Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

9 days ago

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

Really fun little hike, you’ll need $10 for parking but you can schedule a guided hike with the Park Docents. Michelle and Carmen were very nice and welcoming and had so many fun things to show us. Local plants and a WWII era water reservoir system. Super fun swimming hole at the end!

easy to moderate. ..

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Id give it a 3.5 star review only because we did an out & back up the paved fire road instead of the loop...super steep & hard on the lower body. Still doable, but so boring! Take the fire road on your way down the loop! Also, theres huge gaudy satellite antennas at the top with a barbed wire gated fence. Totally ruins the views at the peak trying to dodge cables in your photos. About halfway or so up (or down) the fire road theres a cute little lookout with a bench. The views are breathtaking! Youll want to take a minute to take it all in!

We took a different route to get to cuyamaca peek. We parked at Paso picacho campground and hiked up a maintenance/fire Road. This made it a pretty easy climb. It was Steep at the end, but no big deal because the road was so well-maintained. amazing views and pleasant hike. This was about a 6 mile out and back.

We did this loop counter clockwise, which allowed us to go down the very steep and boring paved fire road at the end. The steepest and rockiest part in this direction was after the spring.

Drove past the parking lot the first time. It's right after the school on the left-hand side. Saw a local who recommended we park across the street from the school for free instead of paying the $10 fee. She said the hike can be "strenuous" and can be dusty if a horse went before you in certain areas.

There were some steep areas but nothing too bad. However, my friend struggled a bit so it depends on your fitness level. We stayed on the fire road and looped to the right first. There was a fallen tree but otherwise maintained well. The river pass seemed impassable like the local warned us so we had to go further down, leap onto rocks across the river, and crawl under a fallen tree to get to the trail.

To just get to the river, take the first trail on the left (forgot name) off the fire road to make it a short trip.

Did this hike with my girlfriend on Saturday, 01/27/18. Not terribly difficult until the incline on the Lookout fire road just before the top. Took us 4h, 49m moving time. 9.2 miles, avg speed 1.9 mph, top speed 4.5 mph. Came up Azalea Glen Trail, Took Conejos Trail to the Fire Road up, and also on the way back (no interest in taking that paved fire road all the way down). Took Azalea Glen Road (dirt) from the Azalea Spring Jct down to the campground. Coming down was about 1.5 hours total with stops and picture taking. Most of the trails were great and a nice mix. Saw 2 deer a mile in and 6 at the campground at sundown, also Wild Turkeys on the side of Middle Peak. Views up top were amazing. Windy and cold, but there's a lumber bench set up behind the building, we ate lunch at. Good windbreaker from the Santa Ana winds..
(View recording for route taken)

Not sure why it says difficult, it definitely wasn’t hard. Very beautiful hike though! Took about 3 hours to complete. I went during the Santa Ana winds so it was suuuuuuper windy and cold at the top. Will definitely be back!

Love this hike! Definitely take the far right trail counter clockwise up the mountain. I think the hike is fairly moderate until you get to the last 1/2 mile or so on the fire road, then it's a pretty steep incline to the summit. This time around we saw some deer close to the campground entrance on the start of our hike and then a coyote in the distance about 1 mile in. Scenery is gorgeous and we lucked out with some frosted trees and snow toward the summit. Almost 8 miles roundtrip... took us a little over 4 hours to complete with some rest time in between.

Omg this hike. I read all the reviews and I’ve done the three sisters hike so I thought I had this in the bag. I thought everyone was exaggerating about losing the trail. EVERYTHING you read here is true. Took us about 3 hours but we traversed our way down to the waterfall. A combination of the map from this app and following the rocks/tags others have left behind. This hike challenged me more mentally than physically but it is intense. Wildlife has a strong showing. We saw deer , turkeys , huge squirrels, and chipmunks. The ants are insane and the brush is prickly to say it nicely long sleeves and long pants are a must! One of my favorite and most challenging hikes to date.

We did this hike on Saturday (1/13/18) and really enjoyed it.

Parking- you park in the area of a campground along CA-79 and it is the same lot used if you are doing the Stonewall Peak hike which starts on the other side of the highway; you must pay $10 and if you get there early like we did before a Park Ranger is on duty you must fill out an envelope and drop the $/envelope in a slot so make sure you have exact cash; no special Adventure Day Pass is needed

Trail/route- we did the loop starting w/Azalea Glen to the Azalea Springs Fire Road to Conejos Trail which at about 4.2 miles will take you to a paved fire road...make sure to turn right at this juncture and this will be the hardest steepest part of the hike for the final 1/2 mile to the top and you will have completed approx. 4.8 miles to get to the top; we took the paved fire road straight down to complete the loop and it will total about 7.5 miles when you get back to the parking lot and it takes around 4 hrs to complete starting at about 4,900 ft and reaching the top at nearly 6,500 ft

My thoughts: this is a beautiful area and the drive to the trailhead offers so much to see; it is not a crowded trail; there are great views of Cuayamaca Lake and the hills to the east and when you get to the top you are rewarded with a great view looking west to San Diego and the Pacific on a clear day; most of the hike is easy especially the first 2 miles of the loop if you go counter clockwise like we did and the only difficult part was the last 1/2 mile going up the steep fire road to the top

4 months ago

Little hard to follow after the rain but nice hike with great views.

i love it, not too easy but great

Great area and very cool trail. Recommended.

My girlfriend and I did this "part" of this hike on New Year's Day. The weather was a little overcast and made for perfect hiking weather.

We added a couple extra miles to this hike. Instead of taking the main fire road, which is paved, we hiked up Azalea Glen Road to Azalea Spring Fire Road to the main Fire Road (paved) and finally extending the trail to Cuyamaca Peak. Hiked down Conejos Trail to Azalea Spring Fire Road to Azalea Glen Trail .

The view from Cuyamaca Peak was fantastic! We both decided to stay off the main fire road because it was paved and felt that the other dirt trails were better on our knees.

We love this hike! Done it multiple times now. Has enough challenge and beauty to really enjoy. When we go early, we are completely alone on the trail. Only draw back is the steep fire road down from the peak...rough on the knees!

4 months ago

Fantastic views along the way and the view at the summit is worth the trip. We hiked the Azalea Glen trail to Conejos trail then up to the peak. We took the lookout road back down to the parking and it was not a great trail for views and hard on the knees. Overall the hike was over 7 miles. It was challenging, but doable for most hikers. If I had more time I would have retraced my steps going back down the Azalea Glen trail. I would give the overall hike a 4.7 and rank it among the best in San Diego county.

Really enjoyed the hike. Sad to see all the damage from old wildfires but it’s still beautiful. Went on Dec 30 and the weather was perfect. Hiked the loop counter clockwise. The view at the summit is amazing. The only knock on it is if you take the paved road on the way back down it’s tough on the knees/back. My wife and I hiked at a leisurely pace and spent some time at the summit and it took 5 hours. Ran into other hikers but it wasn’t crowded.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Can’t beat it when it’s only an hour away from SD!

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