Daley Ranch Naturalist Hikes

Escondido Lakes & Open Space

Hikes & Activities
September 2019


Hikes begin at the Daley Ranch La Honda Drive entrance unless otherwise noted. Bring water, hat, sunscreen, and treaded footwear. All trails include steep and/or slippery sections. 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 so carry a sufficient supply.


Saturday, September 7, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon: Hike With a Ranger at Kit Carson Park

3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025

Meet at the Queen Califia Parking Lot. For all ages. Easy hike.


Sunday, September 8, 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.


Wednesday, September 11, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Star Party at Dixon Lake

Come look at the Moon! Park in the Daley Ranch La Honda parking lot and walk into Dixon Lake, where San Diego Astronomy Association Astronomers will be at the Hilltop Picnic Area Sports Telescope Field, sharing their scopes and expertise. Jupiter and Saturn should be easily visible. Find out what constellations and deep sky objects we can see and learn about currently active meteor showers. Red cellophane will be available to cover any white light before entering the area.

Overcast skies or rain cancels.


Saturday, September 14, 2019, 8:00 a.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.


Rain cancels.


Saturday, September 14, 8:30 a.m.: Wildlife Tracking Walk
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. Please remember to bring water and wear appropriate clothing (layers, hat, sturdy shoes).


Saturday, Sept 14, 9:00 a.m.: Daley Ranch Hike with a Ranger

Creek Crossing & Chaparral Nature Trail. Easy to Moderate; 1.3 miles total.


Saturday, Sept 21, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon: Dixon Lake Cleanup

I Love A Clean San Diego and the City of Escondido Recycling Division host two cleanups at Dixon Lake every year. The spring event – Creek to Bay – is held in April. In the fall, Coastal Cleanup Day is in September and it also runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Both events involve helping your local environment by collecting trash and recyclables along shorelines, creek paths, and surrounding trails. Bags, gloves and water will be provided, but we encourage participants to bring their own reusable gloves and water bottles. Please wear closed-toe shoes. Advance registration is preferred. For complete details and to register online, please visit http://www.cleanupday.org/ or http://creektobay.org/ or call (619) 704-2772.



Directions to Hike Locations


La Honda Trailhead: 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 at the Escondido Humane Society sign (Volunteer Lane). Park in the dirt parking lot on the left.


Lake Wohlford’s Egret Trailhead: 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.