Daley Ranch Naturalist Hikes

Escondido Lakes & Open Space

Hikes & Activities
October 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, October 5, 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.


Wednesday, October 9, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Star Party at Dixon Lake

Come see the Moon! Saturn should be visible, and we may have Jupiter until ~8:30 p.m. Will we be able to see any galaxies? Let’s find out! 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.

Red cellophane will be available to cover any white light before entering the area.

Cloudy skies or rain cancels.


Saturday, October 12, 9:00 a.m.: Daley Ranch Hike with a Ranger

Daley Ranch House & Mallard Pond. Easy to Moderate; 3.2 miles total.


Sunday, October 13, 8:00 a.m.: Early Bugs, Birds & Botany

Please join Naturalist Lee Dezan on a three-to-four-hour hike. Trail routing: Creek Crossing, East Ridge, Coyote Run, Diamondback, Sage and Ranch House Road. The ranch house will be open for visitors at 11:00 a.m. We will be passing Mallard Pond and may spot some early migratory ducks.  Wear hiking/treaded boots, a wide brim hat and sunscreen. Bring at least one liter of water. Leashed dogs welcome. RAIN NEVER CANCELS!  (Dress for the weather).


Sunday, October 13, 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, October 19, 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. MEET IN THE DALEY RANCH LA HONDA PARKING LOT BY THE WATER FOUNTAIN.

Rain cancels.


Saturday, October 19, 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, October 26, 2019, 7:00 a.m.; Discover Daley Ranch

Naturalist William Sherrard will lead a moderately paced hike of about five miles on the trails of Daley Ranch. The hike will last about two-and-a-half hours. The route will be decided at the La Honda Drive Trail-head.


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 onto Save-A-Life Way. 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.