Daley Ranch, revisited (and updated).

Creek Crossing Trail – East Ridge Trail – Jack Creek Meadow Trail – Hidden Spring Trail – Engelmann Oak Loop Trail – Cougar Ridge Trail – Boulder Loop Trail – Rock Ridge Trail – La Honda Road

Distance: 11.1 Miles (Day 1) and 5.1 Miles (Day 2)
Elevation: 2,000′ (Day 1) and 800′ (Day 2)
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (Day 1) and Moderate (Day 2)
Time: 3:27 (Day 1) and 2:24 (Day 2)
Critters: an endless parade of rabbits and quail.


This is my second trip to Daley Ranch. I went there previously in January, and blogged about it here. Unfortunately, my camera is still out of commission, so I only have a couple of iPhone photos to throw into the mix. I didn’t have my camera on the first go-around, either. I hope I can get my camera working and then get back to Daley Ranch soon before the grass turns brown and the flowers die off. It’s gorgeous there right now.

No matter, though. The camera can sometimes be as much of a boon as it is a burden. Today was one of those overcast southern California spring days. It was cool, humid, and the air had a thick, still quality. Hiking on days like this is fantastic since there’s no sun beating down on you, and that ocean air makes everything feel fresh.

Even better, the wildflowers are going absolutely ape-crap crazy right now. I’ve grouched a little about chaparral here before regarding how I’m bored with it, but there’s nothing like a full-swing chaparral wildflower show to help you rediscover the magic. Everywhere I looked I saw thousands of flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink, lavendar, purple, light blue, deep-blue, grey-blue, shading from purple to blue, and white. Sage bloomed pale blue along side towering Mohave yucca plants sporting their creamy white and magenta tinged blossoms. The scent was heavy with the sweetness of a sea of flowers. Spring is at its peak right now in San Diego, and I hope everybody gets a chance to go out and see all of these fantastic displays.

Daley Ranch is definitely one of the better hiking spots out there. I won’t get too much into its merits, but I highly recommend it for medium to medium-long day hikes. Great floral variety, good views, and a lot of peace and quiet.


I enjoyed this hike so much that I went back the very next day and took the Engelmann Oak Loop, which is a 5.1 mile loop that covers the north end of the park. Let me reiterate: it is absolutely gorgeous outside, and if you’re any kind of hiker, you’ll get out there. Thursday was an absolutely perfect day for a hike. Here’s proof:

April: 128.6 Miles
Year-to-Date: 488 Miles

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