Well, the other day I met my dad for lunch at a place described as a "cool and nice outdoors area" by an old friend. The place was Leo Carrillo Ranch. According to the google map, it just looked like another housing community, with just a little extra space around it... It looked like that driving up to it too...
The park ended up being closed on Mondays... so we had lunch at a picnic table we found, by a day care just off to the right of the picture above. Afterwards, I was going to go to the gym, but on our way back to our cars we noticed a sign for a trail - saying 2-mile loop. Exercise AND SUN! Perfect! So, I said goodbye and changed my clothes in the car!
At first, I was really confused... You start down this very steep hill, and there are a few forks in the road - but there are no signs telling you which way to go. I took all rights, just to be consistent, which led me to a main road. Again, there were no signs to where to go, so I just headed up the hill to the left, thinking I could loop around eventually. After following the road to the left again (so as not to cross the road), eventually I found another entrance to the trail. At this point the trail was nice, partially paved, partially packed sand/rock. Again though, there were more forks... and not many signs... I actually popped out onto roads many more times, but these times, I just turned around and went the other way on the previous fork.
After 40 minutes, 2.4 miles, and a bit of help from my smartphone's google map app, I found my way back to the entrance. The hills were STEEP, and frequent. There isn't much shade. But its pretty, and though according to the map, you are surrounded by houses and business, you stay blissfully unaware.
I will definitely go back. Its a very nice, varied, workout, with lots of pretty all around. Also, the trail is awesomely dog friendly. Though there were no directional signs, there were TONS of poop bag/disposal stations. Also, parking is super easy. I recommend not going on a Monday, so you can explore the whole area.
Here's the address:
6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Lane
Carlsbad, CA 92009