Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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.

First 10-15 minutes are difficult but well worth it

amazing placer

hiking
18 days 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

Very Nice smaller, short hike. Beautiful views of layered mtns. Saw some of the wildlife-a Buck & coyote. Good spot to do some bouldering in a few spots. Highly recommend if ur in the area

Beautiful views!

This is an easy to moderate trail. Not very many steep inclines. There is road noise due to it being parallel to Del Dios Hwy. There is little to no shade on this trail, so early morning would be best in the summertime. This trail is used by mountain bikers as well and the trail does get narrow at times. You do walk over the Del Dios bridge and it is a wonderful rusted but sturdy bridge. Once you reach the viewpoint there is a wonderful snake metal sculpture and you can look through a pipe telescope to see the dam and a river. This would be a nice hike for most people.

Nice hike. That first mile or so is definitely rough but well worth it. The Equine Incline loop is nice and quiet and likely a brand new hike if you do the loop in reverse. Great parking as well at the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Uphill, uphill and uphill some more. But it’s a great trail with lots of great views.

One of my favorite hikes to do in this area!

hiking
1 month ago

It was a nice hike...looking forward to trying different trails at Daley Ranch

Take plenty of water and make sure to wear sun screen. Not a lot of shade but overall a great place to go hiking.

Great hike glad I live close to this trail!

trail running
1 month ago

This was a fun challenging run for being 4 miles. Lots of uphill and just when I thought I had done enough and was starting to go downhill I started back up again. In all it wasn’t just 4 miles but also the equivalent of climbing 40+ flights of stairs

This is not the hike that is described here. the trails here are very limited. You can hike Wes about 1 mile in and the trails disappear. They are not maintained in the water level is very very low. I went bushwhacking for a while and turn around. I then drove over the dam on Oakvale Road to check out the Egret Trail on the south side of the lake. it is basically a service road. About a mile long and then it just ends. so I turned around and went back to the car. there are some nice rocks to climb on on the lake is very pretty. Some people were catching a few fish.

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.

The first mile is rough, I would recommend warming up so you don’t go from sitting to walking up crazy hills. They do have bathroom and water along trail which I found unusual but I appreciated the water. There are lots of little loops to do. The damn is really pretty. Overall a good hike!

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

hiking
1 month ago

A nice little hike. Pretty easy.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Much harder then the reviews led us to believe but my husband and I found the surrounding nature to be worth the effort! LOTS of incline but it was so beautiful and peaceful

2 months ago

great hike.. interesting to read the history and all about the invasive species. you might even see a horse or two joining you on the trail!

Excellent trail. Take a map if you haven't hiked it before. Go early, take plenty of water. Have fun!

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail with lots of options to go in different directions. We hiked a total of 7.9 miles and went up Stanley Peak which is 0.7 miles out and back to the top with nice views overlooking Escondido. Lots of elevation for a good workout plus different types of scenery, which alternated from being woodsy to a more sage brush environment.

Theres a variety of options. Paved with slight grades to completely dirt with rock, step grades, or for acomplete experience of both do the loop. Even the full loop has a few route options more difficult.

Great hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. Steep incline. Lots of trail choices!

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