Cougar Ridge to Engelmann Oak Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Escondido, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Very pleasant day. Ended up with 9.5 miles by the time we included Boulder Loop which we highly recommend. Varied terrain and views throughout. Some open meadow, some tree covered, shady trail. Reminds us a bit of certain sections on So Cal PCT. Nice combination of elevations. Not a difficult hike but a very nice workout. Would do it again.
If you're looking for a good workout, this would be it. Following close to the suggested route, there were plenty of uphill stretches that help with a bit of cardio, and even more so on a bike. You climb up high enough to get some decent views to the west and south, then when you get to the shelter at Boulder Loop trail you get an eastern view. (and today I got shelter from a sudden downpour) As you loop around to the north of Burnt Mountain, you get several views to the north. Then you give back all of that elevation gain on a descent to the trailhead. There's varied terrain to be seen, including oak groves, ridge trails and mountain meadows, There's also several geocaches waiting to be found.
Moderate hike with lovely views! The road getting to the starting point can be rough, but the trail is definitely worth it. There are several trails to choose from, and most are frequented by bikers. Saw lots of deer tracks and a coyote as well.