Daley Ranch Naturalist Hikes

Escondido Lakes & Open Space

Hikes & Activities
December 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 activities unless otherwise described. The schedule is also posted 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, December 7, 9:00 a.m.: Daley Ranch Hike With a Ranger

Grand Loop Trail. Easy to Moderate; 2.5 miles total.


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

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 Parking Lot. For all ages. Easy hike.


Sunday, December 8, 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.


Wednesday, December 11, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Star Party at Dixon Lake

It is quite possible that we may see the International Space Station fly over for a few minutes ~5:36 – 5:44, at which time Saturn and Venus would be setting in the southwest. 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 telescope views and expertise.
Red cellophane will be available to cover any white light before entering the area.
Cloudy skies, fog or rain cancels.


Saturday, December 14, 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, December 21, 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.
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.


Saturday, December 21, 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, December 28, 2019, 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.


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 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.