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: …

Granite Springs Backcountry Camp

Granite Springs Backcountry Camp is a backpacker's campground accessible via East Mesa in Cuyamaca State Park. This park is one of two dedicated to backpacker campgrounds - the other being Arroyo Seco. It features a water pump (needs filtering), dedicated campsites, and vault toilets. Distance: 8.8 Elevation Gained: 1200' Difficulty: Moderate Time: Overnight Critters: Hawks, …

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 …

West Mesa Loop

On Cuyamaca Peak's southern slopes, a gently rolling meadow overlooks the Laguna Mountains on one end and San Diego on the other. In addition to the views, a hiker might find gently swaying grasses, fluttering oak leaves, a reborn pine forest, and, during fall, a striking mixture of fall colors.Distance: 7.2 MilesElevation Gained: 1,200'Difficulty: ModerateTime: …

Kelley’s Ditch Trail

Kelley's Ditch Trail is a trail through a remote park of the Cuyamaca Mountains that connects Cuyamaca State Park and William Heise County Park. The route travels through forests incinerated by the 2003 Cedar Fire along the west slopes of North Peak before dropping down into Heise Park. The views, though partially obstructed by dead …

Cuyamaca Reservoir, Fall Edition

The Cuyamaca Reservoir collects water draining from the north side of various peaks and creeks in the valley between North Peak and Stonewall Peak. It offers fishing, boating, hiking, and picnicking options, and features one of the few unburnt parcels of forest in Cuyamaca State Park.Distance: 3.6Elevation Gained: 200Difficulty: EasyTime: 1:30Critters: Egrets, Herons, Ducks, turkeysGet …

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, …

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca is a man-made lake that collects all of the water run-off on the north side of Cuyamaca State Park. This serene, picturesque lake is stocked with trout for the fishermen, boat docks for the recreators, and hiking trails for those who like to amble. Views of the surrounding mountains are abundant, as are …