dawn 'til dusk
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
As a reminder, Californians are encouraged to avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained from others, and avoid congregating. Everyone has the responsibility to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Here are some additional guidelines for locals visiting Cuyamaca Rancho State Park:
What is open now?
- Paso Picacho Campground and Day-use.
- Merigan Day-use.
- Sweetwater Highway 79 Turnout.
What is currently closed?
- Arroyo Seco and Granit Springs Primitive Trail Camps.
- Los Vaqueros Equestrian Group Camp.
- Dyar Visitor Center and Day-use.
- Stonewall Mine Day-use.
- Green Valley Campground and Falls Day-use.
Are there any new visitor guidelines?
Yes, please see below:
- Stay Safer at 6 Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. No more than three households in a group is permitted. Mixing between group gatherings, large gatherings or parties is not allowed. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
- Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash. Restrooms will be temporarily closed in order to keep up with cleaning schedules.
- Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.
Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. Even though the department has increased access across the State Park System, the need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.
For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Fire Restrictions-Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
For current fire restrictions, please call (760) 767-4037
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 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 81 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.
Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring. Restrooms with flush toilets and pay showers are in the campground. Water faucets a located every few campsites. There are no hookups. Each campground has a dump station. Firewood and ice may be purchased at the camps. Interpretive programs are offered during the summer season. Campsites are $30 per night. Reservations are necessary for weekends April through October. The camping fee includes one motorized vehicle. Extra vehicles are $10 per night. There is a limit of 8 persons per campsite. Dogs are allowed but are restricted to the campgrounds, picnic areas, and paved roads and Cuyamaca Peak Fire Road. They may not be left unattended. Reservations may be made through ReserveCaliforniaTM at 1-800-444-PARK.
Environmental backpack in or horseback ride in camps are also available. Granite Springs and Arroyo Seco Environmental camps are open on first come, first serve. Both have chemical toilets, non-potable water, corrals and tent sites.
Day use visitors may use the picnic areas provided at the campgrounds for $10 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 park is located approximately 50 miles east of San Diego on Highway 79. It is 15 miles south of the quaint historical town of Julian.
For the most current information on the park, go to http://www.crspia.org. This website also covers our tremendous volunteer program and its opportunities. The park phone number is 760-765-3020. Come visit this park rich in beauty and history! The park phone number is 760-765-3020. Come visit this park rich in beauty and history!
East of San Diego, the park is on Highway 79, five miles north of I-8.
Vista: Parks from Ridge to River
The online video journal of the Colorado Desert District covering Anza-Borrego Desert State Park®, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and Palomar Mountain State Park.
- County of San Diego (Environmental youth education camp)