Monday, May 31, 2021

Wildflower Trail (Escondido Creek in Spooks Canyon)

On Memorial Day, the sun burned off the May Gray for a few hours so Tori and I took advantage of the sunny sky to hike Wildflower Trail in Olivenhain for the first time. The hike begins on Fortuna Ranch Road, heading south on a horse trail lined with white painted fences. After a half mile we reached the loop intersection and decided to go counter-clockwise. After the dirt trail enters a gated community of expensive ranch houses, it becomes a pleasant walk on shady streets before the path heads south on Staircase Trail (No Stairs!) that climbs over a small ridge.

As we descended the other side, we left the ranch houses behind and entered Spooks Canyon Trail with the Escondido Creek running down the center. There is a small hidden park with a swing set and picnic tables where the trail parallels the stream. Tori and I had fun crisscrossing the creek in several places on the fallen logs and the exposed stones. One of the rocks was loose and and I ended up soaking a shoe as I tried to save my balance. Ha!

The most strenuous part of the hike was climbing the rising trail out of Spooks Canyon. Near the end of the loop the trail cuts through the center of Wildflower Farm on Old Oak Trail. It was nice walking through the horse stables and practice rings of the Equestrian Training facility. Leaving the farm, we reconnected to the spur trail that led back to our parked truck. If you want to shorten the 3.3 mile hike, you can skip walking through the streets of the gated community on the north side of the loop and take Vineyard Trail through the center as a shortcut to the entrance to Spooks Canyon.