Hike Batiquitos Lagoon Trail

Hike Batiquitos Lagoon Trail

In This Guide
  • Video & Turn by Turn Directions for Batiquitos Lagoon Trail
  • Parking for Batiquitos Lagoon Trail
  • Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Distance3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Hike Time1-2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)100 feet (30m)
Highest Elevation3,080 feet (939m)
Fees & PermitsNone
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park Website (?)Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation
Park Phone760-931-0800
Stay In Touch - - -

The Batiquitos Lagoon Trail hike is easy and peaceful, offering a great way to experience one of the few remaining tidal wetlands in Southern California. There’s lots of wildlife, a nice mix of sun and shade, and a family and stroller-friendly path that’s great for everyone. The Batiquitos Lagoon Trail is also right off of Interstate 5 in Carlsbad, making it a convenient place to connect with nature amidst interstates, tourist attractions, and other development.

Batiquitos Lagoon Trail Parking

The good news is that parking for the Batiquitos Lagoon Trail is free. The bad news is that there’s not a lot of it. There’s a small parking lot by the trailhead, but otherwise you can park on the residential streets for free. If you park on the street, please be respectful of the people in the neighborhood. That means don’t block their driveways, leave trash outside of your car, play loud music, etc. Be warned; if you park in a “no parking” zone or block a driveway, you will be ticketed and towed.

The Batiquitos Lagoon Trail is open from dawn to dusk, every day.

There are several ” Batiquitos Lagoon Parking” areas on Google Maps, all at different points along the trail. But to start the trail from the beginning, use this trailhead address:
Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, 7380 Gabbiano Ln, Carlsbad, CA 92011

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There’s a small parking lot by the beginning of the trail on Gabbiano Lane. If it’s full, park on the side of the street (legally).

Gear for the Hike

This is an easy and mellow hike, and you don’t need any special gear for it. I wear light hiking gear, but fitness clothes work great too. In a pinch, you can get away with casual clothing but it might not be the most comfortable. There is no water along the trail, so bring 1L of water to stay hydrated.

FYIBig Annual REI Co-Op Sale On Now + Free Shipping on Everything

La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos Blue

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated March 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Batiquitos Lagoon Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Hike Batiquitos Lagoon Trail Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy (prices on REI and Amazon) and does a lot of the same things.

Hike Brief

California Least Tern
Batiquitos Lagoon is home to about 185 species of birds. This cute little guy is the California Least Tern, an endangered species that you can often see at the lagoon.

Batiquitos Lagoon Trail Directions

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Video Directions

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Turn by Turn Directions

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From the parking lot, the trail starts on the paved path. A host of signs confirm that you’re in the right place.
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Shortly after the start you’ll pass the nature center on the left. If they’re open, stop by and check it out. The center is manned by volunteers who are happy to answer questions and point out any interesting birds or animals that were recently seen. The nature center is also your only bathroom opportunity along the trail.
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Just past the nature center, bear right towards the lagoon.
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And soon you’ll be right on the water with incredible views. There are numerous small turnoffs and benches like these along the entire length of the trail.
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You’ll also find a good amount of interpretive displays and these self-guided tour areas on the trail.
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Keep going straight on the main trail. There are several official and unofficial side trails that lead off into the adjoining neighborhoods. It’s also important to note that you are in a fragile environmental area, so stay on the trail and don’t destroy / pick / trample anything natural please.
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As you hike east along the shore of the lagoon, you’ll be able to see Cuyamaca Peak and Mt Woodson (home of Potato Chip Rock) in the distance on a clear day.
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Keep going straight along Batiquitos Lagoon, avoiding the side trails.
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The trail passes through a shaded grove of palms.
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As you pass through the shaded section, keep your eyes open to the right to spot a massive packrat den (midden).
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The trail winds away from the lagoon through a salt marsh area.
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At the junction, go straight.
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And you’ll go through another peaceful and shady grove.
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And then the trail comes back to the shore of the lagoon.
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At this trail split you can go either way, but take the route to the right to stay along the scenic shore. The left branch is a shortcut that goes through the wooded area.
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And soon after that you’ll reach this shaded bench, the end of the official trail.
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Enjoy the views from the bench and then turn around and just hike back on the same path to finish the hike!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.