San Dieguito River Park
Sunset Drive, Escondido / Bandy Canyon Road, Escondido
Website link

Length of Trail: This is an approximately 10 mile trail from the Mule Hill Trailhead and Staging Area off Via Rancho Parkway to the San Pasqual Trailhead and Staging Area on Highway 78 and Bandy Canyon Road, Escondido.

Mule Hill Trailhead and Staging Area: On Sunset Drive, accessible from Highway 15 and Via Rancho Parkway. From I-15, take Via Rancho Parkway East. At the first traffic light, turn right on Sunset Drive and drive to the parking lot at the cul de sac.

San Pasqual Trailhead and Staging Area: Exit Via Rancho Parkway, go east. Take right on San Pasqual Valley Road. At intersection with Hwy 78, take a right, following the signs for the Wild Animal Park. Go 2.75 miles past the Wild Animal Park, cross over the bridge and take a right at Bandy Canyon Road. Take another right into the dirt lot, and follow the signs for the trailhead parking area.

Trail Conditions: The trail is well marked and described as easy to moderate. About a mile from the Mule Hill staging area, the trail joins the San Pasqual Agricultural trail and there are crop fields on both sides of the trail. The trail becomes more challenging as it climbs along Raptor Ridge. Vertical Climb: 324’ lower elevation to 760’ higher elevation. The trail is generally flat, with one steep section that increases 400’ elevation in a 3400’ distance.

Trail Users: The trail is open to hikers, cyclists, as well as horseback riders. Dogs are also welcome on a leash. Please pick up after them!

General Site Info: “The Mule Hill Historic Trail is full of 19th century history, when the region was just being settled. The remains of the circa 1870 Sikes Adobe Farmhouse is located near the Sunset Drive staging area. The trail passes Mule Hill an 1846 Mexican- American War battle site and State-registered landmark. Portions of the Mule Hill Trail follow the old Butterfield Overland Stage Route which carried mail between San Diego and Texas.

This trail is part of the San Dieguito River Park’s Coast-to-Crest Trail, stretching 55 miles from the ocean to the Pacific Crest. The San Dieguito River Park comprises 94,000 acres and was established in 1989.