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Batiquitos Lagoon: Carlsbad, California

Posted by on September 23, 2013

SignOne of the most interesting things about our visit to Carlsbad in our sweet red Venza was when we discovered that there are actually three lagoons in the area.

We have seen this phenomenon before; in coastal regions there are often lakes, lagoons, and wetland areas but Carlsbad has three and each one is unique. The three lagoons cover more than 1,000 acres and consist of nature preserves, hiking trails, water recreation areas.

The lagoons are beautiful, pristine bodies of water which have been carefully preserved and maintained to provide lovely open spaces for the public to enjoy nature, hike, relax and take in some beautiful views, including sights of various local critters.

The Buena Vista Lagoon is an ecological preserve, the Aqua Hedionda lagoon is used for watersports and the Batiquitos lagoon is a nature preserve.

Because the Batiquitos Lagoon sounded the most interesting to us, we headed there one afternoon. The 561 acre lagoon is actually open to the ocean, adjoining it under a bridge where fishing is allowed and cars pass, many without even realizing the beautiful lagoon is beneath the bridge.

Fishing is permitted on the rock jetties at the mouth of the lagoon and the rocks under I-5 which runs near the lagoon and we saw some young boys perched on the rocks fishing. Because it adjoins the ocean, the water is brackish and home to a variety of fish, plants and birds. We pulled up the neighborhood beside the lagoon and parked under some incredible trees covered with purple blossoms which we later found out were Jacaranda trees.

Gorgeous Jacaranda trees near the Batiquitos Lagoon.

Gorgeous Jacaranda trees near the Batiquitos Lagoon.

The lagoon is located between Carlsbad and Encinitas and is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the southern California coast as most of the others have been covered over and built on. The area is run by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and includes a small nature center where we stopped for information before we headed out to view and photograph the lagoon.

The Batiquitos lagoon nature center.

The Batiquitos lagoon nature center.

We strolled over a little wooden bridge to the South side of the lagoon which is mainly dirt and a lot of tumbled rocks.

Bridge near the Batiquitos Lagoon.

Bridge near the Batiquitos Lagoon.

It was pretty muddy after a recent rain so we didn’t try to make our way around the lagoon that way but came back over to the North side where there is a hiking trail that is about two miles long which provides a scenic view of the lagoon. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail and we saw several people with their dogs, enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

View of the beautiful Batiquitos lagoon.

View of the beautiful Batiquitos lagoon.

There were plenty of plants in the area; we were surprised to even see several cactus plants.

Cactus by the trail.

Cactus by the trail.

We trekked along, enjoying the lovely weather, the scenic view, the beautiful wetlands area, nodding to the hikers as we passed. We were well aware that this was an ecological preserve but suddenly we saw a little more nature than I wanted.

Why, yes. Yes, that is a snake.

Why, yes. Yes, that is a snake.

Wait. Here’s a closer shot Tom got as I cowered in the background.

Yep. Snake.

Yep. Snake.

I had absolutely no problem with the idea that we were surrounded by wildlife of all kinds. I didn’t even have a big problem with snakes in the area. This one was harmless and probably an important part of the cycle of life and all that crap. I just didn’t particularly want to see snakes.

Especially on the trail right in front of where I was strolling.

Luckily, he wasn’t interested remotely in the bipeds who were traversing his trail; he slithered across into the grass on the other side and disappeared.

At this point, we had walked the trail and were headed back so it was the perfect time to leave.

Before we encountered any other reptiles.

The Batiquitos Lagoon truly is a beautiful, unspoiled location you should visit when you are in the area. It’s absolutely free and the nature center is run by volunteers, but you can make a donation there if you choose. The Nature Center is open Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and weekends 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can download a guide to walking the trail HERE.

 

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