Lake Hodges Dam

One of the coolest urban places in the San Diego by far can be found off the Del Dios Highway right before you hit Lake Hodges: the Lake Hodges dam.


Now before I go into my review of this place, I have to put out a disclaimer: this place is prohibited to visit and can be very dangerous. It’s one of those places that’s hard to access by emergency personnel if an accident were to occur, and I would not advice climbing to the top of the dam, as it’s very high up, and I’ve heard the climb up is extremely sketchy and not safe. When I went, my friends and I only visited the inside, which wasn’t too risky, but we were still stung by some poisonous plants and nettle, and covered in painful red bumps. Be careful, as always, if you decide to go (which I am not particularly encouraging as far as law enforcement is concerned).

Since that’s over with, we can get to the fun part now.

This place has some of the most beautiful graffiti art I’ve seen so far. The entire inside of the dam is almost covered in it, giving a new light to this dark and eerie space. There’s something so incredibly peaceful about sitting with your legs dangling off the rails, looking out into the green chaparral area that sits on the west side of the dam.


An eerie looking staircase allows visitors to get to the inside rail of the dam without too much hard effort (although we did have to climb through a hole in the fence, which required a bit of extra upper body strength and coordination).

I’m avoiding saying too much more to refrain from getting myself in more trouble, but if you’d like to see some more pictures of this strangely beautiful space, check out the gallery below. A picture’s worth a thousand words, anyways.

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