Daley Ranch’s Stanley Peak Hike (with Burgers)

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In February, I met up with some of my longtime “internet friends” for a morning hike at Daley Ranch and burgers in Downtown Escondido, California.

Hike This: Daley Ranch in Escondido, California


Photo courtesy of Alyx of Shoestring Adventures.

Alex and I met up with some of our friends from the SoCal Hiker Tweetup Camp Out for a 6 1/2ish mile hike in Daly Ranch. Daly Ranch is located in Escondido, with is in North County San Diego. We got to spend time with Josh of California Through My Lens, Jeff and Joan of SoCal Hiker, Chris of The Last Adventurer, Tracy of Walk Simply, Alyx of Shoestring Adventures, Derek of 100 Peaks, and other hikers on this fun microadventure.

It was a warm morning and some of us were lucky to get some parking in the medium sized parking lot at the trailhead. As we drove up the hill to the parking lot, we noticed about two dozen cars parked along the road, so we prepared ourselves for a full lot and a mini-hike to the trailhead. If you are planning on doing this hike on a weekend, get there early, or be prepared to add some extra mileage to your day with a hike up to the trailhead.

After a quick bathroom break (restrooms are located near the lake. Be careful as you cross the street and walk into the park) and group introductions, we headed out. The trails are very similar to other hiking trails in Southern California: wide fire roads with great views. There is very little shade on these trails, to be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses and carry plenty of water.

Jeff planned the outing and put together a loop that included Stanley Peak, the highest point in the ranch. We looped back to the trailhead and saw the historical buildings on the property and the private home that the Daly Family owns.

Alyx of Shoestring Adventures Hiking in San Diego California - Campfire Chic

Daley Ranch Hikes in San Diego - Campfire Chic

For information on this hike, I suggest checking out Derek of 100peaks’s blog post on it: Daly Ranch Hike

The best part of the hike?

The beautiful purple flowers covering the rolling hills. I’m not sure what plant this is, but it’s gorgeous and gave a soft look to the area as we moved higher and higher to the peak. We stopped to admire the beautiful views from time to time and paused at the peak to snack and enjoy the breeze.

Daly Ranch Trail System in Escondido California - Campfire Chic

Hikes in San Diego - Daly Ranch in Escondido California - Campfire Chic

Group photo courtesy of Alyx of Shoestring Adventures. I’m in the first row, third from the left. I’m wearing my go-to outfit of prAna cropped pants and a scoop neck top from Fabletics.

Okay, the actual best part?

Lunch at Burger Bench in downtown Escondido. Derek, of 100peaks, opened Burger Bench in December 2015, and a bunch of us have been dying to check out his restaurant. It was a fantastic post-hike option because we were able to enjoy the beautiful weather, eat great burgers and onion rings, and the beer selection is on point. What’s better than celebrating a great hike with good friends over great food? It’s also nice to be around people who aren’t making faces at you while you take pictures of your food!

Burger Bench in San Diego California - Campfire Chic

Burger Bench in Escondido California - Great Spot After Hiking in Daley Ranch - Campfire Chic

We ordered:

  • The Bench Burger – Thick smoked bacon, blue cheese, Monterey Jack, grilled mushrooms & onions, arugula, hickory BBQ sauce
  • Homemade Black Bean Burger – House-made vegetarian bean patty, grilled mushrooms & onions, arugula, tomato, Monterey Jack, house-made aioli
  • Beer-Battered Onion Rings
  • Modern Times Black House
  • Craft fountain sodas – Derek must be reading my diary, because he has IZZE orange soda in the soda fountain so obviously I need to just move in and live at Burger Bench until the end of time

If you’re in the Escondido area, or are on the hunt for a place with great burgers and beer, stop by Burger Bench. I wish it was around when I was in grad school and living in Oceanside. I know it would’ve been a nice place to meet friends or to at least escape for a few hours to watch a game between study sessions.

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Active Adventure Blog Friends California Hiking Microadventure

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Meg June 8, 2016, 6:18 am

    How far are you from Escondido? We’re finally getting back to California in 2017 (not sure when yet, but it has to happen! I miss it so much, and my brother whose there) We usually visit Escondido at least once on our SoCal trips. (We really like the Stone Brewery, but would definitely check out that burger place!)

  • Derek (100 Peaks) June 15, 2016, 6:34 pm

    Kam, I just got caught up on my reading list. Thanks for the great write-up and it was great to finally meet you!


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