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“Great Hiking But Dog Unfriendly”

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Descanso
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Owner description: This park's beautiful pine and oak forests, meadows and streams are unusual in this part of the country.
San Diego, California
Level 6 Contributor
466 reviews
255 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 260 helpful votes
“Great Hiking But Dog Unfriendly”
Reviewed 18 September 2013

There are some great hikes in Cuyamaca but unfortunately we don't usually get to enjoy them because of California State Parks no-dogs policy. Since we rarely hike without the dogs we always end up driving past Cuyamaca and hiking in Cleveland National Forest. Maybe the state parks wouldn't be under such a budget crunch if they were more inviting. Cuyamaca did open their door to Geocaching lately so we can always dream. The only other down side is that since almost the entire area burned recently most of the beautiful forest and shade has gone from lots of the area. Still some great hikes and great scenery.

Visited March 2013
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5 Thank TheSpeis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 reviews from our community

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English first
Fallbrook, California
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Easy getaway”
Reviewed 7 August 2013

We just got back from camping at the Green Valley campsite in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. We didn't realize the campsite was not associated with Lake Cuyamaca (about a 15 minute drive from Green Valley but just a few miles from the other campground Pico Pichaco). It worked out just fine since the drive between the two was beautiful and we got to see lots of wildlife. There are several large meadow areas where you can see LOTS of deer each evening around 7:00 pm. We also got to see a HUGE group of wild turkeys (20 or more. We unfortunately didn't catch anything at the lake but it made for a good day anyway. We originally reserved campsite #38 but ended up moving to #59. #38 was right behind the bathrooms and didn't have much shade at all. It didn't really have a good flat spot for our tent either. Since we got there Sunday afternoon, most of the spots were empty so we asked if we could relocate. #59 is close to the bathroom but not right next to it where you can see it (we like that). It has TWO flat areas where you can put tents. We have an 8-man tent and had no problems finding level ground. Best of all was that this site is SHADED. It can get HOT up there in the summer and you will want a campsite with some cover. There was lots of room around the fire pit and the table was not too far away which made it convenient at dinner time. Some of the sites are more spread out with the fire pit fairly far from the picnic tables. The campground was quite and very peaceful. There were lots of ground squirrels, mountain jays, and crows that would visit our site. We accidentally left some food out the first night and were woken up by an entire family of racoons pilaging through our stuff. We should have know better. Just a reminder that they WILL find anything you leave out so lock any foodstuffs up at night in your car. The campsites were clean. The bathrooms were decent and had showers you could use with quarters. One of the days, we went down to the Falls. Since it was already August, the Falls didn't have much water "falling" over them but our son still had a great time playing on the rocks in in the creek. The rocks are REALLY slippery so be careful and bring water socks if you can for added traction. One of the families we ran into said they saw a mountain lion there earlier in the day so watch your kids carefully and don't let them wander off. Overall this was a nice place to camp. It certainly wasn't Mammoth (we went there earlier in the summer) and I think we even like Palomar better but overall it was a nice camping spot.

Visited August 2013
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2 Thank Kimberly G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“great hike to stonewall peak”
Reviewed 24 July 2013

We took a trip out to SD recently and spent an afternoon hiking up to Stonewall Peak at Cuyamaca. We parked for the day at Paso Picacho and walked across the road to the mountain...SO BEAUTIFUL! While we were driving in, I saw some smoke behind another mountain and immediately thought it was fire...my husband was skeptical at first but then quickly realized there was a wildfire mountains away. We hiked up to Stonewall Peak and watched the fire spread, fire planes and helicopters circle...first one for both of us. We found out that night they'd deemed it the Chariot Fire. So unfortunate that happened, but even with the smoke, the 360 degree views from the top of the peak were GORGEOUS! We would absolutely spend a few dollars to park in the campground again and hike back up there. On our way back down the mountain, my husband stopped dead in his tracks when he saw a big snake crossing in front of us (and that was before I pointed out the rattle at the end of the tail...) so just watch your step :) It left us completely alone and never even rattled, so it was just a cool experience for us. We'd definitely recommend it :)

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank ashleymm1020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Green Valley Camping at Cuyamaca”
Reviewed 27 May 2013

What a great place to take our kids camping! We have four kids, from age 13 down to 6. We camp a few times a year and were looking for a new spot. Cuyamaca was a beautiful getaway.

A bit of a drive for us, but not far from San Diego, Green Valley Campground at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park feels like you have gone far away. At about 4000 ft there are a lot more trees than closer to the ocean and the climate was much cooler.

When we first arrived, the Ranger was super nice and helpful. We bought our firewood right there for $6/bundle. Also, trail maps are available for $2.

As we drove around the campground, we noticed MOST of the sites were private with lots of trees and shade. It is a rolling hill type of campground with loop roads all around.

We stayed on site 81, which was at the end of the road. It was a pretty good site, but had shade in the morning and sun at noon. It was also hard to find a flat spot for the tent. As we observed other sites, it seems to be the topography of this campground in general. Not very flat sights.

We took a hike and found a wonderful river to play around. Large rocks and waterfalls and a place to jump in a pool. Even for Memorial weekend, it didn't feel overcrowded. There were several hikes to choose from and all different distances.

The bathrooms were pretty good for a campground. It did run out of TP some of the time, but we always bring some with us. The showers were 2 minutes for a quarter. I showered at peak time and had plenty of hot water. I think it was pretty clean and well maintained for a busy weekend.

Overall, this was a really great place to camp and I would highly recommend it.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
13 Thank Tasiadoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great Intro to Camping”
Reviewed 27 April 2013

I recently had my first "legit" camping experience at Cuyamaca State Park, in the Paso Pichacho campground. It's a great site for people who are new to camping that may want to ease into it, as it has running taps, restrooms, and even warm showers (bring quarters). There are also some camp spots within the grounds where the car parking spot is paved, so your car doesn't even have to go "off-road" for a second. Firewood is available for purchase, too.

There are many hikes, of which I did two, both of which are very doable (just bring plenty of water, especially for Cuyamaca Peak), with several great views along the way (Stonewall peak had the better view, I thought). Make sure to bring a camera!

You'll have to bring your own food, and be aware that you are in nature, even at the campground itself, so don't leave food out unattended, or else you'll get ants and other pests.

Also, while in the area, stop by the nearby town of Julian, CA for some amazing pies!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank emcee24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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