Add to Your New Year’s Resolutions: Day Trip to Lake Skinner
Are you daydreaming of rolling hills, a sparkling lake, hiking, and nature? Pack your fishing gear, bike, and snacks for a day trip to Lake Skinner Recreation Area near Temecula. Famous for the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, the site offers many recreational activities while serving as protected land for several MSHCP-covered species.
Part of the Southwestern Multiple-Species Reserve, the Lake Skinner Recreation Area is public-quasi-public land protected by the MSHCP. While there, you might spot the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly or Los Angeles pocket mouse. Birdwatchers may catch a glimpse of the Bell’s sparrow and the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher.
Lake Skinner is easy to reach. Search for 37701 Warren Rd. Temecula, CA 92592 in your mapping app, which will lead you to the entrance kiosk. Entry fees are $6 for adults and $3 for children for day use. Other fees apply to overnight campers, boaters, and dogs. Once in the day-use parking area, you will find plenty of amenities such as sheltered picnic areas, restrooms, and a splash pad and playground for the kids. There is even a small market if you forget to bring snacks.
Access to trails and paths are available from several parking lots located throughout the park. If you park in “Day Use 2,” you find a cul-de-sac with a large tree. From there, you can follow “Shoreline Path” that leads to the glistening lake and small beaches. Once you find your perfect lakeside spot, spread out a towel and have a snack while enjoying nature.
If you are in the mood for a longer hike or a bike ride, the Lake Skinner Recreation Area trail meanders through most of the area, including several campgrounds and the “Field of Dreams” grass area. Here you can fly a kite, run with the dogs, or have a picnic with friends.
No trip is complete without an educational opportunity. Lake Skinner Recreation Area hosts the Alamos Schoolhouse. This nature and interpretive center has a wealth of information about the Southwestern Multiple Species Reserve area. From 1900 to 1968, it was the only one-room schoolhouse serving the French Valley community. Friendly guides also are on hand to help with your birdwatching adventures.
For information about Lake Skinner Recreation Area and to book a campground, visit the Riverside County Park and Open-Space District website.