The Blue Sky Preserve is an out and back walk/hike that takes you through an oak shaded canyon to an exposed, fair to moderate climb to Lake Ramona. There are a couple of off-shoot trails that you can take to increase your mileage and spend more time out here. Our hike totalled 5.7 miles taking 2 off-shoot trails.
To get to this preserve, take the Rancho Bernardo exit off the 15 freeway. Go east on Rancho Bernardo Road. It will automatically turn into Espola Road. Not long after you pass the Maderas Golf Course, start looking for signs for Blue Sky. The preserve will be on your left. There is quite a few spots in the parking lot, but it gets busy on the weekends. Parking on Espola Road is not a good option as you could get a parking ticket. Go early on the weekends to avoid this issue. There is a porta potty located at the trailhead.
This trail is a dirt/gravel road that meanders through a canyon. You can take an off-shoot trail (Creekside) that will take you alongside the creek with dense foliage, but I would not recommend this trail for kids or dogs. It has a ton of poison oak. You have been warned!
Right before you leave the canyon, there is another off-shoot trail to the right that takes you to Lake Poway. If you don’t want to go to Lake Poway, stay on the current trail and start the fair to moderate climb towards Lake Ramona. Right now (March 2019), the wildflowers are going crazy and super beautiful!
Once you get to the paved road (almost the top), it’s time to make a decision. This section is a steep climb.
Reasons to keep going:
1. Test your physical endurance
2. You have never seen Lake Ramona
3. You need to use the porta potty at the top
If none of the above apply to you, now is a good time to turn around and head back down.
Almost back to the parking lot, we took our second off-shoot trail (Torretto Outlook) up to where we parked. There was a little amphitheatre there and a nice outlook spot.
This area is a top trail destination in San Diego County. I would recommend this area for fall-spring as summer will get hot in the exposed areas.