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Lake Calavera Trails

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Lake Calavera Preserve located?

The Preserve is located in the northeast portion of the City of Carlsbad bordering the City of Oceanside. There are three main trail heads; Carlsbad Village Drive (at Penisula Drive) and College Boulevard, Tamarack Avenue and Strata Drive, and Sky Haven Lane near Lake Boulevard (Oceanside). To Mapquest, please use the address 3825 Tamarack Ave.

What is the main purpose of Lake Calavera Preserve?

Lake Calavera Preserve was set aside to conserve natural lands for the protection of native plants and wildlife. Recreational activities, such as hiking and mountain biking, are conditionally allowed, but must be compatible with habitat and species protection.

There seems to be a lot of activity in the Lake Calavera Preserve these days. What’s going on?

The city is implementing the Lake Calavera Trails Master Plan, which identifies authorized trails and trail improvements.  The Center for Natural Lands Management is working with the city to install fencing, signs, and information kiosks; fix trails; close unauthorized trails; conduct plant and animal surveys; and remove invasive plant species.  Other activities include several habitat restoration projects, which will restore a total of eight acres of disturbed areas back to natural habitat, providing homes to numerous native plant and animal species. Look for fencing and signage designating areas where trail improvements and habitat restoration are taking place. 

Why is it important to stay on designated trails?

When hikers and bikers go off trail, it damages native plants, compacts the soil, and causes erosion. This reduces the quality of the open space, which is home to many native plants and animals. Because native plants are slow-growing, it takes a very long time for the natural lands to recover once it has been damaged.

Why aren't dogs allowed off-leash?

Dogs often scare or kill native animals, especially birds. This may cause a disruption in breeding by causing nest abandonment. Nest abandonment means no babies; no babies means that the bird population may not be able to sustain itself. It is also important to pick up your dog’s waste. Dogs can transmit disease, such as E. coli, through their feces and urine, which can wash into the lake during a heavy rain.

What is habitat restoration and why is it important?

Habitat restoration consists of removing invasive non-native plants, de-compacting the soil, and planting or seeding a disturbed area with a specified “palette” of native plant species that is characteristic of a certain plant community (e.g., coastal sage scrub). Restoration reduces habitat fragmentation; provides foraging and breeding areas for wildlife; and protects water quality of the lake by reducing erosion and sedimentation, and by filtering out contaminants before they reach the waterways. 

What kind of volunteer opportunities are there?

Participating in the Adopt-a-Trail program or becoming a Citywide Trails volunteer are excellent ways to help with maintenance, preservation and stewardship.  Maintenance activities include erosion repair, pruning, trimming, graffiti removal, and litter removal. Habitat enhancement projects may include invasive species removal and native plant seeding. Other projects include installing trail amenities, such as signage, benches, and kiosks.  Contact Liz Ketabian, 760-434-2978 for more information.

Contact Information

Parks & Recreation Department
Liz Ketabian, Park Planner

799 Pine Avenue, Suite 200
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Parks & Trails Maintenance: 760-434-2824