9860 Del Dios Highway, Escondido, CA 92025
Hours: 8 a.m. – sunset,
Pedestrian access is available from sunrise to sunset, daily.
Set amid 774 acres of open space in Escondido, Del Dios Highlands County Preserve is an inviting place to see and experience nature. As part of the County of San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) the County partnered with the Escondido Creek Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority to acquire the parkland, restore it, and coordinate a plan to preserve it for future generations.
The preserve includes habitats of coastal sage scrub and mixed chaparral, providing a welcoming habitat to various mammals and reptiles. Birds of prey are a common site, often appearing overhead or perched in the park’s trees.
Those seeking an active outdoor experience will definitely find it here. The preserve includes a QR Fit exercise trail and 1.5 miles of multi-use non-motorized trail open for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The Del Dios Highland Trail straddles the San Dieguito and Escondido Creek Watersheds and runs between the communities of Del Dios and Elfin Forest. Make your way half way up the trail from the Del Dios Highway staging area for an inspiring view of Lake Hodges, or make you way further up the trail where, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean.