Daley Ranch, Escondido

Escondido is located approximately 30 miles north of San Diego and can be reached via I-15.  Daley Ranch is a city facility that primarily caters to mountain bikers, hikers and horse-riders.  You do see the occasional trail runner, but they are few and far between. 

The trails are mostly unimproved dirt and gravel with plenty of ruts and gullies.  There are lots of elevation changes, with some of the hills quite long and steep.  Vegetation consists mostly of typical Southern California scrub brush and chapparal, with the occasional stand of trees thrown in.  Animal life is extensive, ranging from plentiful rabbits and squirrels to the odd coyote and rattler.  There are even rumors of a mountain lion... The Ranch consists of four or five different trails ranging from approximately two to five miles.  Trails can be "spliced together" to suit individual ability and stamina.  I personally have "mapped out" runs that range from 4.9 to 7.7 miles. Temperatures are generally 10-15 degrees (F) higher than those listed for downtown San Diego, due to Escondido's inland (desert) location.  Humidity, however, is usually low.  There are no watering facilities inside the park, so (much needed) hydration is up to the individual (bottles, camel pacs, etc.)  Most runners try to get their runs in early or late in the day, to avoid heat exhaustion/stroke, etc.

Interaction between runners and other park users appears to be relatively benign.  Common sense and courtesy appear to prevail and go a long way at Daley Ranch.  A large gravel/dirt parking lot exists at the park entrance.  Parking is free, but it fills up quick on weekends.  Ranch admittance is also free.   

Daley Ranch can be reached by taking the "El Norte" exit from I-15 either north or southbound (NOT the "Camino Del Norte" exit, which is located south on I-15 closer to San Diego proper.)   At the end of the exit ramp(s) head east on El Norte Parkway, crossing Centre City Pkwy, Broadway and North Ash Street along the way.  Keep driving, then take a left on La Honda Drive.  There will be signs for Dixon Lake Reservoir and Daley Ranch at the turn.  Follow this road till the end.  The parking lot and park entrance will be on the left at road's end before entering the Dixon Lake Recreational Facility.

Cheers & happy trails, Marcus Speckhahn


Additional Information
Directions:: La Honda Trailhead - From Interstate 15 take El Norte Parkway exit in Escondido east four miles to La Honda Drive, turn left, drive one mile, park in dirt lot on left.

Trail Information::
TRAIL                                             TURN

CREEK CROSSING                              (R)
EAST RIDGE                                         (L)
COYOTE RUN                                      (R)
SAGE                                                     (L)      
HIDDEN SPRING                                 (R)  
BOBCAT                                                (L)
COUGAR RIDGE                                  (L)
BOULDER LOOP                                  (L)
RANCH HOUSE RD.                             (R)

Miscellaneous Information:: A city-owned venue of over 3000 acres with 21 miles of of trail running over hills and oak woodlands of exxeptional beauty. The trails start at an elevation of 1100'asl and rise to as high as 1800'asl within a mile's run.