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Horseshoe Lake Circuit

1.4 mile trail near Vista Verde, California
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.4 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  One of the top easy hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and perfect for just about anyone, no matter their size or ability. And it's... more »

Tips:  The lake generally has lots of waterfowl which are fun to watch.

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

This is the trailhead at the regular (not disabled or equestrian) parking lot. Time to start hiking! There is also a restroom here.

2. Horseshoe Lake

First view of small but pretty Horseshoe Lake.

3. Horseshoe Lake Dam

A small bridge crosses the dam that forms Horseshoe Lake.

4. Trail Junction to the Christmas Tree Farm

A trail junction: the uphill route (Fir Knoll Trail) climbs towards Long Ridge Open Space Preserve and an old Christmas Tree farm while this route stays low and along the shoreline of Horseshoe Lake.

5. Equestrian Parking Lot Junction

Here the trail goes straight to the equestrian parking or left to skip the parking lot - note that the parking lot bypass is a bit overgrown and hard to follow.

6. Equestrian Parking Lot Junction (2)

Here the parking lot bypass joins with the northbound trail from the equestrian parking lot. The bypass was a bit overgrown wasn't it?

7. Picnic Area

Almost hidden on the side of the trail, there are some picnic tables and a nice view of Horseshoe Lake here.

8. Preserve Entrance

While not part of the hike, this is the actual entrance to the preserve.