Lake Drive Trail


    Repairs to the trail and storm drain pipes are underway as a result of heavy rainfall. For your safety, please remain off of the trails until maintenance is complete.


  • DISTANCE (ROUND-TRIP): 1.3 miles (to hilltop overlook and back)

  • TIME: 40 min

  • HOURS: Sunrise to sunset


  • PETS/ANIMALS: Leashed dogs welcome

  • ENTRANCE: Near the intersection of Sea Village Way + Lake Dr (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA)   See map

  • CLOSEST PUBLIC TRANSIT: Highway 101 + Chesterfield (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA)  See map

  • PARKING: On-street, please park along Sea Village Way.

  • TERRAIN: Uneven terrain, narrow trail, includes inclines + declines.

Beautiful Views

Lake Drive trail includes plant communities of Diegan coastal sage scrub, southern maritime chaparral, and maritime succulent scrub.

Ready for amazing new hiking in San Diego County?

Then enjoy traveling this fresh trail!

Join us in restoring habitat at Lake Drive – learn more about our Volunteer Opportunities.

Keep an eye out for:

No. 1

Local student artwork

along the trail, which highlights a selection of native plants + animals that call this place home.

No. 2

Awe-inspiring views

of the Pacific Ocean + a great place to see a sunset.

No. 3

An excellent look

at the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

What to expect

  1. The trailhead can be found along Sea Village Way, which is also where you can park.
  2. The start of the trail requires you to walk down a relatively steep hill that has some uneven terrain, so be wary of roots.
  3. Continue heading downhill, following the trail lined with Sagebrush and enjoy feeling the ocean breeze. You will come across some portions of uneven terrain caused from water erosion and will also notice storm drains displaying some beautiful art creating by Canyon Crest Academy students.
  1. After passing the last painted storm drain, you will be required to walk up and down some steeper portions of the trail. Keep in mind the trail also becomes slightly narrower.
  2. You will then come to the end of the trail, a platform from where you can take in gorgeous views of the lagoon.
  3. To return, use the same trail and be sure to keep an eye out for all five painted storm drains. Admire the painted culvert at the start of the trail which is a perfect place to view the ocean.

On your hike, you might see . . .

Large yellow spherical flowers

Mojave Yucca

is recognized by the clusters of long, sharp leaves that are carried at the end of a thick trunk and by the leaf edges that produce long, curly fibers. More info

San Diego Pocket Mouse

which is endangered. See if you can spot one (or a family) in the sandy coastal soils. More info

More to Explore

La Orilla Trail

La Orilla Trail

Scout out birds, deer, and myriad plants on this trail.

Learn More
San Elijo Lagoon

San Elijo Lagoon

Learn More
Nature Center Loop Trail

Nature Center Loop Trail

See a salt marsh habitat . . . close-up.

Learn More