Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Update December 7, 2020:  California has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent a strain on the health care system. This action will help protect critical care for patients. While the order includes the closure of campground sites in impacted regions, the state also recognizes that mental health is physical health. As such, day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public will remain open. Members of the same household are encouraged to stay local and recreate responsibly in the outdoors. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

Here is some additional information for locals visiting Cuyamaca Rancho State Park:

What is open now?
  • Paso Picacho and Merigan day-use areas.
  • Sweetwater Highway 79 Turnout.
  • Hiking trails throughout.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

Closed at this park:
  • Paso Picacho Campground.
  • 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.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.
  • Group camps and group picnic areas

Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain temporarily closed until further notice or will be temporarily closed in accordance with the new Regional Stay at Home Order. More information here
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local –Stay close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you or someone in your household is sick.
  • Plan Ahead – The COVID-19 pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.
  • Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. in some cases, restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities. 
  • Stay Covered – The state requires you wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

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. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. 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.

Phone Number

(760) 765-3023

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 30 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 30 Feet

Park Hours

dawn 'til dusk

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed in the campgrounds and on designated paved park roads.

Driving Directions to Cuyamaca Rancho SP

East of San Diego, the park is on Highway 79, five miles north of I-8.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Environmental Campsites
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
RV Dump Station
Alternative Camping
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Museums
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Fire Restrictions-Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
For current fire restrictions, please call (760) 767-4037

Cuyamaca Rancho SP

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.

Photo:  Landscape view of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

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.

 

 

 

Additional Visitor Services
  • County of San Diego (Environmental youth education camp)

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
At Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the rounded hills of granitic and metamorphic rock of the Peninsular Ranges are the deep roots of a much different ancient range that included volcanoes and high mountains possibly like the Andes. By examining these roots, we learn about the internal workings of other mountains.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
(Photograph by Janis Hernandez)

The full Geo Gems report  |  Geological Gems of State Parks

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