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Five cool hikes around North County

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” -Henry David Thoreau

San Diego County is a treasure trove for the outdoor lover. We have deserts, mountains, lakes and the Pacific Ocean. Intertwined in our landscape are hundreds of miles of bike trails and hiking trails. It’s im- possible to pick a favorite spot. The following hiking trails offer a bit of it all – scenic views, challenges and a variety of distances. All you need is time and water.

Daley Ranch, Escondido:

Daley Ranch, North County Hikes, Escondido Hikes
Daley Ranch, North County Hikes, Escondido Hikes ey-ranch-hikes.aspx.

Found next to Dixon Lake, Dal- ey Ranch is perfect for day hikers. There are wild animals such as coy- otes and bobcats, many birds spe- cies, rattlesnakes and native plants like fragrant California Lilacs. The ranch is a network of trails totaling about 25 miles. It accom- modates people, mountain bikes, horses, and dogs. Keep in mind if you go midday the trails are very busy. The park is open from dawn to dusk.

Double Peak, San Marcos:

North County Hikes, Double Peak Park, San Marcos Hike
North County Hikes, Double Peak Park, San Marcos Hike

There are some very cool 360 degree views of mountains and the ocean. Starting at Discovery Lake (close to CSUSM) it’s a five- mile loop on a firebreak road and lots of chaparral. There are more trails around the lake for running, mountain biking and hiking. Pets are OK. Open year round dawn to dusk.

San Luis Rey River Trail, Oceanside: gov/ns/parks/amenities/trails.asp.

From 0 to 14 miles: The trail starts at Mance Buchanon Park, off of College Drive, and goes to Nep- tune Drive in Oceanside (within blocks of the beach) Lots of walk-

ers, roller-bladers, kids, pets, cy- clists; needless to say it’s a busy trail. It’s flat, easy, and you can turn around anytime, making the hike as long as you want.

Woodson Mountain, Poway:

Mount Woodson, North County Hikes, Poway
Mount Woodson, North County Hikes, Poway Hikes/MtWoodsen_7320.asp.

This is a more challenging hike with 2.000 feet elevation gain. It is a total of 11 miles (up and back) and a fee of $4 for day parking at Lake Poway. Take Interstate 5 south to Ranch Bernardo East, this becomes Espola Road and this takes you to the Lake Poway entrance. The view is spectacular in all directions at the top. A popular trail for people at Mt. Woodson is Potato Chip Rock.

Ricky DeLoeravallia, a current student at Palomar, said “Potato Chip Rock is my favorite. You don’t really get to see people sit on the edge of a rock and take pictures.” ( to-chip-rock-hiking-trail.html)

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, Escondido:

North County Hikes, Elfin Forest Trai
North County Hikes, Elfin Forest Trai elfin-forest-recreational-reserve

Here is 750 acres of trails that have views of Olivenhain Dam and Lake Hodges. The trails are open to runners, hikers, mountain bikes, equestrians and pets. Take Har- mony Grove Road to mile marker 6. Look for the Way Up Trail which in- tersects with other trails at the top. You’ll see lots of bird species, chap- arral and creeks and you’ll catch views of Escondido, San Marcos and the ocean. Trail is open from 8 a.m. to dusk.

When you find yourself feel- ing stressed or bogged down with studying, take some time and head for the hills. It’s good for the soul and you just never know who you’ll meet on the trail.

“It’s a good way to take your mind off of the go-go-go of every day,” Palomar student Hiba Dhiyebi said, “It’s a good way to meet people and you lose weight.”

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Five cool hikes around North County