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

Daley Ranch Trailhead

Elevation: 1,983′ Miles: 5.5 Trailhead

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

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.


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

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

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.


Interesting Video on Anza-Borrego Wildflowers from KPBS

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - Come for the wildflower bloom, stay for the scenery

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - Come for the wildflower bloom, stay for the scenery