The Blue Sky Ecological Reserve is a 700-acre wildlife sanctuary in Poway, California, with just under five miles of trails. The most popular hike here is a five-mile round-trip hike on the main trail to Lake Ramona and back. All of the other reserve trails, including the Creekside Trail, are short spur routes off of the main Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Trail, also known as the Green Valley Truck Trail. There are also spur trails leading to Lake Poway, which is located outside of the reserve.
The Creekside Trail and oak grove are off-limits to dogs, but the rest of the trails in the reserve are canine-friendly. There are other sections of the main trail that pass through similar riparian and oak forest habitats, then through mixed chaparral and coastal sage scrub ecosystems where sumac, sycamore, and yucca flourish. Black sage and buckwheat grow on exposed hillsides. Wildflowers, including wild roses, are abundant here in a wide range of colors. Ground squirrels, rabbits, horned and whiptail lizards, skinks, tree frogs, coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, and mountain lions are only some of the wildlife species you might spot here. Birds that make their homes in the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve include everything from hummingbirds to eagles. You might even see a roadrunner or a covey of quail scurrying across the trail.
As you continue on your hike, the trail becomes more and more exposed with fewer trees. Picnic tables and port-a-potties along the route make this hike accessible and user-friendly as you continue to your destination. Palms grow near the deep blue lake, which is surrounded by boulder-laden mountains. The scene is otherworldly and prehistoric, and it's a downright magical place to rest for a picnic before heading back. Water-loving pups may want to take a quick dip on the lake to cool off.
You'll be amazed at all the different sights you'll encounter on this half-day hike. The biodiversity is remarkable and the rolling hills provide just enough challenge to feel satisfied by the time you get back to your car. This hike gives you all you need for a perfect day with your pup and is likely one you'll want to do more than once!