On March 19 California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since that time, beaches and parks have closed limiting available outdoor activities though there continues to be some confusion as to what areas may still be open during this difficult time. It is my understanding the trails mentioned in this post are closed until further notice.
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Khalil Gibran
It was a gorgeous day in San Diego, CA. When I was out driving in the morning, I was struck by a mass of roiLing clouds some distance ahead of me. The strangeness of it was accented by the calm sunny weather I was experiencing further north. After attending my to do list, I grabbed my camera and headed to Torrey Pines beach. The weather was the classic best that Southern California has to offer.
With the cliffs of Torrey Pines Reserve to my left, I drove down Torrey Pines Grade. A stunning coastline stretched out before me. The cobalt blue ocean was striking against the light blue sky as frothy white surf rolled towards shore. A white boat idled just beyond the breakers. Late February brought only a few people out to stroll on the beach.
I had thought I might hike the Torrey Pines Reserve’s trails. The trails offer panoramic views of the rugged cliffs and the Pacific. However, I found the mounds of scattering clouds that floated east over the mountains simply irresistible and headed inland towards Lake Hodges.
The mountains are calling and I must go. -John Muir
Always a pleasant afternoon drive, I cruised Via de la Valle and turned right onto Paseo Delicias/County Hwy S8. Commonly called Del Dios, the road is a scenic mountain route connecting the inland city of Escondido with Rancho Santa Fe and the coastal communities. A right turn on Elm Lane led me along a one lane road into a bucolic community situated around Lake Hodges. A left onto Lake Drive took me to Lake Hodges Marina and Boat Rentals. The trail around Lake Hodges is an easy hike for any skill level. There were a number of people strolling; Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Another hiking trail in the area is Del Dios Highlands Preserve. It is located at 9860 Del Dios Hwy, Escondido. Turn off of Del Dios onto a graveled dirt parking area and there begins the hike – straight up a mountain. I will rate the trail as moderately easy because I was able to do it, and I am by no means an experienced hiker. I saw families walking, dogs on leashes included. Take aways: the trail goes up, there is no shade, and the gravel is a little difficult on the descent back down. Beautiful views of the mountains and of Lake Hodges.