Cuyamaca Lake and Peak

Last Friday, a late-season storm rolled through San Diego and dumped 1.5" of rain and snow in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park area. I drove out at the tail end of the storm and hiked up the peak, back down, and then through the area just south of the lake. This brief photo essay catalogs …

Middle and Cuyamaca Peaks

View from Cuyamaca Peak   View from Middle Peak Cuyamaca and Middle Peaks are two prominent peaks featuring spectacular views of most of Southern California. Pick a clear day to climb one, the other, or both, and see how many landmarks you can pick out. Distance: 16.1 Elevation Gained: 3,100' Difficulty: Strenuous Time: 6:45 Critters: …

Soapstone Grade/Green Valley Loop

The view from Soapstone Grade   Green Valley This long, elliptical loop travels through some of the less-traveled portions of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The first half, Soapstone Grade, grants wide-open views of meadows and far-off mountains, while the second half, Green Valley, travels along the headwaters (dry) of the Sweetwater River through gradually-recovering riparian …

Sky Islands

From the summit of Mt. San Jacinto, looking down at the Colorado Desert.Mt. San Jacinto from the Little San Bernadino Mountains above the Coachella Valley.If you take the tram up to San Jacinto Mountain, you will have the unusual experience of departing from a desert landscape and arriving in a subalpine, mixed-conifer forest. The mixed-conifer …

Cuyamaca Peak

Standing at 6,512', Cuyamaca Peak is the second tallest peak in San Diego County. It also stands roughly in the geographic center of San Diego County, which means that the views in all directions are inclusive and spectacular. While most of its forest has been destroyed, a large patch close to the summit still persists, …