hiking

views

nature trips

no dogs

walking

birding

trail running

wild flowers

wildlife

forest

camping

backpacking

horseback riding

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 sunrise to sunset. 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.

Went there as a kid a lot. Seen some great wildlife during the winter. If you go to see the water, call first to make sure it’s flowing. It only runs certain times of the year.

Awesome, Lots of great views!

that hike isn't that shady because of the fire a long time ago I only hiked the part way not that good to me you should try Big Rock Trail I recommend

Beautiful hike - went out and back., and about 20 min towards Primitive Camp.
Amazing 360 degree views from top and end of ridge. On Oct 20, 2018 - a lot of fall foliage with bright yellow Aspens, and some firefly oak tree leaves. Definitely trail goes up and down several times - as it ascends. Cooler temps because of elevation, starting out at Green Valley Campground.

Great trail run! Lots of varying types of terrain and most of it is pretty gentle on the feet, save a few sections. I extended the loop about two miles cause I went the wrong way on the Mesa trail coming down. Beautiful area and great trail.

When you need a trail to get you back into it after a 2 month summer hibernation. Off to Cuyamaca

Easy hike, not very taxing at all. Stellar views, nice trail, cool trees. 10/10

Awesome trail! Gradual incline on the switchbacks. I am fat and hate switchbacks but this was moderate and doable. Some areas are Rocky ankle twisters, also a few rock scrambles. Pay the $10 to park at the campground don't cheat it that money helps maintain the trails. Don't be a ass. Bathrooms at the campground are clean picnic tables for lunch, nice place. Julian up the road is nice stop for an ice cream reward.

this hike is actually 7 miles! .9 miles from the trail head to the beginning of the loop. Beautiful !

Good morning hike. Incline route all the way to the top. Not crowded. Overall good for beginners with great views from the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Gets your heart pumping at the top :) beautiful views the whole hike short but definitely worth putting on checklist

great hiking, great views.

Got to where the trail should have dropped down. Found a few trail markers then complete thick brush. Nice walk along the fire road though.

Loved it. Amazing scenery and views over many of the California mountain ranges. Steep towards the end but doable. Unfortunately no resting area at the peak (we had lunch sitting on the trail). Views just breathtaking !

It was my first time here and I loved this hike! This is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done in California! It’s more of a 4-mile trail, round trip. Definitely start this hike early in the morning to take advantage of the shade!

hiking
1 month ago

Very fun. terrific views. not for people who dont like heights...i love them. being at the top standing on the platform is awesome. has some brush and shade cover in the morning and alittle in the afternoon.

hiking
2 months ago

Congratulations humans, you've destroyed yet another prominent peak for technology. There's a shiny new cell tower being constructed at the peak as I type this review. I live in Descanso and can easily see it from my house. Why can't we have a choice on these matters?!? Just another example of huge corporations being able to do whatever the hell they want because they have money and influence. This is also going on in our national parks people, wake up!

on Stonewall Peak Trail

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
3 months 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
3 months ago

I went on an extremely hot day and didn't get started until 10 AM, which was not wise. There's pretty good morning shade on the way up, though. I didn't see any rattlers but a group coming down on my way up mentioned that they did.

Trail is very well maintained and easy to follow for the most part, although there are a couple of options for the last 0.2 mi before reaching the stairs to the top. Five stars are for the summit, which is excellent for the effort. The back half of the loop did not impress me as much. Lots of shrubs, fewer views, lots of dead stuff from the Cedar Fire, and the last mile is pretty close to the road. This part looks like lots of other parts of Cuyamaca Rancho SP, in other words. Parts of the trail are a little rougher than the trail up, but still pretty easy.

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