daley ranch hiking biking equestrian

Escondido offers some of the best hiking and biking opportunities in San Diego County. With trails for beginning, intermediate, and advanced, exploring is family-friendly and a great way to get some exercise and experience the natural beauty of Southern California.

Daley Ranch, Lake Wohlford and Kit Carson Park Naturalist-guided Hikes
Daley Ranch Open House
Trail Crew Volunteer Opportunities
General Info

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 unless otherwise described.   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 are below the schedule.

JANUARY SCHEDULE

Saturday, January 4, 9:00 a.m.: Daley Ranch Hike With a Ranger
Creek Crossing and Chaparral Nature Trail. Easy to Moderate; 1.3 miles total.

Saturday, January 4, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon: Kit Carson Park Hike With a Ranger
at Kit Carson Park  3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025
Learn about the history, flora and fauna of Kit Carson Park.
Meet at the Queen Califia’s Parking Lot. For all ages. Easy hike.

Sunday, January 12, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Trail Crew Volunteer Opportunity
The San Diego Mountain Biking Association is back and active at Daley Ranch! Meet at the Dixon Lake Hilltop parking lot to join the SDMBA Trail Crew to help us maintain Daley Ranch trails. Please wear appropriate work clothes and closed-toe shoes. Bring gloves, water and any snacks to sustain yourself during the day.

Sunday, January 12, 8:30 a.m.: Wintering and Resident Birds of Lake Wohlford
Naturalist Sally Sanderson will lead an easy-paced bird walk from 8:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Lake Wohlford. The route will be about 3 miles, and will follow the southern and eastern shoreline from the parking lot on Oakvale Road. We hope to see a Bald Eagle perching on its favorite tree or hunting in the lake for fish. Common Mergansers should be back from their northern summer haunts.  Bring binoculars, hat, water, and wear layered clothing. Heavy rain cancels.   MEET AT THE LAKE WOHLFORD/OAKVALE TRAILHEAD AT 8:30 A.M.
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 and turn left into the fenced parking lot.

Sunday, January 12, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.:  Daley Ranch Open House
Approximately one 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.

Saturday, January 18, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Trail Crew Volunteer Opportunity
The San Diego Mountain Biking Association is back and active at Daley Ranch! Meet at the Dixon Lake Hilltop parking lot to join the SDMBA Trail Crew to help us maintain Daley Ranch trails. Please wear appropriate work clothes and closed-toe shoes. Bring gloves, water and any snacks to sustain yourself during the day.

Saturday, January 18, 8:30 a.m.: Wildlife Tracking Walk
RSVP via the Daley Ranch Tracking Team Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/274174760154306/ to join senior tracker and Daley Ranch Tracking Team leader, Denise Harter, for an easy wildlife tracking walk. Look for animal tracks, scat, and other evidence on the trail that coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, deer and other seldom-seen wildlife have been in the area! We will meet at the La Honda parking lot and take a short hike to one or two good tracking locations close by. The hike will last between one-and-a-half to two hours depending on how much we find! Older children are welcome. Bring water and wear appropriate clothing (layers, hat, sturdy shoes).

Saturday, January 25, 7:00 a.m.: Discover Daley Ranch
Meet Naturalist William Sherrard for a moderately paced hike on the trails of Daley Ranch. The planned hike is between 5 and 7 miles in length and will last for about 2.5 to 3.0 hours. For those wishing to go longer distances, Bill can recommend routes of 9, 11, 14, 16 and 18 miles in length.

 


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 kboyd@escondido.org.


Directions to Hike Locations:

La Honda Trailhead—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. From Interstate 15, take the El Norte Pkwy exit in Escondido. Go east four miles to La Honda Dr, which intersects El Norte Pkwy on the north side of street. Continue one mile to Daley Ranch entrance parking lot on left.

Cougar Pass Trailhead—From Interstate 15, take the El Norte Pkwy exit in Escondido. Go east about a half mile to Broadway. Go north on Broadway four miles to Cougar Pass (dirt road), turn right onto Cougar Pass Rd and go one mile. Park in the asphalt lot on left. If it’s been raining, parts of this route can be slippery, deeply rutted, possibly flooded in spots. There is an alternate route.
Alternate Route to Cougar Pass Trailhead: From Mountain Meadow Rd & N Centre City Pkwy, head east on Mountain Meadow Rd for 1.3 miles. Continue straight onto Hidden Meadows Rd for 0.8 miles. Hidden Meadows Rd turns left and becomes Granite Ridge Rd. Continue on Granite Ridge Rd for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto Meadow Glen Way E and continue for 0.3 miles. Continue onto Cougar Pass Rd for 0.7 miles. Keep right. Trailhead parking lot will be on the right 157 ft.

Caballo Trailhead—From Interstate 15, take the Valley Pkwy exit in Escondido and go northeast about 5 miles. Turn left at Beven Dr. Follow the road toward the water filtration plant entrance and turn right onto Save-A-Life Way. Park in the dirt parking lot on the left.

Lake Wohlford’s Oakvale and Egret Trailheads—In Escondido, travel east on Valley Pkwy to Lake Wohlford Rd and turn right. Drive 1.9 miles on Lake Wohlford Rd to Oakvale Dr and turn right. Drive 0.7 mile on Oakvale Rd to a gated dirt road on the left, which leads to a parking area for public access to the south shore of Lake Wohlford.

More 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.

More information… rules & regs, map, history, volunteer, etc.:
City of Escondido
Friends of Daley Ranch