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Circle Lake Poway on a 3-mile loop trail for hikers and bikers.

In the cool of a spring evening, as the sun arcs toward the western horizon at an ever-later hour (especially after daylight time kicks in on April 7), you can escape from the cares of the day and spend an hour or two at Lake Poway. Gazing at the glassy or wind-rippled surface of the reservoir is pleasing enough. Better yet, you can get some exercise on the three-mile trail circling the lake by means of hiking, running, or biking.

Sixty-acre Lake Poway stores emergency water supplies for northern San Diego County and has for nearly two decades served as a recreational destination. Take Espola Road east from Lake Poway Road to reach the lake and recreation area, open seven days a week (sunrise to sunset) for trail use and picnicking and Wednesday through Sunday for fishing and boating. Parking costs $4, but only for non-Poway residents and only when attendants are on duty to collect the fee.

You can pick up the three-mile loop trail beyond the lake's entrance, on the left (north) side of the developed park area. Along the path ahead, you'll pass through four distinct plant "communities" -- sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodland, and riparian woodland -- all exemplary of the county's rocky foothills. Due to scant rainfall so far this season, the landscape has turned a shade of gray-green rather than emerald green -- but some blooming plants, such as monkeyflower, will put on a decent show for the next few weeks, even if we receive no further rain.

Following the well-traveled trail, you traverse scrub-covered slopes above the west shoreline and then drop sharply on switchbacks to a point below the rock-fill dam. There, you meet a wider trail leading downhill to a walk-in campground amid a grove of oaks and farther to the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve. The path that loops around the lake quickly resumes on the east side of the wide trail and starts zigzagging uphill. After gaining about 200 feet, you level out and start winding around the lake's east shore on a wider path. Continue around the shoreline another 1.5 miles to return to the grassy picnic area, boat dock, and parking lot at the lake's entrance.

Call the Lake Poway Recreation Area's ranger office, 858-679-5465, for more information.

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In the cool of a spring evening, as the sun arcs toward the western horizon at an ever-later hour (especially after daylight time kicks in on April 7), you can escape from the cares of the day and spend an hour or two at Lake Poway. Gazing at the glassy or wind-rippled surface of the reservoir is pleasing enough. Better yet, you can get some exercise on the three-mile trail circling the lake by means of hiking, running, or biking.

Sixty-acre Lake Poway stores emergency water supplies for northern San Diego County and has for nearly two decades served as a recreational destination. Take Espola Road east from Lake Poway Road to reach the lake and recreation area, open seven days a week (sunrise to sunset) for trail use and picnicking and Wednesday through Sunday for fishing and boating. Parking costs $4, but only for non-Poway residents and only when attendants are on duty to collect the fee.

You can pick up the three-mile loop trail beyond the lake's entrance, on the left (north) side of the developed park area. Along the path ahead, you'll pass through four distinct plant "communities" -- sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodland, and riparian woodland -- all exemplary of the county's rocky foothills. Due to scant rainfall so far this season, the landscape has turned a shade of gray-green rather than emerald green -- but some blooming plants, such as monkeyflower, will put on a decent show for the next few weeks, even if we receive no further rain.

Following the well-traveled trail, you traverse scrub-covered slopes above the west shoreline and then drop sharply on switchbacks to a point below the rock-fill dam. There, you meet a wider trail leading downhill to a walk-in campground amid a grove of oaks and farther to the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve. The path that loops around the lake quickly resumes on the east side of the wide trail and starts zigzagging uphill. After gaining about 200 feet, you level out and start winding around the lake's east shore on a wider path. Continue around the shoreline another 1.5 miles to return to the grassy picnic area, boat dock, and parking lot at the lake's entrance.

Call the Lake Poway Recreation Area's ranger office, 858-679-5465, for more information.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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