Stanley Peak – Peak #31 – A rainy morning in Daley Ranch, Escondido

Daley Ranch Trailhead

Daley Ranch Trailhead

Elevation: 1,983′
Miles: 5.5

I was all set to go out to Anza-Borrego to bag some peaks and see some wildflowers, but the weather wasn’t looking very hospitable. Traveling on dirt roads after heavy rains isn’t advised, even with my all-wheel-drive Tiguan.

Instead, I set my sights on a “backup hike” that I’ve had in my mind for a while. This hike is in Daley Ranch in Escondido, which is pretty well visited. On this morning, however, the rain likely kept everyone but the loyal away.

On my way to the trailhead, it looked like the clouds were clearing up, which bode well. However, once I got about 15 minutes up the trail, the rain started and didn’t stop until I reached the summit.

The trail was nice and maintained, a welcomed break from my past few hikes. It dipped down past a rushing stream and meandered through what would have been a nice meadow, if it hadn’t been raining so hard on me.

In some places, the trail was pretty muddy and I could see where horses had recently sunken pretty deep into it. But overall, there were firm spots here and there, so I didn’t get the mud weights on the bottom of my shoes like I did for the McGinty Mountain hike.

Tracks through the mud on the way to Stanley Peak

Tracks through the mud on the way to Stanley Peak

I ran a lot of the trail, where it wasn’t too muddy, to shorten my time exposed to the wetness, so I am sure that I missed a lot of what was there to see. But the area is gorgeous and green as ever. It is a place I want to take my daughter when she gets a little older and the weather gets a little better.

Covering many of the hillsides were wide swaths of blooming purple flowers. If the day was sunny, I would have been presented with mountains of color. But the dark, dreary morning left the display dull and only slightly amazing.


Purple Flowers Blooming all over Daley Ranch

I passed a giant water tower and scrambled up to the peak, wet and cold. There wasn’t much to see, as I had hiked into the clouds. I ran back down the trail as the clouds opened up again with more fury. I made it back to the car in no time, but I was a little damp and muddy.

The view from Stanley Peak in the clouds

The view from Stanley Peak in the clouds

Stanley Peak Benchmark

Stanley Peak Benchmark

But it was a pleasant and memorable hike. For the most part, I was glad to be back on the trail after a month. These weekend rainstorms are sure putting a damper on my progress at this point.

Raining in Daley Ranch

Raining in Daley Ranch

A Pond on the way to Stanley Peak

A Pond on the way to Stanley Peak

Sure it was wet, but like I say all the time, the worst hiking trip is better than almost anything else I could be doing.

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  1. says

    Nice write up. I like the video too. Rain can be a drag, but it can enhance a hike as well, or at the least make it a memorable one. Those pictures really pop.

  2. Escondido Bob says

    Which route did you follow, looking at the map for Daily Ranch it appears you could get to Stanley Peak about 3 or 4 different ways.I am going to do this hike this coming weekend.


  3. says

    My route was Creek Crossing to East Ridge to Coyote Run to Sage and then right up past the old tank and then another right up the service road to the top. I like Coyote Run, as it goes down into the meadow and you pass a stream and a pond.

    Have a great hike!

  4. Escondido Bob says

    Thanks Derek,
    I am looking forward to the hike this weekend, my wife and I hiked Stone Wall Peak yesterday and had a real nice time. I enjoy reading about your hikes and also watching your videos you post, thank you.


  5. says

    Thanks for the kind words.

    It must have been a gorgeous day in Cuyamaca yesterday.

    I really enjoy getting feedback. I tried something new yesterday with video out in Anza-Borrego and sort of messed it up. Hopefully, I can edit out my mistakes.

    Look for a new blog post soon.

  6. says

    All of the times I’ve been going to Daley, I’ve never hiked Coyote Run. Your TR will change that with a walk to the peak this weekend. Thanks.

  7. says

    I was finally able to do this yesterday after work. I really enjoyed seeing the meadow just north of the old water tank. It’s a bit hidden if you stay on Sage, bypassing the .71 up and back cutoff trail to the peak. I finished the hike by making it a loop by heading to the ranch house via Sage. In all, the loop hike is right at 5.75 miles.

    The view from the top on a clear day like yesterday was really nice. To the south I spied Cowles Mountain, to the southwest was Elfin Forest and to the west I caught sight of the ocean. Many other peaks are visible from this vantage.

  8. says

    Sounds like a great day. I tried to make it to that meadow via Sage from the ranch House, but my daughter had enough of hiking about halfway there. She enjoyed the shuttle though!

  9. Nate says

    I had been avoiding Daley ranch for a while because of the fact that it’s such a popular (which means crowded) spot, and didn’t really promise that much of a challenge. But I wanted to get out today in San Diego’s deluge of rain to test out my gear, so I set out to go on a hike. I did this one because Elfin Forest was closed. I’m glad I went, as it’s really beautiful out there. I think the rain and the misty peaks really enhances the hike. All the animals come out in/after rains, and I saw quite a lot of ducks, frogs, and even some deer. I was on the crest trail when it really started to pour, and had a fun time navigating up and down the trail as streams of water started racing through. Thank god for waterproof boots and jackets. Definitely an awesome spot for rainy days!

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