What's at the Lake?
Known for it's bass fishing, Dixon Lake is a man-made reservoir located in the outskirts of Escondido; it is open year-round from 6AM until dusk with an entry fee of $5 a car on weekends and holidays, weekdays are free. The lake is small, but at one time the "world's largest" Bass was caught/released here. As far as outdoor activities, you can not swim or consume alcohol, but boat rental, fishing, bird watching, camping, hiking and climbing are certainly available. There are several trails take you through good chaparral, oak, and riparian woodland, as well as some exotic plantings down near the Lake Shore picnic area. Dixon Lake offers a campground, as well as cabins, and is adjacent to Daley Ranch.
The climbing area is rather dense, there are about 40 bouldering, top-rope and short lead routes in this area of fine granite; steep faces and an occasional crack. The mornings are rather shady in the summer, so with its quick 5-minute approach trail, Dixon Lake crags make an easy quick fix of climbing for locals. Route ratings are 5.3 to 5.12, and most have bolts at the top for anchors - lots of bolts, but a few routes may require some gear to set up a top rope. There are a few short leads using large gear and slings; “landing zones” are not friendly, but there are some slabby routes with bolts on the face.
This is not the finest of climbing areas, but as stated, sufficient for summer mornings or fall afternoons. There is a bit of graffiti and garbage, just what you would expect from a crag that is way too accessible. Great beginner stage, or clean-up effort.
From I-15, north or south, exit El Norte Parkway and go east through Escondido approx 3 miles. Turn left (north) onto La Honda Drive, sign is usually obscured by branches; if you pass Lincoln, you have gone too far. Follow La Honda through residential area to the park entrance, which is a sharp right turn at the Daley Ranch gate. Stay on lake road approx half a mile to Trout Cove parking lot on your left; park here.[img:531897:alignright:small:Who IS Peter Lyon?]
Approach trail is obvious across the street through fence with reinforced log steps. There are portapotties in the parking lot, no running water. Take first branch of fine trail to your right to reach the base of routes, otherwise you will take a stroll to the highest point over the rock formations - this is Climbing Rock Trail. One of the rocks contains a memorial plaque to Peter David Lyon (1949-1999). An internet search did not find any reference to Peter Lyon.
Camping and Red Tape Info
Contact Park Ranger at (760) 839-4680 for camping, fishing and rental information.
[img:531900:alignleft:small:Don't loose your guidebook!]
Suggested reading - San Diego County Climbing Guide Dave Kennedy & Chris Hubbard