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Loch Lomond Recreation Area

Location : Felton, CA

Parking : $8 fee.

Trail type : Loop

Trail Length : 6.5 miles

Elevation Gain : 1021 ft

Difficulty : Moderate

Trails traversed : Loch Loop Trail

Dogs Allowed? Yes

If you are Tintin comics fan, and Loch Lomond sounds familiar to you, it is because Loch Lomond whiskey was Captain Haddocks favorite drink.

Trivia aside, Loch Lomond is a beautiful lake hidden, no, not in Scotland, but in the Santa Cruz mountains, popular for fishing, hiking and boating. The Recreation Area, just off of Hwy 17, is pretty isolated and is open only between March and October. They also have boat rentals and numerous picnic spots to reserve around the lake. This place is a haven for fishermen trying their luck to catch a bass or bluegill fish.

When To Go : The Loch loop trail is completely shaded and is perfect during hot weather or any other time during the year. I went early morning, at 7.30am. The fog was slowly lifting over the lake, and provided some great pictures.

Parking : Entry fee is $8. There is ample parking available in the designated parking lots near the lake and trailhead.

The hike : Although the Loch Loop Trail is 4.3 miles, we added additional mileage by hiking the McLaren Trail and the Loch Sloy trail, making it a 6.5 mile loop with 1021 ft elevation gain. The Loch Loop trail starts right across the Park Store. I highly recommend hiking in the clockwise direction to avoid some very steep inclines if you go anti-clockwise. In the clockwise direction, the trail runs along the eastern side of the lake from South to North. The trail is pretty flat at this point and offers picturesque views of the pristine lake and its surroundings. The water of the lake in the mornings, free from any boats, is so calm that it provides a perfect mirror reflection of the pine covered hills surrounding the lake.

There are a number of buoys and boat ramps all along the trail, as well as numerous picnic benches offering stunning views of the lake.

As the trail reaches the northern tip of the lake, it makes a sharp right turn and starts traversing uphill. There are a few steep inclines along the loop which will give you a good leg workout. The trail is lined by tall oak and redwood trees, in its entirety, offering much needed shade during hot summer days.

The entire route is carpeted with dried leaves from the pine and oak trees, cushioning your feet at every step.

As you reach the top of the hill, at around 1000ft, a vista point offers magnificent views of the lake below.

After this viewpoint, the trail starts going downhill, past a few porta-potties and picnic areas, before taking you back to the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.

Final Verdict : This is a great place to spend the day, hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking with family and friends. This hidden gem is truly what California is all about - the beauty of the Great Outdoors!


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