hiking

views

no dogs

nature trips

trail running

wild flowers

birding

walking

wildlife

forest

camping

backpacking

East of San Diego, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park offers respite from the dry Southern California landscape. The park’s 24,700 acres of oak and conifer forests and expansive meadows are broken by running streams. Located in the Peninsular Range of mountains, Cuyamaca Peak, at 6,512 feet, is the second highest point in San Diego County. From the peak, visitors can see Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the east or the Pacific coastline to the west. Over half of the park's acreage is designated as state wilderness. The two family camps, Paso Picacho and Green Valley, are open and on the reservation system spring through fall. Green Valley sits at an elevation of 4,000 feet and has a creek which runs through the middle of the campground. The day-use area offers sets of cascades and shallow pools, great for water play on hot days. Green Valley has 74 campsites. Paso Picacho, 5 miles north, sits at an elevation of 5,000 feet. The most popular hikes start from this camp, including the 2 mile hike up Stonewall Peak (elevation 5,700 feet), and the 3.5 mile hike up Cuyamaca Peak (elevation 6,512 feet), both which offer breathtaking views of the deserts to the east, the coast to the west, and Lake Cuyamaca at the bottom. Lake Cuyamaca, operated by the Helix Water District, is two miles north of Paso Picacho and offers boating and fishing. Paso Picacho campground has 85 campsites. Day-use visitors may use the picnic areas provided at the campgrounds for $8 per vehicle. The receipt is good for the entire park for the day. The picnic areas offer tables, restrooms, and barbeques. Visitors may also park in legal turnouts along the highway and hike for free. Fire is not allowed anywhere except in the developed picnic areas and campgrounds. The beautiful park offers camping and hiking in an oak woodland forest, with a sprinkling of pines and lovely meadows with creeks. There are over 100 miles of trails which accommodate hikers, bikers, and equestrians. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park. The park is open from dawn until dusk. Dogs on a leash are allowed on the Cuyamaca Peak Fire Road. Dogs are allowed in picnic areas and in the campgrounds (except the primitive trail camps), but they are not allowed on trails or in park buildings.

hiking
5 days ago

I was most surprised by a family that pushed a baby in. Baby stroller to the top of the this beautiful Peak. The 360 degree view was marred by mist or possibly smog to the west, so you couldn’t quite see the Pacific Ocean. Otherwise it was a sunny blue sky day with 15-20 mph winds. We met a couple dozen other hikers, including a group of Japanese teenagers coming up from the Paseo Pacheco Campground, where we parked for $10.

Stunning view! Fairly easy hike. Nice views on the way up too.

hiking
6 days ago

Parking right by the trailhead. Only saw two humans the entire time. Did the hike round trip in 2:40 at a leisurely pace with a few rests. Sick view at the top.

This is a nice hike- but beware of ticks right now. Nice views while on the trail but the best is on the top

It’s a nice hike, the views at the peak are awesome- it’s not that challenging but good workout. The trail it’s easy to follow. Enjoy!

hiking
18 days ago

Completed ModernHiker's East Mesa Loop. Harvey Moore > Granite Springs > Dyar Springs > Eastside. ~9 miles. Didn't see any turkey or deer, but this is a great trail.

hiking
18 days ago

Great hike. Conejos trail is definitely a challenge and it’s a good workout going up. The views are spectacular.

Good little hike close to home (I'm in Descanso). We Started at the East Mesa Fire Rd which intersects the South Descanso Creek Trail and continued to the North Descanso Creek Trail. Everything is nice and green right now, there is even some water flowing through the creek, which will probably be dry in a few weeks. Its a nice gradual climb to the peak with a few switchbacks along the way. The trail is well established and it would take a lot of work to get lost, but bring a map and compass just in case. There are plenty of other trails in the area that you can use to make this a much longer hike. Great views from the top, you can see Stonewall Peak, Cuyamaca Peak and even my house (with binoculars).

One of my favorite hikes in San Diego. Love the view and some fun rockclimbing

good little hike with great views from the peak.

hiking
20 days ago

Loved this Trail especially for the views at the top. The switchbacks made for a pretty smooth hike.

I loved this trail. lots of tributaries that are more challenging too. plus lots of deer!

hiking
23 days ago

Great little drive-by type "get out and stretch your legs" type hike. We were on route to Joshua Tree and needed a break. Awesome views on the way up, superfantastic views at the summit, and another set of terrific views on the way down. This trek just keeps on giving! Just do it!

Beautiful views all around and the frosty weather at the top was like the cherry on top. Enjoyed the cold and the icy winds on an other wise warm day in San Diego. We hiked with our dog so we stuck to the paved road (~5.4 mile out and back). Would definitely come back here soon!

Lovely, easy hike. Not too steep, really nice views. A little muddy due to snowmelt, and a little windy at the peak, no real worries though. The campground at the start provides nice bathrooms n parking.

Fun trail. If you hike it counter-clockwise there is a stretch in the first half that is a fairly steep uphill climb. The views at the top are the reward and they are pretty magnificent of the valley below and Lake Cuyamaca. I’ll do this one again.

Amazing, the most beatiful

Lovely trail.

Nice little trail, close to my house. The first trail on the left is Dead Horse Trail, it takes you to a creek crossing at about .1 miles. The logs look pretty sturdy, but will probably sink when you step on them if you hike this trail after winter rains like I did (wet left foot for the rest of the hike). Its a nice little climb up the trail from there to a pass between two small peaks. After that, there are some nice meadows that would make a great spot to stop for lunch and possibly see some wildlife. Due to time restraints, I took the Saddle Back trail, which takes you to a second creek crossing which was much wider, but easier to negotiate. This trail intersected the Merigan Fire Rd after about 1.6 miles, after that its easy money back to the trailhead. I tracked my hike to about 7.68 miles. BTW, check for ticks! I came back with two.

Easy hike with 360 degree views. Nice spot to sit and lunch.

hiking
1 month ago

A variety of terrain and a great workout to prepare for longer hikes.

hiking
1 month ago

3/3/18 Great hike! I definitely wasn't prepared for the cold weather and all the snow up there but the hike itself through the woods and meadows was gorgeous. I plan on going back soon to get some better views and hopefully better weather, a lot of fog rolled in on my way up so I didn't get to see any of the scenery from the summit.

Pictures and snow slowed me down so I took a little under 4 hours to hike it. I took the Azalea Glen trail up to the Azalea springs road, then the cuyamaca peak fire road from there. Took conejos trail back down, which takes you back to azalea springs.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked the Harry Moore trail on Sunday 3/4/18. Starting from the parking lot the upper trail is wonderful, beautiful scenery and rolling hills. Saw several deer and a lot of turkey tracks. I proceeded to take the trail all the way down the back side to the East Side Trail. This is where I had a problem. There is no sign for this trail or indication of this trail anywhere? It is clearly show on the map, but after three hours of searching no trail could be found. I had to back track up the back side of the Harvey Moore trail to the East Mesa Fire road. I didn't get back to the parking lot until 8pm. Please check where the Harvey Moore trail turns into the East Side Trail. Any trail in that area takes you north. I wouldn't wants this to happen to anyone else.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this trail right after a storm dumped around 6 inches of snow. There was snow all the way up and back, at least 12 inches deep in places. It felt like 10 miles with the snow, but the landscape was epic.

Trail is so overgrown it made us search around for hours off trail and never ended up finding the waterfall despite being smackdab at the base of the trail on GPS. Trees have fallen and seem to block any view of any waterfall. Cannot recommend

This trail seemed more moderate than easy but maybe because it was covered in patches of snow and ice. The stairs to the peak were completely iced over and pretty slippery. Without the railing, there's no way I would have made it up. Beautiful view at the top! Would try it again in nicer weather.

hiking
1 month ago

Male, 35 (and female companion, 29)
6', 240 lbs
Fitness level: average
Hiking experience: intermediate
Date of hike: 02/10/18
Pace: easy/moderate
Total time: A little under 3 hours (app clocked us at 2:35 movement time)
Weather temp: Didn't track, it was probably around 60-70

Definitely do this counterclockwise, starting from the Azalea Glen Road trail and make your way up to Conejos and then to the Fire Road (paved road).

Beautiful scenery, one of the very few hikes in San Diego where you can actually see trees and pines. Huge, beautiful pine trees!

The hike for the most part is easy until the climb at the end, it is quite demanding on your cardio, especially if you're not in optimal shape. But just take it easy and you'll be fine.

Highly recommend this hike, probably my favorite in SD.

hiking
1 month ago

This is on the top list for hikes. Overall the hike was easy and at the end was rewarded with some AMAZING VIEWS. To start you will need to park across the street at the campgrounds. There is a $10 fee for the day use parking. Once parked you can cross the street and start your journey to the top. The hike has lots of shade as you go through the switchbacks to the top. Make sure to take in the views as you work your way to the top, there is lots to of awesome viewpoins. Once you get to the top it is a narrow staircase to the top viewpoint where it is about a 6ft x 6ft area. For our hike it was not to busy and we were able to go up right away. If it is busy, you might endup needing to wait a little in order to prevent going to the viewpoint while it is too crowded. When we went up it was about 50 degrees for the day. I wore a light jacket and it was perfect for the hike. You get a little warm while in the sun, and cold while in the shade / breeze. Prepare for lots of wind at the top! I will be back, awesome hike.

Stellar views like mentioned before. Easy hike, trail is nicely kept up. Summit has a marker . The views are breath taking. Great family hike. No pets allowed thou.I feel and think this is one of San Diego’s hidden gems. A must do even if it’s short and sweet

Great for family. All ages. It’s an easy hike but my son and I ran it. So that made it not so easy. So if you want to burn calories and get a good workout then run it. But if you’re going with the family just to enjoy the views then it’s still just as great but not so hard.

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