The trails at Miramar Reservoir is one of the best places to take your dog hiking in San Diego. The funny thing is Karlie and I would not have known about it had it not been a fellow volunteer with whom I walked dogs at the San Diego Humane Society. But once we knew about it, we returned many times, including one last walk after we said goodbye.
The Miramar Reservoir is located in the Scripps Ranch community of San Diego. There are two trails that travel around the reservoir. One is a dirt trail that overlooks the reservoir in many areas and the other is an asphalt road that is used by walkers and cyclists. There is a large parking lot, clean restrooms, and a small grassy area with some park benches. Everything you need for a great adventure!
I think our first trip was my favorite. It was just Karlie and me and we had such fun exploring and taking pictures. We took the dirt trail and enjoyed checking out all the vegetation, climbing on rocks, and seeing the views of the reservoir. Shortly after the start we found a large rock that extended into the water. This became a spot that I took a picture of Karlie every time we visited.
On this first trip I later found out that we didn’t even make it all the way around the reservoir. Despite that we walked nearly six miles that day. After about three miles we came to a spot that had a porta-potty, small parking area, and a fishing dock. I thought that was the end of the trail so we turned around and headed back to the parking lot. On a later visit we explored a little more and found where the trail continued and walked all the way around the reservoir ending by crossing the dam.
Our last trip together was as fantastic as the first. Despite the weakening of Karlie’s hind legs she was able to walk the nearly one mile to the large rock that extended into the water without her wheel chair. We took many pictures and videos of her including walking out onto the rock. We decided that was as far as we would go on the trail since by the time we returned to the car we would have walked over 1.5 mile. It was a far cry from the six miles we did on our first visit, but was the longest walk she had taken without her wheelchair. I was so proud of my sweet girl.
I took one last hike around the reservoir before we left San Diego in April 2022. Sadly on that walk Karlie was with me only in spirit. I carried her collar in the backpack that I took on every one of our adventures. I retraced our steps from our first visit and turned around at the half way point. At first I couldn’t find “our rock” where we had taken so many pictures, but then I realized it was hidden under water. We had received quite a bit of rain and it had covered the rock. I was sad because I wanted one last picture on the rock. Instead I captured a picture of the water covering it. It was such a bittersweet hike, but I felt like Karlie was with me the whole way. We haven’t returned to San Diego or to the reservoir since that last trip, but I hope to take Sunny there the next time we are in San Diego and get a picture of her on “Karlie’s rock”.
Karlie and I loved hiking on the dirt path around the Miramar Reservoir. It gets 4 out of 4 paws up from us because there is water to hike around, the trail is long and scenic, parking is plentiful, and bathrooms/porta-potties are plentiful. In our book this is a not-to-be-missed stop in the San Diego area.
How do I get there?
The best way to locate the park is to use “Lake Miramar parking lot” as the destination. The directions will have you follow Scripps Lake Drive and then turn near the water treatment plant. Follow the road to the large parking lot. Either park or walk along the sidewalk in the opposite direction from the dam. Eventually you will come to the start of the asphalt road. Look to the left and you will see the somewhat hidden entrance to the dirt trail.