The content on this page is from William Sherrard's e-book
Hiker’s Guide to the Trails of Dixon Lake and Daley Ranch.

The southern terminus of the Ranch House Road Trail is at the end of La Honda Drive in Escondido near the entrance to Dixon Lake. An information kiosk is a few feet to the south of the trailhead.

There probably is some confusion in the minds of some as to where the trail ends. If measured to the trails intersection with the Jack Creek Meadow Loop trail it is 1.20 miles long. If measured to the ranch house it is 1.10 miles long. This is the mileage shown on the Ranch House Road Trailhead marker.

The trailhead elevation is 1,185 feet. The trail reaches a maximum altitude of 1,386 feet, declining down to 1,286 feet at the ranch house. The actual end of the trail is at the trailhead of the Jack Creek Meadow Loop trail, a tenth of a mile beyond the driveway to the ranch house.
A sign marks the beginning of the trail. The trail follows the paved road past the trailhead for three other trails, namely, Middle Pond Trail, Boulder Loop Trail and East Ridge Trail.
The trail is a paved road wide enough for park ranger trucks to pass each other. Just before reaching the Ranch House the trail becomes a gravel road.
If you wish to use a GPS unit for tracking your movement along the trail in conjunction with the odometer, longitude and latitude figures shown on the slides be sure and set your GPS unit to zero at the trailhead.

The trail begins with a moderate climb for about 200 feet, rising from 1,198 feet to 1,386 feet. The latter is the maximum height obtained throughout the length of the trail.
Shortly after leaving the trailhead one can glance over their shoulder and see a view of downtown Escondido. In the foreground are a couple of rolling hills and a home perched atop a knoll near the entrance to the park.
Not far from the trailhead (0.39 Miles) is a bench where one can rest after making the 200 foot climb to the highest point on the trail. The bench is on the right side of the trail offering a view of Daley Ranch to the east. From the bench the trail continues down hill.
About four hundredths of a mile beyond the bench (0.43 miles) is a trail sign for Middle Pond. The Middle Pond Trail is only a fifth of a mile in length taking one down to the pond and beyond to the East Ridge Trail.
At approximately half way to the Ranch House (0.52 mile) one gets the first view of Middle Pond through the trees on the east side of the trail. There are two ponds on the ranch. Middle Pond is smaller than Mallard Pond, the pond seen from the Sage Trail. With a good set of binoculars one may be able to distinguish ducks and other water fowl on the lake.
Boulder Loop Trail intersects the Ranch House Trail at two points. The southern terminus is just three hundredths of a mile beyond the first view of Middle Pond (at 0.55 mile). The loop trail, approximately 2.5 miles in length, branches to the west from the Ranch House Road Trail and returns to the Ranch House Road Trail approximately one-fifth of a mile farther down the Ranch House Trail at 0.73 miles from the trailhead.
Among the customary animals that frequent the Daley Ranch trails with their owners, such as horses and dogs, is the unusual. On this particular day a Daley Ranch hiker/visitor was taking her Llama for a walk.
Hikers who start the Boulder Loop Trail from its southern intersection with the Ranch House Road Trail will end up a short distance down Ranch House road from where they started. The trail, although not as wide as the Ranch House Road Trail, is wide enough to accommodate the vehicles driven by the park rangers.
Shortly after leaving the second Boulder Loop Trail sign (0.79 mile) one gets another view of Middle Pond. The pond is further distant from the trail than our first view. The pond is now to the east and south of where you are standing on the trail.
As we approach the Ranch House we see to our right the trailhead sign for the East Ridge Trail. The trail is 1.6 miles in length and ends with its intersection with the Sage Trail.
Looking north while standing at the East Ridge Trailhead sign one sees a small home on the right side of the Ranch House Trail. The home has a fireplace chimney built from rocks that were used as ballast on sailing ships entering San Diego Bay.
Just a short walking distance down the trail from the East Ridge Trailhead sign, one gets their first glimpse of the ranch house. The ranch house has a porch with pillars at the outer edge of the porch. On the north side of the ranch house is an outdoor oven used for baking bread.
The ranch has a barn and some sheds to the north of the ranch house. There is a horse watering trough on the east side of the road across from the sheds. Consequently it is not unusual to see people riding their horses on the trail and on the lawn north of the ranch house. The rider less horse in the photograph is in training for trail riding. (Click the image at right for a brief slideshow!)
Just north of the sheds at 1.20 miles is the trailhead sign for the Jack Creek Meadows Loop Trail. The trail at 3.4 miles in length (per trailhead sign, 3.27 per GPS reading) is one of the longer trails on the ranch. It goes north to a fence marking the northern border of the park then turns to the right, crosses a creek and then proceeds down the east side of the creek back to the ranch house.
The official end to the Ranch House Road Trail is at the drive up to the ranch house. The distance to the driveway from the trailhead is 1.11 miles. However, at the north end of the ranch house site, where the trail meets the Jack Creek Meadow Loop Trail, the odometer reads 1.20 miles from the trailhead.