Explore the most popular birding trails in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

on Stonewall Peak Trail

hiking
9 days ago

9/13/2018: Short, sweet...perfect. We planned to come here for a sunset hike, but we misjudged midweek traffic and an unusually busy workday for me, so it ended up being a sunset/night hike. We arrived at 6:15 PM on a Thursday afternoon (an hour later than planned). Paid $10 and parked at the Paso Picacho Campground lot (if you’re arriving later in the day like we did, be sure to bring exact $$$, since there isn’t an attendant later in the day to provide change. One could argue that you don’t NEED to pay the honor system pay envelope “after hours,” but who wants to chance it? Not me; I have no idea where Park Rangers check the lots later in the day. And who wants to be that person anyway?) Walked across the 79 to the trailhead and embarked on the ascent. The “hardest” part of this easy hike is in the very beginning. Once you’re past that initial hump, the rest of the hike will be easy switchbacks, with a fun section at the very end “scrambling” up the rock faces (there are railings the entire way at the top, so fear not. It’s easy).

Made it to the peak in about 45 min, exactly at 7:00 PM to catch the sunset (with a couple short breaks along the way for photo ops). We made it back to the car by 7:30-45. It was full dark by the time we made it back down to the parking lot, so we took it slow coming down (good thing we had headlamps to help us along the way). The headlamps attracted a bunch of flying insects, so be sure to bring bug spray if you’re doing a night hike. It won’t stop them from flying towards the light, but it will keep them from landing/crawling on you.

We came across just two other hikers and a bunny on the way up, but otherwise, it was quiet and peaceful (save for a rattle from the brush we heard earlier in the hike, but didn’t see the critter itself). Overall, would highly recommend as a midweek sunset/night hike. The stars were drop dead gorgeous on the way down. It was absolutely worth the drive.

I love this hike!

hiking
12 days ago

Nice short hike with some great views. There are a few breaks from the sun as you pass through some valleys, but there is a lot of exposure. Not a lot of traffic which is always nice.

One of my favorite hikes.
Gorgeous views, not strenuous but you feel like you went on a hike when you're done.
Completed without complaint by kids 5-12.
Pros - Nice workout, beautiful views, pretty campground at the beginning.
Cons - I didn't feel comfortable taking the 5 year old and 7 year old up the rocks to the peak (I've been called paranoid), although I didn't see any, there was a lot of chatter about rattlesnakes by other hikers.

hiking
19 days ago

Excellent hike. Not to hard and view at the top is great. Short hike but great gain at the end, as far as the final visual reward. I have done it 3 times now and will do it again.

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike. Relatively speaking, there is more shade here than in most trails in this area. Gentle grade most of the way up; the handrails at the top are very helpful. In contrast to posts a few weeks ago, we didn’t see any termites at the top - just great views in every direction. Would recommend this hike.

Awesome hike and amazing views at the top. It was out first time hiking and we would definitely recommend stopping at the ranger station for a map. During the hike, once you get to the fire road, turn right. Then, the sign for Conejos trail is a bit hidden and will be on your left after 10 min or so. Bring plenty of water; 2 of us brought 80 ounces and it was just enough.

Very beautiful hike!

Perhaps my favorite hike in San Diego. Challenging, especially the steep grade of the service road, and great views from the summit. Grab a map from the ranger if you’re not very familiar with this area, I had a little trouble finding my way around the loop to the summit the first time I did this hike.

This hike was okay. The views from the peak were nice but the trail itself wasn't very pretty. Lots of overgrowth. Steady climb the whole way, nothing very steep and few flat parts. Thought we would escape the heat but it wasn't the case. Very little shade but nice breeze towards the top. Not a hike we would do again and again.

hard walk, dont try this trail un the Summer, no river, no waterfall

hiking
1 month ago

nice easy hike. At the end of the hike there's huge rocks and boulders you can navigate through to take in the beautiful views that stonewall peak has to offer.

hiking
2 months ago

Very easy trial. Small incline at the beginning-maybe a tenth of a mile and that’s about it. Lots of switchbacks and the views all the way to the top were amazing. Loved the stairs leading to the summit. However huge infestation of termites at the summit. So definitely didn’t hang out at the summit for too long. They flew and landed all over my friend. The views at the summit are definitely worth it. It was beautiful. We went early enough we didn’t see any snakes at all but we were definitely definitely wary and watching out for them. Definitely do this hike. You won’t be disappointed.

hiking
2 months ago

Good trail did the complete Harvey Moore trail , the back side was not fun (overgrown and doesn’t look like it has seen much traffic lately) mileage was my GPS clocked the whole thing at 11.3

Great little hike. Plenty of shade in the am hours. At the peak monument there is a huge infestation of termites, pretty gross!

Beautiful trail, recommend following the guidance here up Azalea to the right then down the paved road on the way back (not fun for the feet though).

Note: the entrance to Conejos is very difficult to spot, the trail sign is hidden if you’re travelling from Azalea. Also, bring lots of water and sunscreen. Park patches, cool gifts, and wildlife display at Cuyamaca Rancho visitor’s center before you get to the campground- worth a stop Sat and Sun 1000 to 1600. Recommended soundtrack for the drive: Tin Hat Trio: The Rodeo Eroded.

Great hike! Moderate difficulty, well-maintained path and lovely views from the top.

Breath taking trail. The trail has a very sad slow rate of forest regeneration, which prompted a reforestation project to replant using donations. It breaks my heart when I saw such magnificent pines burnt to the core. Quick history: The fire took place in 2003, when a lost hunter lit a signal fire hoping to be found. That signal burned out of control and became the biggest wildfire in California's history, burning more than 300,000 acres, killed 15 people and burned 2400 homes.

Great trail I love it

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty cool and easy hike if you want to take your kiddos. The down side about this hike is that you can’t take your dog. Also, watch your step because I came across with two rattle snakes on my way up.

Beautiful hike. But... tons of horse manure and as mentioned in other reviews ticks aplenty.

great hike, even with my 4 and 6yo. switchbacks make the ascent easy and the views are spectacular. watch out for rattlers!

Excellent trail, love the view

on Oakzanita Peak Trail

hiking
3 months ago

Overall the trail was nice and just about moderate.
However, today (May 28 2018) there were millions of bugs around. Great views from the peak!
Took me about 2 hours out & back.

FYI. As of today 5/27, getting to the trailhead on the opposite side of the 79 required splashing through a flooded creek bed. Wasn’t in the mood to slosh through knee high stagnant water and squish 7 miles out in wet socks so I parked 2 miles north and picked up the West trail when it connected with the fire road.

Great Easy-Medium hike for most. Completed the 5.4 mile trek this morning starting at 0600-ish. Did not see a soul on full hike. About Hike: $10.00 parking, self pay & park if you go early. Initial incline at start is a good breather, short lived, then easy-peasy switchbacks to peak. Love the view, trail is great, but narrow, will not go during peak hiking crowds, I amagine the stop and go, give way, and Good mornings..will become tiresome possibly. Intend to hike next time pre sunrise with head lamp to scare myself with the epic creepy dead trees and (I bet) shadows...Boo! Back side mountain return is a must for joggers to not worry about front-end congestion. Although drive not fun to get there, well worth the hike..Will go again and again

Great forest hike. Nice weather with a cool breeze! Park at the campground and pay the $10 parking fee. The azalea glen trail is south of the parking lot. Flat and gradual incline at the beginning. Steep as you reach the peak.

I really loved this hike and had no idea it was across the street from Paso Picacho! It’s definitely a new favorite in the area. Lots of blooms and taller vegetation even though this hasn’t been the wettest spring. My only WARNING is that I do not think this hike is entirely kid friendly. The hike itself is doable and well kept, but the top even with the rails would have made me very nervous if I had brought my wild 6 year old with me. There are huge gaps between the rocks and rails and if you have a clumsy or defiant or careless child (which describes many children), they could easily fall from a great height. I don’t consider myself a helicopter parent and have no problem with taking some risks with children, but take a good look at the pictures of the top before you take your kids. I would, however, take my cautious 9 year old who I’m sure would absolutely love it. The top is quite breathtaking and I plan to go back often! But consider carefully what your children are capable of before you bring them!

Love it!! Perfect for a birthday hike with friends!!

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