The semi-rural community of Hidden Meadows is an unincorporated, census-designated place with a population of just 3,485 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. This is an increase of just 0.6% from the previous census, and that suits residents just fine as they continue to enjoy the tranquil, family-friendly lifestyle offered by their small country town.
There are few businesses in this mostly residential area, but locals do not mind driving to Escondido, Temecula or San Marcos to run errands, since this helps preserve the peaceful Hidden Meadows way of life.
The first recorded title to the land that is now Hidden Meadows was issued to George C. Kuchel in 1882. His brother, Robert Kuchel, purchased adjacent acreage shortly after. Although Robert sold off some of his land over the years, much of the land owned by the brothers was passed down through the family until George’s land (Big Rock Ranch) was sold to John Burnham, and Robert’s land was sold to Will and Bernice Watson in the 1940s.
Big Rock Ranch was then sold to John S. Young after Burnham’s death in 1953. After Young’s suspicious death, the ranch — which was now known as Meadow Lake Ranch — went to Ruth R. Young and was then sold to Republic Development in 1965. By 1966, Republic Development had built a golf course and infrastructure and had started selling lots. When their loan was foreclosed upon in 1968, the development changed hands a few times and was purchased by Continental Heritage Corporation in 1970. Under this new ownership, the golf club became Meadow Lake Country Club, and the vacant lots became known as Hidden Meadows, owned by Golden Meadows, Inc.
The first meeting of the Meadows Homes Association took place in 1971.
There are only about 1,200 homes in the Hidden Meadows area, most of which were built between 1970 and 1989. While you can find pockets of homes constructed prior to 1950, this area remained largely undeveloped until the 1970s. There are also a few areas with homes built after 2000.
The vast majority of homes in the Hidden Meadows area are single-family, detached homes that are almost entirely owner-occupied. There are a few apartments and some condominiums in the community, but opportunities to rent or own an attached home in Hidden Meadows are rare.
About half of the homes in this community fall under The Meadows Homes Association and are subject to covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), as well as homeowners association (HOA) fees. This primarily applies to the homes closest to the golf course. There is also a large, age-restricted mobile home park popular with retirees, and some of the homes in Hidden Meadows are in small, gated communities.
At the time of this article, the most affordable housing option available for sale that is not in foreclosure or a timeshare is a one bedroom, one bathroom, 574-square-foot condominium listed at $129,900. There are also a few vacant lots on the market for less than $200,000. Mobile homes in the age-restricted Champagne Village start around $200,000, but newer manufactured homes with garages in this community seem to be found more in the low $300,000s.
The most affordable single-family, detached home that is not in foreclosure that I could find is a three bedroom, three bathroom, 2,200-square-foot home in a gated community on the market for $425,000. I found only two other options under $500,000 and just three homes on the market for between $500,000 and $600,000. Options are more readily available for potential homeowners with home-buying budgets between $600,000 and $1,000,000. There are also a handful of luxury homes with listing prices of more than $1,000,000.
According to city-data.com, the mean 2011 price for detached homes was $710,504, and the mean price for all types of housing units was $589,968. Zillow.com reports that the median listing price of homes (all housing types) at the end of November 2014 was $606,000.
Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment
Residents of Hidden Meadows enjoy a semi-rural lifestyle free of restaurant chains and big-name retailers. There is a handful of businesses in the community, but folks generally need to drive to Escondido, Temecula or San Marcos for most dining, shopping and entertainment options. The Meadows Deli Market is currently the only local spot where residents and visitors can order a pizza, grab a sub sandwich or pick up essentials between trips to the city for grocery shopping.
While residents need to drive to Escondido or San Marcos to do most of their regular errands, an easy drive down Interstate 15 will deliver you to a shopping area that should have just about everything you need. Vons is located where El Norte Parkway crosses the 15, and just a little farther south around the junction of Interstate 15 and Highway 78, you will find Pep Boys, Harbor Freight Tools, HobbyTown USA, GameStop, Kohl’s, banks, gas stations and most of what you need on a regular basis.
Westfield North County, which is home to Macy’s, Target, Starbucks, The Body Shop, JCPenney and the many other stores you expect to see in a mall, is only about 20 minutes away on Interstate 15.
The Lawrence Welk Resort, which is minutes away for most homeowners in Hidden Valley, is home to shops, a dinner theater and restaurants.
Parks & Recreation
Hidden Meadows is about 30 minutes from the beach and is home to three popular North County golf courses.
Welk Resort San Diego, which is located on Lawrence Welk Drive, has both the Oaks Course and the Fountains Course. The Oaks Course is an 18-hole, 1,837-yard, par-54 course designed by Jim Brown, and the Fountains Course is an 18-hole, 3,968-yard, par-62 course designed by David Rainville. The Fountains Course is ranked in the top 10 golf courses in San Diego County and is included on Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play list.
The Meadow Lake Golf Club, which is located on Meadow Glen Way East, has an 18-hole, 6,550-yard, par-72 course, as well as a snack bar, clubhouse, putting and chipping green, and a driving range.
Traveling north along Interstate 15 from Hidden Meadows, you will also find two RV resorts. The All Seasons RV Park is a 27-acre park with 150 campsites, a fishing lake, playgrounds, a heated swimming pool and spa, and a country store. The lake, playgrounds, pool and picnic areas are also available for day use, so locals and visitors can enjoy these amenities without staying overnight at the park.
A bit farther north is the Champagne Lake RV Resort, which offers RV campsites, tent campsites, RV storage, a swimming pool, a lakeside playground, stocked fishing lakes and a market with a deli.
The 39-acre Walnut Grove Park is located southwest of Hidden Meadows in San Marcos. This community space is home to picnic shelters, two playgrounds, two horseback riding arenas and the Williams Barn, which is a local landmark that can be reserved for events and special occasions.
Daley Ranch, one of the most popular North County destinations for outdoor recreation, is located southeast of Hidden Meadows and is home to Lake Dixon and miles of hiking, biking and riding trails.
Public school students living in the southern part of Hidden Meadows are primarily served by the Escondido Union School District and Escondido Union High School District. These students most often attend Reidy Creek Elementary School, Rincon Middle School and Escondido High School.
Those living in the northern part of Hidden Meadows are generally served by the Valley Center – Pauma Unified School District.
Hidden Meadows shares its northern and eastern borders with Valley Center. The San Marcos neighborhood of Sarver is to the west, and the Jesmond Dene community of Escondido is to the south. The western border of Hidden Meadows is just east of Interstate 15 and the southern border runs along Mountain Meadow Road.
If you are interested in learning more about the area’s history, there is a detailed account of Hidden Meadow’s past on this Hidden Meadows community website.
If you are considering moving to the area, you may also want to learn more about the Meadows Homes Association, which is the homeowners association governing about half of the homes in the area. There is also the Associated Residents of Hidden Meadows, which is a group of area residents dedicated to hosting community events and welcoming new residents.
If you love to garden, you may also want to look into the Hidden Meadows Garden Club, which has an active membership that enjoys garden tours, guest speakers, plant exchanges and workshops throughout the year.
The photographs of the Meadow Lake Golf Course are courtesy of the Meadow Lake Golf Club website. The photograph of Welk Resort San Diego is courtesy of the Welk Resorts website. The photograph of the Hidden Meadows Home is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Downtowngal. Real estate data gathered from Point2Homes.com, Zillow.com and city-data.com.