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Barbara’s Lake: Orange County’s Only Natural Lake

Fun and Unique thing to do with children in Laguna Beach

Barbara's Lake in Laguna Beach

It is hard to believe that Orange County only has one natural lake left in the whole County, but it does. Barbara’s Lake is located in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park just a short walk from the NIX Nature Center. Last weekend, our family visited the NIX Nature Center. Then we enjoyed walking along Mary’s Trail, before continuing the trail towards Barbara’s Lake.

The hiking trail that leads to Barbara's Lake

While walking towards the lake, my children got a unique opportunity to witness a thriving wildlife community. There was so much beauty for the kids to absorb along the secluded path.

Laguna Beach Bike Trail

How do you get to Barbara’s Lake?

Park in the NIX Nature Center Parking lot ($3 parking). Begin you adventure walking along Mary’s Trail. Then continue on the path as it becomes Little Sycamore Canyon. The trail will take your family under the 133 freeway to the lake. From the NIX Nature Center to the Lake and back, it is a 1 1/2 mile hike round trip. (The entire hike is stroller compatible for younger children, but no bikes are allowed)

Climbing on rocks in Laguna Canyon

Visiting this natural lake served as a reminder for our children of the fragility of wilderness. The ripples on the water surface reveal the presence of fish and frogs. Songbirds call out, hidden under the cover of mulefat and willow while egrets and waterfowl frequent the open water.

NIX Nature Trail in Laguna Beach

Barbara’s Lake was named after Barbara Stuart, an ardent wilderness supporter.

Barbara's Lake in Laguna Beach

Bring a blanket and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy amongst the wilderness with your children this weekend.

Raining on Barbara's Lake

Your family can find Barbara’s Lake along the trail outside of the NIX Nature Center in Laguna Beach (right in the middle of Laguna Canyon Road). Make sure and bring your kids wearing shoes for walking on different surfaces, and avoid visiting during the rain (most trails are closed when it is raining). Have fun creating memorable memories at Barbara’s Lake.

Orange County's only natural lake

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  1. Is this the lake where Bubbles the Hippo died? My mom used to tell me stories about that when I was a kid.

  2. Thank you for sharing! My son told me about this lake he discovered while prepping for Navy deployment.


  1. Mary's Trail at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park - OC Mom Blog - […] Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park at Little Sycamore Canyon on SR 133, north of the 73 Tollroad and 3.5…

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