Del Dios Highlands Preserve


9860 Del Dios Highway
Escondido, CA 92025

Hours:  8 a.m. - 1/2 hour before sunset, daily
Pedestrian access available sunrise to sunset daily, no public vehicle access or restroom availability on December 25.

Park Phone: (760) 745-4379

Get park updates and check for closures on our  News Page


  • From north bound Interstate 15, exit Via Rancho Parkway. Go left on Via Rancho Parkway and take it four miles west to Del Dios Highway. At Del Dios Highway go left. The preserve entrance is 1/4 mile down on the right hand side of the road.
  • From south bound Interstate 15, exit Valley Parkway and make a right hand turn. Take Valley Parkway for 4 miles. Valley Parkway will turn into Del Dios Highway at Via Rancho Parkway. After passing Via Rancho Parkway the preserve entrance will come up ¼ mile on the right hand side of the road.

Location Map



  • QR Fit Exercise Trail


Del Dios Highlands County Preserve is 774 acres of open space habitat acquired as part of the County of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program. From 2002 to 2004 the County partnered with the Escondido Creek Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority to acquire and restore this parkland.

The Preserve consists of coastal sage scrub and mixed chaparral habitats. A variety of wildlife makes their home in the Preserve. These rugged habitats provide mammals and reptiles a place to stealthy forage and make their homes. Raptors are a common site over head or perched in trees. Now preserved in perpetuity, these hill tops are preserved as monuments to the natural beauty of San Diego County.

The Del Dios Highlands Trail straddles the San Dieguito and Escondido Creek Watersheds and provides a passive trail connection joining the communities of Del Dios and Elfin Forest. The trail is open for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian use. Half way up the trail from the Del Dios Highway staging area visitors can enjoy an inspiring view of Lake Hodges to the southeast. Further up the trail the Pacific Ocean can be seen on a clear day. The trail connects with the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve trail system managed by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

The Preserve is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to sunset. In the event of heavy rain the preserve will not open for public safety and protection of the resources.


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