Explore the most popular forest trails near Escondido with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike spot if you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy some beautiful scenery. You make the hike however long/challenging as you like with the various trails you can pick once you get to the top! Starts with. 1.5mile trek up the mountain, but once you get to the top you have several trails to pick long or short that offer lake views, ocean view, or overlooking all of Escondido’s city. Highly recommend! Grab a map from the resource center in the parking lot for a guide on which trails you want!

It was a fun hike with my wife and our first trail in California. The scenery was beautiful.

I’ve done this one a few times. Pretty easy terrain until you actually get to Stanley Peak Trail, then there’s some good incline to the top, but it’s not super long. The trails are well marked at Daley Ranch and of course it can get toasty there. The only reason I knocked off a star is because the view at the top is disappointing. Your view is of a road and you can hear the cars, but it’s worth the hike to see the other mountains.

PARKING: limited parking in the dirt lot that opens at 8AM so i recommend getting there a little early to claim the prime spot.

THE HIKE: locating the trail head was a bit difficult for me since there were multiple trail heads at the start. choose the right one or you'll end up by the river with no where else to go (whisper: saw a lady doing yoga posses on this very short trail and i awkwardly walked backwards as though i just saw a bear)

Anyway, the hike itself is very well maintained and saw a few rangers making rounds making sure that people are leashing their dogs and making sure poops are in poop bags. I went during the weekday so didn't notice a lot of human traffic (perfect for my introverted self). HOWEVER, the reserve does offer guided hikes and as i was heading back, a swarm of (i kid you not) 20 children were running past me and 1 chaperone absentmindedly staring at her phone.

You'll go through some slight inclines and declines but overall, the hike was bearable. The dam (which i mistook for the lake) is pretty cool but definitely make your way up to the actual overlook for breathtaking views!!! i guarantee you're hiking mind will feel the euphoria of gorgeous scenery. Take your time taking it all in, too! It was nice being the first and only one at the overlook.

I would say this is one of my favorite hikes in the area. Warning though, there's very little shade so either go super early to beat the heat (especially during the summer) or be prepared and slather layers of sunblock. Also be careful for random animal droppings. And bugs.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful. Trails were well defined and had adequate signage. Grounds were beautiful— a lot of trails and hiking nooks to check out! If you’re not a hiker or out of shape it probably won’t be as enjoyable. I found it to be easy but it was a challenging easy! There are portables and drinking fountains found throughout the grounds. One could easily spend a day here I came on Sunday morning very little foot traffic. *put on sun screen

One of my favorite hikes to do in this area!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, got off on the wrong trail and had to backtrack a few times, but well worth it!

Great hike glad I live close to this trail!

There's a dirt lot before the entrance to the park that's free to park and the trail seemed to start there. We did the loop in a clockwise fashion which we recommend now that we've completed it as it will get the big elevation change out the way first. Lots of little ups and downs closer to the shoreline. We found using the recorded path helpful as there were a few forks in the road and some paths were slightly overgrown. Porta-pottys along the way.

This is a very easy path/trail. There are TONS of mountain bikers on it so you will need to be aware and be ready to move to the side. I would hesitate to bring younger children on it when the mountain bikers are around in droves even though the pathway is relatively wide. There are plenty of blind curves. The views are fine- I appreciate harder hikes so for me, this is a good entry level path but for others it may be exactly what they want or need. Bonus points for the Sunday Farmers Market at the parking lot from 10-3. Great fruit offerings were available.

Great Trail lots of options to choose your distance!!!

Nice trail. Definitely I will return to take side trails. Be careful, there are a lot of rattlesnakes! However, as elsewhere on such trails in California.

Easy to moderate trail to the peak with a little surprise at the summit. Wedge between boulders is a metal box containing journals and pen encouraging hikers to share their experience hiking Stanley Peak. Love the idea and made sure to share my thoughts. Most of the trail is paved with loose sandy soil and only almost half a mile to the summit that the trail became rocky. Easily doable even for children who love adventures.

Great hike!

Plain and simple... a must do. Can't wait to return to this loop for the fall when the rain starts!

mountain biking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail, your gonna want to keep going so check out del dios gorge trail. Worth worth it!

3 months ago

I recommend you continue all the way to overlook. it has a wide Rocky road, you may see a ranger in a truck, and if you keep going it goes around Lake Hodges and goes to a peak that's pretty awesome. It's worth the extra time and energy!

Great hike! There is a good mix of incline and level ground. Multiple routes to choose from once you hike about 1.5 miles!

Nice loop. You have options on directions as well as some side trails so not likely to get boring if you repeat. Great views. Bikers were considerate and trails wide enough to accommodate all.

Great little hike, beautiful day. There were quite a few people but still enjoyable. It would be good for dogs and kids but need to be patient. I don’t know what kind of tall spiked flowers I saw but beautiful. Look like a yucca of some type.

3 months ago

great hike! the lake is beautiful, and there's places to rest along the way. Do go all the way to the Overlook it's worth the five and a half miles round trip

great hike, beautiful creek, flowers and views
starts going up, there's no shade but the views are breathtaking. you can see so many lakes and reservoirs

hiking
3 months ago

Steady ascend to the overlook. It was fairly warm although we started our walk @ about 830 am., so I suggest starting the trip earlier in the day if possible.

Loved this hike- starts an uphill trek to get the heart rate going- pretty little creek then somewhat levels at one mile up- beautiful views of olevhain reservoir and lake Hodges- spotted red tail hawks and other birds ,a roadrunner and nice trails along the way- definitely going back.

I love this hike- I made a loop out of it. Easy to follow and many trails to go explore. I recommend it.

I took my kids on the this trail! We took the botanical route back, and it was beautiful! We walked across the stream and the running water was amazing! Just stay on the trail as there are poison plants off of it—but there are warning signs everywhere!

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked there today, had a great time. Very good workout, half of the hike is uphill so be prepared with lots of water. It’s only shaded on some parts, so I also recommend bringing sunscreen. It’s a long hike but the view is worth it, especially when you get down by the reservoir. The hike up is fairly crowded and you have to be careful when people are passing you on the narrow path. There are many pretty wildflowers, you also get to see lizards.

My only real complaint is that one of the tags on the hike is misleading. It shows that there is forest on this hike, but it’s not true. There are trees for only a fourth of the hike, the rest is open brush and rocky terrain.

All in all it was a good hike. I’d do it again :)

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