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Hike or bike through a long, spring-green valley in Escondido's Daley Ranch preserve.

The nearly flat ramble along Daley Ranch's Jack Creek Meadow is best in the springtime -- and also comfortably suitable during the summer, provided you travel in the cooler early morning or late afternoon. If you live or work in North County, consider this route for a bit of quick and intense exercise: a speed-walk of perhaps 90 minutes, a 60-minute jog, or a 40-minute mountain-bike ride.You may want to bring along your leashed, athletic dog.

The 3000-acre Daley Ranch lies in the rocky hills just north of Escondido. To get there, exit Interstate 15 at El Norte Parkway in north Escondido. Drive three miles east and make a left turn (north) on La Honda Drive. Drive one mile uphill to the end of the road, where you will find the large parking lot/staging area for Daley Ranch on the left, just short of the Dixon Lake entrance.

On foot or bike, bypass the Daley Ranch entrance gate and follow the paved Ranch House Trail access road north for 1.2 miles to the quaint redwood Daley Ranch House (generally closed to public visitation), which lies to the left. Descendants of Robert Daley, who settled in this valley in 1869, built the house in 1928.

Walk a short distance and you'll reach the Jack Creek Meadow Loop Trail. The elongated loop you follow ahead takes you around the margins of a linear meadow, so narrow and so straight that it suggests some underlying, probably ancient, geologic fault structure. The meadow, lined with a dark green row of coast live oaks and backed up by steep slopes shaggy with chaparral, looks impressive when seen in early-morning or late-afternoon light. Close at hand you pass several gnarled specimens of Engelmann oak, with gray-green leaves and light-colored bark. The meadow grasses are almost entirely nonnative, typically of an emerald green color until sometime in April, then bleached yellow-brown into the summer.

After returning to the ranch house, finish up by retracing your route on the paved access road. Nearly 30 miles of old roads and trails lace through Daley Ranch Preserve and the adjoining Dixon Lake Recreation Area, so make a promise to yourself to return someday to discover more.

This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.

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The nearly flat ramble along Daley Ranch's Jack Creek Meadow is best in the springtime -- and also comfortably suitable during the summer, provided you travel in the cooler early morning or late afternoon. If you live or work in North County, consider this route for a bit of quick and intense exercise: a speed-walk of perhaps 90 minutes, a 60-minute jog, or a 40-minute mountain-bike ride.You may want to bring along your leashed, athletic dog.

The 3000-acre Daley Ranch lies in the rocky hills just north of Escondido. To get there, exit Interstate 15 at El Norte Parkway in north Escondido. Drive three miles east and make a left turn (north) on La Honda Drive. Drive one mile uphill to the end of the road, where you will find the large parking lot/staging area for Daley Ranch on the left, just short of the Dixon Lake entrance.

On foot or bike, bypass the Daley Ranch entrance gate and follow the paved Ranch House Trail access road north for 1.2 miles to the quaint redwood Daley Ranch House (generally closed to public visitation), which lies to the left. Descendants of Robert Daley, who settled in this valley in 1869, built the house in 1928.

Walk a short distance and you'll reach the Jack Creek Meadow Loop Trail. The elongated loop you follow ahead takes you around the margins of a linear meadow, so narrow and so straight that it suggests some underlying, probably ancient, geologic fault structure. The meadow, lined with a dark green row of coast live oaks and backed up by steep slopes shaggy with chaparral, looks impressive when seen in early-morning or late-afternoon light. Close at hand you pass several gnarled specimens of Engelmann oak, with gray-green leaves and light-colored bark. The meadow grasses are almost entirely nonnative, typically of an emerald green color until sometime in April, then bleached yellow-brown into the summer.

After returning to the ranch house, finish up by retracing your route on the paved access road. Nearly 30 miles of old roads and trails lace through Daley Ranch Preserve and the adjoining Dixon Lake Recreation Area, so make a promise to yourself to return someday to discover more.

This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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