Lake Hodges

Lake Hodges Dam during the 2005 overflow.  The water level has receded significantly in the last decade.

Lake Hodges Dam during the 2005 overflow. The water level has receded significantly in the last decade.

Site Guide: Lake Hodges

Location: Escondido, CA. NE of San Diego on the west side of interstate 15.  You must purchase a day use pass at the boat launch located on Lake Hodges Way from Lake Drive.

Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced

Typical Sailing Conditions: The Lake is typically open from April through October, Wed., Sat., Sun., depending on wind and water levels. Wind 12-18 knots from the W or WNW, typically starting in the late morning and tapering off in the late afternoons.

Water: Fresh water, high 70’s in the summer, High 60’s in the winter.

Boards: Medium boards can be used 105-140L volume, shortboards in storm Weather.  Remember that in freshwater boards are less buoyant.

Sails: 5.5-9.0 +

Water Conditions: There are also some not so great things about this site. The best windsurfing on the lake during normal northwesterly winds is on the west side of the lake near the dame. The reach across the lake in that area is relatively narrow (300-400 meters), making it a great place to practice your jibes, but don’t count on hooking in with your harness for miles and miles. This also makes for some congested sailing on the warm, windy summer weekends. Be prepared to use the water use rules. This is a 5mph boating area so there isn’t much interference by powerboats.

Wind Notes: Normally driven by the temperature gradient between the beach area and the inland deserts. If you watch this single variable, you can invariably predict the wind strength at this lake. Exceptions include Santa Ana’s and southerly. Santa Ana’s crank from the east and can be fun sailing, but Lake Hodges doesn’t typically have a good exposure to these winds. Southerly winds are blocked by a large hill by the lake.

Rigging and Launching Notes: The rigging area is located on a gravel road West of the road. As of June 2014 we do not have access to the road. Therefore, you have to sail or walk your equipment about a mile. But, once you get to the rigging area it is flat, many people use tarps since there are lots of little sticks and pointy objects waiting to poke a hole through your sail. Also, booties are highly recommended due to the many sharp rocks near the shore.

Other Notes: Lake Hodges is one of the best flat water windsurfing sites in the San Diego area. It is also beautiful, not crowded areas so if the wind’s are not cooperating, excellent hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking are available. Don’t forget to stop at Hernandez Hideaway Restaurant on your way out!