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“Skip the Beach for a Day” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Daley Ranch

Daley Ranch
Valley Center Road, Escondido, CA
(760) 839-4680
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Ranked #7 of 19 Activities in Escondido
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Hiking Trails, Ranch & Farm
Attraction details
Ontario
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Skip the Beach for a Day”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2014

If you are staying in Carlsbad/Ocean Side/San Diego take a day and go hiking at Daley Ranch, a 3,000 acre Mountain Park with Boulders the size of Mini Vans. There are many trails and I would rate the hiking as family perfect as there are some steep hills but not difficult. I have completed all the trails and just finished Engelmann Oak - Cougar Ridge - Bobcat and Burnt Mountain hikes about 6.2 Miles in 3 Hours (I am 55 so not too fast). The Engelmann Oak trail has one small oak tree that I found with acorns (rather small) but was good to find right on the trail.

There are incredible views from many of the peaks in the park and I think the best find is a large Boulder near the end of Rock Ridge - it is hard to find but worth trying to find it as there are a few pennies on top if you find it and can manage to climb it!

If you are doing the Cougar Pass entrance I recommend going to the right and complete Cougar Ridge then Burnt Mountain then go around and take Bobcat down or Engelmann Oak down to the base.

Best route I think is from La Honda Drive and then do the following Creek Crossing - East Ridge, Jack Creek, Meadow Loop, Hidden Spring (This I think is the steepest Climb) then Engelmann, Cougar Ridge, Boulder Loop then Ranch House Road back to parking (3 Hours).

Here is the website link for directions:
http://daleyranch.org/explore/entrances-driving-directions/

To get to Daley Ranch, you’ll need to drive to one of three entrances to the preserve. Once parked at an entrance, you can enter Daley Ranch on foot, bike, or horse. However, before you leave home, you should know some important facts and choose the driving directions and entrance that are best for you:

1) La Honda Drive (most popular)
Trailheads & Physical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Once you park your car, you can choose from either the Ranch House or Creek Crossing trails to start your journey.
Driving Difficulty: Easy. Access by car is via paved city streets.
Parking Availability: Plentiful. A large gravel lot offers numerous parking spaces directly across the street from the entrance to Dixon Lake.
Address & Driving Directions: 3024 La Honda Drive, Escondido, 92027. From eastbound El Notre Parkway, turn left onto La Honda Drive. From westbound El Notre Parkway, turn right onto La Honda Drive. Drive all the way to the top of the hill, and just before La Honda dead-ends, turn left into the gravel parking lot. Get exact directions from your location on Google Maps…
2) Cougar Pass
Trailheads & Physical Difficulty: Difficult. Once you park your car, you can start your journey into Daley Ranch on the Cougar Ridge North trail, which is largely uphill.
Driving Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. Access by car is via paved city streets for most of the way. However, the last mile is an unpaved, uphill road.
Parking Availability: Moderate. A gravel lot offers some parking spaces directly across the street from the Cougar Pass entrance / Cougar Ridge North trailhead.
Address & Driving Directions: Cougar Pass Road, Escondido, 92026. Take Broadway north to Cougar Pass Road and turn right. Keep winding uphill on Cougar Pass until you reach a gravel parking lot across the road from the Cougar Pass entrance to Daley Ranch. Turn left into the gravel lot and park there. Get exact directions from your location on Google Maps…
3) El Caballo Park
Trailheads & Physical Difficulty: Difficult. Once you park your car, you can start your journey into Daley Ranch on the Caballo trail, which is all uphill.
Driving Difficulty: Moderate. Access by car is via paved city streets. However, the last few turns can be a little tricky because they aren’t major intersections.
Parking Availability: Plentiful. A large gravel lot offers numerous parking spaces near the Escondido Humane Society, right next to the El Caballo Park entrance / Caballo trailhead.
Driving Directions: Take Valley Parkway East, then turn left onto Beven Drive. Next, turn right onto Burnet Drive. Continue straight on Burnet, and just before you reach the Escondido Humane Society, turn left into the gravel parking lot next to the Caballo trailhead. Unfortunately, Google Maps does not seem to be able to generate reliable directions to this entrance.

Visited November 2014
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13 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Escondido, California
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Great HIke”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

You have to be patient with this hike. The initial trek in from the parking area is worst part of the hike. Once you get to the valley then there are several beautiful trails to explore.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mission Viejo, California
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
74 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Nice place for a hike.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

We were spending the weekend in Escondido and the weather was beautiful so we headed here for an afternoon hike. We took an easy hike to the ranch house that was about 2.2 miles I think round trip. It starts off pretty step levels off a bit then down the back side. There are many trails to take in the area and if we had more time we certainly would explore more of them.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cerritos, California
Top Contributor
233 reviews 233 reviews
107 attraction reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
166 helpful votes 166 helpful votes
“Go for the Peak!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

This ranch is located about 90 miles south of LA, arrive early on weekends to get a spot in the free lot. Just a short walk from trailhead, restrooms available at Dixon Lake. This is a popular hiking area that's dog friendly and shares trail with mountain bikers and horses. Tip: if you stay off single track trails, you won't run into as many bikes. Very little shade, need water, hat, sunscreen because it does get warm, and summer even hotter!

Many trails, but decided 5-6 miles would be about right. Started counter-clockwise from Sage trail which takes you past the Old Water Tank. For a better workout, continue on to Stanley Peak. Once through the meadow, the elevation gain makes a noticeable appearance. At the top, check out view and don't forget to sign the register. There's a few ponds before arriving at the Ranch House where you'll find porta potties, benches, and shade! From there, it's downhill to the parking lot.

A nice surprise, large jugs of water on the trail for you and/or your dog. Not to mention the friendly ranch staff driving around in a truck (w/water) making sure everyone stayed hydrated....a nice perk for hikers!

Summary: a nicely maintained trail and a good place to get your steps, so go for the peak!

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Escondido, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Never a Better Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

If you're looking for a calm stroll through beautiful So Cal scenery or an invigorating Hike up a steep hill, maybe a mountain bike ride through the back hills. This is the place to do it. They have clearly marked trails for every level of outdoors person.

Visited March 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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