Guajome Lake is a 12-acre lake within the San Luis Rey Watershed and is part of Guajome Regional Park. The lake is surrounded by marsh and a variety of plant species. Over 180 bird species have been spotted here including the endangered California Least Tern and the Light Footed Clapper Rail.
The lake is in a state of rehabilitation as it was impacted by eutrophication, which is when there are too many nutrients in the water which contribute to the overproduction of algae. The County of San Diego is continually working to improve the health of the lake.
Camping is available here as well as day use such as hiking, fishing, picnicking or enjoying the playgrounds and basketball court. The hiking trails are beautiful and shaded. We explored in the springtime when it was probably at its peak of lush beauty. We had a great time!
Guajome Lake and the surrounding region has been inhabited by the Luiseños for thousands of years. Their traditional name of this area is “wakhavumi,” which translates to “frog pond”. Beyond the lake there are small ponds and marshes making this a great habitat for wetland creatures.
In 1845, Mexican Governor Pío Pico granted the land for Guajome Rancho back to two indigenous brothers, Andrés and José Manuel. Both brothers had been mission Indians at the Mission San Luis Rey.
It should be noted that this was already the brothers and their people’s land to begin with, but was stolen from them in the late 1700’s by Spanish missionaries to build the Mission San Luis Rey. The brothers had been slave workers at the Mission.
The grant they received was one of the last Mexican land grants given, as Mexico lost control of California the next year. It was very unusual for an indigenous person to be granted land back then, despite it being promised to them. Usually the Spanish and Mexican officials kept the land for themselves and their own people.