I drove out to Diamond Valley Lake a few days ago to hike the 21.8-mile Lake View Trail. Lake View Trail is a loop that runs along the shore of Diamond Valley Lake.
** Update – I went back again a week later. See the updated info at the end of this post. **
I arrived at about 11:15 AM and had a goal of finishing by 6:15 PM. The person who took my money at the marina ($9 for parking and $2 for a trail pass) told me that the marina closed at 6:45 PM. I figured that my timing would be good if I could hit my goal.
Here are some pictures from my very long day…
The trail starts and ends at the marina parking lot.
This is a “no body-contact reservoir” so there is no swimming, but you can launch your boat or rent one from the marina if you want to spend the day on the water.
I never really think about mountain lions when I see these signs, but I started thinking about them toward the end of my day. I only saw seven other people on the trail all day, and there are many remote spots that had me looking over my shoulder.
There are mile markers along the trail so you can keep track of your progress.
By the time I reached the helipad, I wished a helicopter would come pick me up.
There are small rest areas along the trail about three to five miles apart that mainly consist of picnic tables and some shade. There are also portable restrooms at many of the rest areas, but there is NO DRINKING WATER.
The view from the west dam looking back toward the marina in the east.
After about 9-10 miles, I finally reached the other side of the lake.
This next picture is probably at about 17 miles. I thought it was fitting because it is a big wall of rock, and I was starting to feel like I had hit a wall. But I kept going.
At about 5:45 PM with about 3 miles remaining, I called the marina office to find out what would happen if I didn’t make it back by 6:45 PM. Normally, three miles in one hour would be no problem, but I was sore and almost out of water so I knew it was going to be rough.
I was told that I would be issued a ticket and fined $75 if I arrived after 6:45 PM, so I hung up the phone and kept going… until I was picked up about fifteen minutes later and driven the last few miles back to the marina. My 21.8-mile hike had turned in to about a 19-mile hike.
Thanks to Justin and Stan for picking me up and being so cool about it.
If you want to try the full 21.8-mile hike, here are a few tips:
- If you’re not accustomed to walking long distances, don’t try it. The trail is mostly flat, but there are some inclines and 21.8 miles is a LONG distance.
- Don’t try it when it is hot. It was in the mid 80s when I tried it, and that was a mistake.
- Bring a lot of water. I had 64 ounces of water and it was not enough. I should have brought WAY more. There are rest stops with some shade and picnic tables about every three to five miles, but THERE IS NO DRINKING WATER ON THE TRAIL.
- Bring your cell phone. Make sure to sign in at the marina so they know you’re on the trail.
- Don’t go alone. I only saw seven other people all day, and I was the only person to try the full hike. I would have been on my own if anything bad had happened to me.
- Bring sun protection. I was in the sun all day, but I was totally protected.
- Start early. Make sure you have time to finish or face a $75 fine.
I plan to try it again. I would have finished the loop, but it would have been painful and I would have incurred a fine. I want to prove to myself that I can make it.
First, I need to recuperate from my initial attempt. I am not a small man, and my almost 49-year-old body took a beating.
There are other hikes to try here, but I am focused on conquering the Lake View Trail. I’ll let you know when I do.
If you have walked or run the entire 21.8 miles (or tried), share your experiences in the comment section.
** Update: I went back a week later and completed the entire 21.8-mile loop. **
I took three times as much water this time… 6 liters in total. Proper hydration made a HUGE difference.
This was the view near the end of my hike from the east dam looking west. I didn’t get to enjoy this view the first time I went. I’m glad I went back.
Diamond Valley Lake
2615 Angler Ave
Hemet, CA 92545