Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

Chollas Lake

6350 College Grove Drive
San Diego, CA 92115

32.737027734724606, -117.06375550109294
Hike around lake: .8 miles    Level: Easy

Dog-Friendly: Yes   Kid-Friendly: Yes

Website    Hours:6:30 a.m. until a half hour before sunset



About Chollas Lake

Chollas Lake came with so many unexpected surprises when I visited. From a collection of tree people, friendly flocks of geese, hiking trails, a book nook, a dumped domestic rabbit (that we ended up rescuing) and the fact that the entire park’s structures and features are made from wood (I didn’t spot any plastic anywhere).  Very earthy indeed!

I had walked the entirety of the lake and at the very end of my visit was when I started stumbling upon the tree people.  I must have spotted at least a dozen of these magical beings.  Who is responsible for carving them out I am not sure yet, but I am so thankful they are!

Eucalyptus is a fragile tree which knocks over much easier than most trees. If there’s a whole grove of them, like at Chollas Lake, this is going to leave you with a lot of tree stumps over time.  What an extra special effort to carve little creatures into them.

History of Chollas Lake

Named after the chollas cactus, Chollas Lake is actually a reservoir that was built in 1901 and one of the city’s earliest water supplies. In the 60’s it was designated to the Park and Recreation Department and later a youth fishing lake.  It is still the only lake in San Diego that is used as a fishing lake for youth ages 15 and younger.

Hiking & Exercise Options

The hike around Chollas Lake is .8 miles and considered an easy hike.  There are other hiking trails available from the lake’s parking lot which I am yet to do at this point. Looking at Google satellite they do not seem too long or difficult though.

There are several exercise equipment pieces scattered along the lake which include pull-up and push-up bars and a balance beam.


This lake is unique in that it is the only lake in San Diego that only allows children 15 years of age or younger to fish. This serves an important role as a place for the city’s youth to fish for free and have a fair shot at catching something!

While you’re in the area, make sure to check out Briercrest Park nearby!

Fishing rules include one string and one pole per fisher. Hook and line fishing is the only method permitted and must be done so from the piers or shoreline. An unlimited number of carp can be caught, while two bass fish up to 14 inches long and one trout any size is the take-home for the day.

The lake has a population of typical warmwater species; largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish and is also stocked with rainbow trout by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife during the winter months.


There are many activities offered here such as intro to archery, adult walking class, adult fitness classes, Reading with the Ranger, an annual Easter egg hunt and more!

Right when I got out of my car this was the first creature that I saw.  Instantly this became a special place to me. What a cool-looking duck!

Love this!  Reminds me a bit of the Little Free Libraries!

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there were a TON of geese just sitting down and hanging out in this area. It was kind of interesting and funny to me:

become a hidden san diego member

I guess a lady comes here weekly and drops off her veggie scraps for the geese and ducks.  The animals LOVE her and love the food.  This allowed me to get very close to them to photograph as they were as happy as could be.  The ranger later told me that he wished she wouldn’t do this though and the animals shouldn’t be eating these veggies.   Just so you know!

Subscribe to our E-mail Newsletter


0 Reviews

Rating 0
Overall Rating 0
Difficulty Finding 0

0 Reviews

Write a Review