Daley Ranch: Engelmann Oak, Central Valley Loop Trails

Key for all trip logs
Participant: Tom Chester
Date: 22 December 1998 (Written up 23 December 1998)

Plants in bloom: a few redberries, and a single 3-4' tall bush seen from a distance that looked covered with white lilac flowers, but which were probably seed heads. Some trees still have fall color.
Weather: quite cool: high was only ~53°.
Bugs: none.
Number of ticks: zero.
Number of rattlesnakes: 0.
Other pests: Two unleashed dogs barked and growled at me, including a German Shepherd who came charging at me up the trail without his owner in site at first. At least his owner was apologetic for her dog and tried to control it, finally putting it back on the leash. The other owner seemed totally unconcerned that his dog was growling and trying to attack me, and made no attempt whatsoever to control his dog.
In my 20-some years of hiking, these are nearly unprecedented experiences. Most dogs I meet on the trail are friendly or uninterested in me, and most dog owners with dogs that menace other hikers would leash them.

Although it was a cool day, this was still a pleasant hike except for the two dog incidents. I again very much enjoyed the views, and identified a few more peaks than I had on last week's hike.

This hike starts at the west entrance of Daley Ranch, takes the Engelmann Oak Trail on its northeast side to the Central Valley Loop Trail, returning on the southwest side of both trails, taking the Alternate Trail on the way back to the trailhead.

The roads are pretty muddy in spots, and from the deep bicycle ruts and horseshoe imprints it was clearly much muddier several days ago. However, most of the roads have just dried out enough to be no problem now.

00.0011:22 1150West Entrance.
10.6211:38 1250Jct. Engelmann Oak Trail. Went left.
21.0511:51 1550Good views of Fallbrook, Santa Margarita Mountains, Santiago Peak.
31.4012:04 1750Jct. Alternate Trail (no sign). View of Rodriguez Peak and Pine Mountain just before this junction.
42.2512:24 1900Jct. Central Valley Loop Trail. Went left.
52.2512:26 1900Great views east of Hellhole Canyon, Rodriguez Peak, Pine Mountain, Angel Mountain, Paradise Mountain, Volcan Mountains, Black Mountain, North and Middle Peaks, Cuyamaca Peak.
62.4012:32 1800View now includes El Cajon Mountain and Mt. Woodson.
72.50 12:401800Finished admiring view at same spot at #6.
82.8012:49 1700Jct. path to right. Sign: "Caution: Deep ruts ahead", which is one of many identical signs throughout the preserve.
93.2512:59 1500Jct. Jack Creek Meadow Trail. Went right.
103.401:03 1600Road forks. Went right.
114.351:26 1250Great rock on the hill to the east has been visible for a while.
124.501:30 1450Ranch house. Now served by a shuttle bus from the main entrance on the first Sunday of every month, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
134.551:32 1350Jct. Chaparral Loop Trail. Went right.
144.751:38 1350Jct. Boulder Loop Trail. Went right.
154.851:41 1350Jct. road to right. 53° now.
165.452:022:091700Jct. Central Valley Loop Trail. Went right. View of Cowles and Fortuna Mountains. As I was peacefully admiring the views, I suddenly saw an unleashed large German shepherd dog running and barking at me. The encounter was not pleasant...
175.752:17 1700Path to right.
186.102:27 1800Double Peak, Mt. Whitney, Black Mountain now in view. (not the Mt. Whitney farther north!)
196.452:36 1800Jct. Engelmann Oak Trail. Went left.
206.622:41 1600Beautiful view down valley to south.
216.802:47 1500Jct. Road to Alternate Trail. Went right on it.
226.952:49 1500Alternative Trail. Went right on it. At last, an actual trail rather than a road, going through a beautiful stream valley!
237.353:02 1550Alas, the beautiful trail now turns back into a road.
247.503:07 1700Jct. Engelmann Oak Loop Trail. Went straight to explore path ahead, which petered out quickly.
257.553:10 1700=#24 after returning from path. Amazingly, another encounter with a barking, growling unleashed dog, but whose owner was utterly unconcerned about his dog annoying another. Went west on Engelmann Loop Trail.
268.353:30 1350Jct. Road to west entrance. Went right on it.
279.003:45 1150car.

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Copyright © 1998 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 23 December 1998.