We'll hike the Del Dios Gorge Trail from its beginning up to Lake Hodges Dam and back, a total distance of about six miles. The dam itself is off limits, but we'll get good views of both sides. Along the way, we'll stop at two view points. The trail has a number of interpretive plaques, and even a junked automobile.
Leashed dogs are permitted.
We've hiked this trail before, most recently in 2010.
For more information, check the San Dieguito River Park Web site.
We'll start at a hard-to-find trailhead just below a little fruit and vegetable stand (shown below) on the southeast side of Del Dios Highway in Rancho Santa Fe, 0.09 miles northeast of Calle Ambiente (Thomas 1148 J7, N[masked] W[masked]). There are signs, but they are very small.
SUGGESTED ROUTE FROM SAN DIEGO: Take I-5 north and exit at Via De La Valle, which is also County Highway S6. Follow S6 east through Rancho Santa Fe as it becomes Paseo Delicias and then Del Dios Highway. Pass a traffic light at Calle Ambiente and go just 0.09 miles farther to a fruit and vegetable stand on the right. Turn right there, but do not park there; follow a narrow paved road 0.14 miles down to the trailhead parking area. The distance from Downtown San Diego is about 30 miles and the estimated driving time is about 35 minutes.
If you approach the trailhead from the east, you may find it difficult to make a left turn at the fruit and vegetable stand, because there is no left turn lane.
The nominal starting time is 10:00 AM. I will be at the parking area by 9:30, and at 10:15 we will hit the trail. We should return to the parking area between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM.
Check your favorite weather page on the Internet. (I like www.weather.com.) Wear good hiking shoes and suitable clothing and take lunch, water and sun protection. Take a camera if you wish. Call or send E-mail if you have questions.
RAIN? Heavy rain will cancel the hike. If there is only a little rain, we may still hike. In doubtful cases, I will wait at the trailhead. You must decide whether the weather is tolerable and take appropriate protective clothing. If anyone else shows up, we will hike.
Cell phone service is available in this area, but there may be lots of dead spots because the trail is down in a gorge.
SUGGESTION: Check this page a few days before the hike for any last-minute instructions.