Escondido’s beautiful Daley Ranch offers some of the best hiking opportunities in San Diego County. With trails for beginning, intermediate, and advanced hikers, exploring Daley Ranch on foot is family-friendly, and a great way to get some exercise and experience the natural beauty of Southern California.
Daley Ranch is located in the northeastern portion of the City of Escondido, north of Dixon Lake and west of Valley Center Road. Access is provided via La Honda Drive to the south, Valley Center Road to the east, and Cougar Pass Road to the west. See below for directions.
Daley Ranch and Lake Wohlford Naturalist-guided Hikes
Daley Ranch Open House
All hikes begin at the Daley Ranch entrance on La Honda Drive unless otherwise noted. Bring water, sun hat, sunscreen, and proper hiking boots or treaded footwear. All trails include steep and/or slippery sections. Please do not leave valuables in your car. Steady rain cancels a hike. The hike schedule is also available at www.escondido.org and www.visitescondido.com. Please note that drinking water is not available in many areas of Daley Ranch so be sure to carry a sufficient supply. Please wear layered clothing as it may be cool in the mornings and warmer as the hike continues. Reservations are not required, unless otherwise stated. Dogs leashed to adults are allowed.
Download/View Daley Ranch Trail Map PDF
Directions to Hike Locations below.
Sunday, May 12, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Daley Ranch Open House
Approximately 1 mile from the La Honda entry is the Historic Daley Ranch House. On the 2nd Sunday of every month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m, the Ranch House is open to the public, at which time Ranger Staff and Docents provide information and insights into the history of the ranch. Steady rain cancels.
Sunday, May 19, 2019, 12:30 p.m. Walk With Nature
Join outdoor educator and Chaparral Naturalist, Al Bates, on an easy, slow-paced interpretive nature walk along Dixon Lake’s Chaparral Nature Trail. This walk is for anyone yearning to enjoy nature while looking for more than the end of the trail. This walk will be general in nature, and will cover a variety of topics, ranging from history of local Native Americans, native plant life, mammals, birds, and more. This walk will last approximately an hour-and-a-half to two hours and will cover a little less than two miles of easy, mostly flat terrain. MEET IN THE DALEY RANCH LA HONDA PARKING LOT BY THE WATER FOUNTAIN. Rain cancels.
Saturday, May 25, 2019, 8:00 a.m. Visiting and Resident Birds of Lake Wohlford
MEET AT THE LAKE WOHLFORD/OAKVALE TRAILHEAD AT 8:00 a.m.
Join Naturalist Sally Sanderson as she leads an easy-paced bird walk of about 3 miles, lasting two to three hours at Lake Wohlford. Participants will follow the southern and eastern shoreline from the parking lot on Oakvale Road. Bald Eagles and Ospreys might be seen, among the resident birds and early summer visitors. Bring binoculars, hat, water and wear layered clothing. To get to Lake Wohlford from Escondido, travel east on Valley Parkway. At Washington Avenue, Valley Parkway becomes Valley Center Road. Continue another 0.8 mile to Lake Wohlford Road and turn right. Drive 1.9 miles uphill to Oakvale Drive, again on the right. Drive 0.7 mile on Oakvale to a gated dirt road on the left, which leads to a parking area for public access to the south shore of Lake Wohlford. Heavy rain cancels.
Want to be a volunteer? If you are interested in volunteering as a Trail Patrol, Hike Leader, Trail Maintenance or Litter-Abatement Team Member, please stop by the Dixon Lake Ranger Station for information and an application—or call (760) 839-4345.
For more information, please contact Ranger Kathy: (760) 839-4345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Directions to Hike Locations:
La Honda Trailhead—From Interstate 15, take the El Norte Parkway exit in Escondido. Go east four miles to La Honda Drive, turn left, drive one mile to Daley Ranch entrance and park in dirt lot on left.
Cougar Pass Trailhead—From Interstate 15, take the El Norte Parkway exit in Escondido east about a half mile to Broadway. Take Broadway north four miles to Cougar Pass (dirt road), turn right, and drive one mile. Park in the asphalt lot on left.
Caballo Trailhead—From Interstate 15, take the Valley Parkway exit in Escondido and go northeast about 5 miles. Turn left at Bevin into the Eureka Springs development. Follow the road toward the filtration plant entrance and turn right at the Escondido Humane Society sign (Volunteer Lane).
Park in the dirt parking lot.
Lake Wohlford Trailhead—From Interstate 15, take the Valley Parkway exit in Escondido and go northeast about 5.5 miles. Turn right on Lake Wohlford Road and go 1.9 miles to Oakvale Road. Turn slightly right onto Oakvale and go about one mile. Turn left into the fenced parking lot.
About Daley Ranch:
Daley Ranch is a 3,058-acre conservation area acquired in 1996 by the City of Escondido and is managed in perpetuity for the preservation of a biologically unique and diverse habitat area of regional importance. Visitors enjoy a variety of recreational and educational opportunities and experiences in a historically significant setting. The property contains a number of natural vegetation communities including lush oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub and chaparral, grasslands, and riparian areas.
Approximately 1.5 miles from the La Honda entry is the redwood ranch house (currently a private caretaker’s residence), redwood barn, and numerous outbuildings of historical interest.
Daley Ranch offers over 20 miles of multipurpose trails for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use. Six distinct trails cover most of the property. Most popular are the Boulder Loop Trail (2.4 miles) which affords outstanding views of Escondido, and the Ranch House Loop (2.5 miles), which passes two small ponds and the site of Daley’s original log cabin.
NOTE: Leashed dogs are allowed.