5 miles out and back which again i don’t think is really okay for a beginner. the trail spits off a bunch of times and it’s very difficult to figure out where to go, luckily i had my dog and she was able to pick up the scent of the trail but we got off trail at least 3 times. also, this isn’t a point against it because it’s just nature, but i pulled roughly 20 ticks off of us during the hike, so keep a heads up for that. the other thing i did not like about the hike was the big american flag at the end, idk it rubbed me the wrong way and kinda ruined view, plus the flapping in the wind took away the quiet. as for the good, this hike is stunning. easily one of the most gorgeous trails i’ve been on in san diego. it was also silent, nothing but the birds and the wind. and it was so refreshing to be alone, only saw 2 other people the whole day. also at many points there was wild rosemary growing which smelled lovely. it was about 5 miles and 51 flights, this trail should be relabeled as Moderate at the very least. i would give it a perfect score if it was labeled correctly and maintained somewhat better, much of it was overgrown. overall not the hike i set out to have (which could be dangerous for some people) but i am extremely pleased with it, would definitely do again.

2 months ago

Beautiful view of lake Hodges. Most scenic trail in San Diego.

over grown
7 days ago

11 days ago