This favorite hike is featured in Adventures With Karlie, a heartfelt memoir of the bond between a woman and her dog.
At Lake Miramar (aka Miramar Reservoir), there are two trails: one dirt and one asphalt. On the day of this adventure, we decided to take the dirt path, since we preferred to walk on dirt, grass, and rocks. The dirt path allows access to the reservoir in a few areas and overlooks the reservoir for most of the trail.
The entry point to the dirt path is a little hidden. The best way to find it is to park in the section of the parking lot that is farthest from the dam and bathroom, walk toward the entrance to the asphalt trail, and look to the left.
The asphalt road is as wide as a typical road, but not open to cars. Our philosophy was that roads and sidewalks are boring, and Karlie told me the smells are much better when you go off road.
We started our hike by getting down to the water shortly before the dirt path. Karlie was all smiles sitting on the shore. After exploring the water and shoreline, we found the entrance to the dirt path and started hiking.
Following the narrow entrance, the path opens up with views of the lake to the left. There’s different vegetation and a lot of trees providing shade. Some sections give access to the beach and water, and you’ll find big rocks that overlook the lake. In the few areas where the path narrows, the growth can get so tall that you feel pretty secluded and can’t see what is coming around the corner.
I took many pictures of Karlie on rocks, overlooking the lake, and walking on the trail. Little did I know that we would return several times and see these sights again.
There is one section of the dirt path that is a little confusing. About three miles in, there is a spot that has a porta-potty, small parking area, and a fishing dock. It seems like this is the end of the hike, so on our first trip, Karlie and I turned around and hiked back the way we came to the parking lot. When we returned, we found that by going to the right past the porta-potty, the path continues around the lake and eventually over the dam.
The dirt path around the lake gets four paws up from Karlie and me, because there is water to hike around with opportunities to get down to it, the parking is easy and plentiful, and there are bathrooms and porta-potties in the parking lot and along the asphalt trail with paths to them from the dirt trail. It’s scenic and easy to keep your distance from other dogs and people. There are a lot of good smells and interesting things to observe, and you can get in some good mileage – it’s about five miles all the way around the lake.