The Lake Hodges that we know and love today looked quite different 100 years ago. It used to be considerably smaller with a large pond & river running through it instead of a dam collecting all the water. The owners of Crescent Valley, what it was called back then, were two brothers named Thomas & Cornelius Carroll. The Carroll’s had a large family and cattle, which small remnants of the ranch can still be seen today. We found their old corral and a well while exploring.
Crescent Valley was also known for being a mining district with at least 6 different mines in that area in the 1880’s. The Carroll Crescent Wagon Trail is believed to have been an off-shoot of one of the larger trails that the gold miners used. It was also the direct trail to their homes. The brothers had very productive quartz mines veined with gold down during these days.
In 1905, Crescent Valley was considered as a potential location for part of the proposed San Diego and Eastern Railroad. The route to Escondido would have been alongside the San Dieguito River. In 1917 the brothers sold their property for a measly $10 to hustler Ed Fletcher. There must be more to the story than that though because $10 was a horrible deal even back then! Fletcher and his company pushed that the water supply they were sitting on could be a source for the people of Del Dios.
Once sold, the dam was built and the river turned into what we know today as Lake Hodges. Once the lake was fully formed, the Carroll’s adobe ranches become submerged underwater, where parts of them may or may not sit today. Adobe is known to “melt” back into the earth if not properly up-kept, which being underwater would very much melt it!
Fletcher also was responsible for naming the lake and dam. It all came about when Fletcher was having dinner with the railroad executives. He offered to name the lake after W.E. Hodges, vice president of the railroad. Hodges accepted the offer. The dam originally was going to be called Carroll Dam after the former owners of the property but sadly that never happened.
Near the very beginning of the trail you may find some of the old fence:There is a beautiful pond here as well that must have been of great use back in the day:We came across one of the most official teepee’s I have ever seen! I am so curious who built this. It even has tools for catching fish!Keep your eyes peeled for parts of the stone wall. You can see it along the trail: