Stelzer Park Loop Trail: A Hidden Gem for Hikers of All Levels

Trail Stats

2.74 miles
Elevation Gain
646 feet
Total Time
1 hours 43 minutes
Moving Time
1 hours 25 minutes

Stelzer Park Loop Trail is a 2.74-mile trail with 646 feet of elevation gain and is part of Louis Stelzer County Park located in Lakeside, California. This location has an amazing park at the beginning and is very well maintained.

Stelzer Park Loop Parking & Getting There

Getting to the Stelzer Park Loop is very easy. When you arrive you will be in the single lane parking lot shown below. When we arrived it was not busy, maybe a handful of cars. On a nice summer day, you might expect the parking lot to be filled a bit more.

It is important to note that you need to pay for parking. It is a $3 dollar fee that you will need to pay cash and put in the payment box at the office. For more details on this, you can see it in my video embedded above.

The park does have hours so make sure to consult the official website for up-to-date parking fees and park hours.

Stelzer Park Loop Trail

I have to go into this one being honest, when I came to visit this park, my expectations were WAY off. First off, after parking and entering the park, it is absolutely beautiful. The tree coverage is amazing and would be nice on a hot day. There are BBQs, vault toilettes, and an AMAZING park if you have little ones. I was not expecting this. I thought it was going to be a quick hike and leave, turned out to be more than that!

When you do Stelzer Park Loop Trail it is important to note, if you have kids you will want to stick to the loop only. If you don’t have kids and are looking for a CHALLENGE, try to hit both of the peaks. I thought the trail was going to be short and sweet until we started looking up at the top of the peak. Not looking to back down from a challenge, we decided to go to the top.

At about the halfway mark of the bottom loop, you will have an option to head up towards the top of the mountain. If you decide to do this extra challenge, I recommend starting by going to the left at the split. This will take you up the most difficult side first.

As you work your way to the top, the challenge is real. There is a significant grade that does not let up until you are about 100 yards from the top. After making it to the top the views are nice, but the real reward is noticing the steep mountain you just conquered. Trust me, it will get your heart rate going. Make sure to check out the video to see just how challenging this incline is!

Be careful on the way down, it is steep and slippery. Having proper shoes and hiking sticks will definitely help you here. Once you make your way down you will start to complete the lower loop and it will take you back to the parking and playgrounds. If you have a little one, I recommend planning some extra time so they can hang out and play on the playground. The equipment is in amazing shape and overall feels very safe and clean for the kids. As a parent, you know, sometimes a good playground can be hard to come by.

It’s also important to note on this hike that the first portion has really good tree coverage. When you got to the peaks, or are on the second half of the loop, there is a lot of sun exposure. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!


Overall Stelzer Park Loop Trail was a great surprise for beauty and the challenge. I would not take my kid up the mountain again, that was tough! But I will be back to take him on the bottom loop portion, then a proper hang out session at the playground!

Wrap Up

Is there a specific hike that you would like to see next? Leave a comment down below or reach out via the Contact Form and hopefully I will be able to get a recap and virtual hike posted soon! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your adventure.

Leave a Comment