It had been a long time since we’d made it up to Daley Ranch for some hiking, and were feeling like we were long overdue for another visit. The weather hadn’t been particularly conducive to peak bagging, especially in Escondido, but we decided to suck it up and make an early start so we could tackle Stanley Peak. The day turned out to be warm, but not unbearably hot, so with an ample supply of water and sunscreen we were adequately prepared for the adventure.
We parked in the dirt lot near the trailhead, right next to the Escondido Humane Society. As we were getting out of the car and gearing up, we spied a volunteer dog walker with one of her charges heading for some nearby trees.
We set off up the trail, which immediately began to ascend. A large grove of eucalyptus trees grew to the left, but the trail was completely unshaded. The heat wasn’t too bad yet as we’d gotten a reasonably early start, but I knew I would soon be reminded of why I prefer hitting Daley Ranch in the winter.
The trail switchbacked its way up the chaparral covered hillside and our leg muscles protested slightly at being forced into full climbing mode so quickly. We knew the discomfort would soon subside and continued the ascent.
We continued up the trail to 1.2 miles, where the Quail Run trail branched off to the right. This narrow, single track trail was a shorter and more direct route to Stanley Peak than staying on the wide Sage Trail, so we turned right.
Around 2.75 miles a spur trail leading to the Old Water Tank branched off to the right. This is a short (less than half a mile round trip ) side trip you might want to add if you’re a fan of large graffiti-covered cylindrical metal objects. We decided to skip it this time around and continued on the main trail.
At the far side of the meadow, the trail passed once again through some shady trees. We found ourselves right along the edge of the Daley Ranch property line, and signs and fences guided us up the hill towards the peak.
After taking some time to rest and enjoy the views, we headed back the way we had come.
From Northbound I-15, take the Valley Parkway exit and head east on Valley Parkway. Heading east, Valley Parkway will briefly turn into Grand Ave, Crescent Road, then 2nd Ave before turning back into Valley Parkway. Approximately 6 miles from the freeway, turn left onto Beven Drive, then right onto Save A Life Way, following signs for the Escondido Humane Society. Drive to the end of the road, the parking area and trail head will be on the left, just before the entrance for the Humane Society.
From Southbound I-15, take the El Norte Parkway exit. Head east on El Norte Parkway for approximately 4.6 miles. Turn left onto Valley Parkway and continue about .2 miles to Beven Drive. Turn left onto Beven Drive, then right onto Save A Life Way, following signs for the Escondido Humane Society. Drive to the end of the road, the parking area and trail head will be on the left, just before the entrance for the Humane Society.
|Total Distance:||7.25 miles|
|Total Ascent:||1535 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
|Facilities:||Port-a-potty and water in parking lot|