Barnett Ranch is a modest parcel of open space in Ramona set aside under an open space protection act enacted by San Diego County. This park is one of the numerous preserves run by the county, which includes Penasquitos Canyon, Volcan Mountain, and El Cajon Mountain.
Distance: 4 Miles
Elevation Gained: 400′
I got a new job working as a therapist at an office in Ramona. I now get contracted out to Ramona Unified School District to help kids, particularly low income ones. This means that I drive out to Ramona five days per week, which has been fine in large thanks to Harry Potter audio books. One of the perks of working in “the country,” with an assist from Daylight Savings, is that I’ve been able to catch a lot of evening hikes after work.
Getting in a hike after work has been especially advantageous. Changing jobs is pretty stressful, and being able to hike takes the edge off of the stress. I rarely ever hike in the afternoon and evening, and I’m enjoying being out on a trail during the magic twilight hours. Of course, it still means I have to drive an hour back to Oceanside, but I take whatever opportunities I can find where they are available.
It turns out that there’s a lot of hiking between Ramona and Escondido. Barnett Ranch is one of the options. I didn’t know much about it until I started cruising around town to see what’s here. This preserve, like nearby Mt. Gower, El Capitain, Santa Ysabel, Ramona Grasslands, and Volcan Mountain, is run by the county, which has taken on a policy of trading off space for development for preserve space. This leaves a patchwork of open space preserves in the midst of a sort of low-grade suburbia. It also means that a lot of nice places have been saved.
Barnett Ranch itself is a fairly modest preserve. The park protects oak-studded grasslands, which are probably at the peak of “greenness” right now. Two separate trails offer up to 4 miles of hiking. This isn’t a hike that you’d want to drive an hour for, but if you’re in the area, it’s as good a hike as any. It also features some good views of El Cajon Mountain and the Cuyamaca Mountains. On a late Spring afternoon with cool breezes blowing off the ocean, it’s a relaxing, peaceful hike.