Lake Poway Trail

While many people go shopping on Black Friday we opted to be outdoors and ventured to the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway, CA. This reserve is a 700 acre canyon with a variety of trails including the popular Mount Woodson Trail. This was our first visit to the reserve, but it won’t be our last. On this trip we explored the Torretto, Green Valley Truck, and the Lake Poway Trails.

We parked shortly after entering the parking lot and took the first trail up the hill. This was the Torretto Trail which winds past an amphitheater and connects with the Green Valley Truck Trail. After almost a mile on the Green Valley Truck Trail we took the trail to the right which is the Lake Poway Trail. After a short time on the trail we came across a restroom and picnic area.

Torretto Trail
picnic area

Shortly after passing the picnic area the trail starts to incline and wind around as it approaches the lake. This part of the trail is a bit challenging because of the steep inclines and large rocks on the trail. The views of the surrounding mountains, however, more than make up for the effort. As you approach the lake you see the dam and eventually climb up to overlook the lake.

Lake Poway Trail
Lake Poway Trail
Lake Poway Trail

As we overlooked Lake Poway we found a trail that descended down to the lake. This was a sharp descent that is not recommended for those unsteady on their feet. Going up on our return was much easier than climbing down with a young rambunctious dog. Luckily I managed to slow her down and stay vertical!

Lake Poway Trail

Lake Poway is a beautiful lake that is not only the water supply for Poway, but is also used for boating and fishing. The lake can be accessed either by hiking to it as we did or entering the park off Lake Poway Road. There is a fee for non-residents on weekends and holidays if you park here.

Lake Poway

After exploring the lake we climbed back up the trail and retraced our steps to the car. Our total hike was just under 5M. As indicated on the trail map we could have walked entirely around the lake or hiked to Lake Ramona or Mount Woodson. We will definitely return to do all of those things.


We really enjoyed the hike and encountered many other people and dogs on the trails. All the trails are pretty wide with the Green Valley Truck trail the widest. It’s more like a dirt road than a trail. The Lake Poway Trail was a little more narrow, but still wide enough to walk with several people across.

The trail is hard packed dirt with vegetation on both sides. The Green Valley Truck Trail has quite a bit of vegetation and trees, making this the most shaded part of the trail. The Lake Poway Trail is less shaded and could be quite warm on a sunny, summer day. The day of our hike it was mostly overcast making for a pleasant hike.

Lake Poway Trail
Lake Poway Trail

Our Rating

We give the Lake Poway Trail at the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve 4 out of 4 paws up. It literally has everything we love – challenging trails, a water feature, wonderful scenery, great parking, and restrooms. It also has some benches along the trail overlooking the mountains and even a picnic area in the woods. There are also several different trails in the reserve so we plan to visit again and hike on those.

How Do I Get There?

The parking are for the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve is at 16275 Espola Rd. in Poway, CA. From I-15 North take exit #19 for CA 56/Ted Williams Parkway and turn right. Continue for 2.5M then turn right onto Twin Peaks Road. After 2.3M turn left onto Espola Road. After 2.8M the parking lot is on the left. It’s a large parking lot with several access points to the trails. We parked close to where we entered and started on the Torretto Trail which led to the Green Valley Truck Trail and eventually the Lake Poway Trail.

For more information about the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve visit the City of Poway website.

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve – City of Poway website

Map and Suggested Hikes

Trail Brochure

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