SummaryTrail GuideTopo MapReviewsPhotosGPS
Daley Ranch—Engelmann Oak Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This trail highlights the Engelmann oak (or mesa oak)—a somewhat rare evergreen oak tree found only in parts of interior Southern California. Along the way you’ll also see the ubiquitous coast live oak, with its characteristic dense and dark green foliage. Engelmanns, with sparser foliage and grayish-green leaves, tolerate dryness better and tend to thrive on high, as well as low, ground. In the ravine bottoms, where subsurface water gathers, the thirstier coast live oaks gather thickly and often manage to exclude other trees."
--Jerry Schad, Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press).
The north end of Daley Ranch is less utlized than the portions near Dixon Lake, probably because it's a little harder to reach from the main parking lot and the the north trail head is accessed via a winding dirt road. But the extra effort pays off with fewer hikers, bikers and equestrians as well as beautiful oaks, meadows and roller coaster-like ridge lines.
The Engelmann Oak trail is certainly one of the nicer hikes at Daley Ranch (the Boulder Loop is also high on my list of "must do's" when visting there) in that you are presented with an almost perfect combination of steep climbs and flats which permits you to catch your breath without stopping.
The guide is pretty accurate in it's description of the hike, but be sure to take a detour through the Bobcat trail to see one of the largest oaks in the area. Some folks call it "The General" and its imposing size warrants a salute and appreciation.
One of the hikes you should consider is start at the northern entrance and hike the entire length of Daley Ranch to its main parking area where you've left another vehicle. The Engelmann Oak Trail will be a major portion of the first miles you undertake.
If you're at Daley, don't miss this lovely section of the park.
Sign in/up to upload photos.