dawn 'til dusk
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Here are some guidelines for people visiting Cuyamaca Rancho State Park:
What is open now?
The following is open the park:
- Campgrounds will open at limited capacity to maintain social distancing and avoid large group gatherings starting June 12. For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping. To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com or call 800-444-7275. Walk-ins will NOT be allowed.
- Paso Picacho Campground and Day-use.
- Green Valley Campground and Falls Day-use.
- Merigan Day-use.
- Sweetwater Highway 79 Turnout.
- Very limited parking is now available to the public.
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
- Arroyo Seco and Granit Springs Primitive Trail Camps.
- Los Vaqueros Equestrian Group Camp.
- Dyar Visitor Center and Day-use.
- Stonewall Mine Day-use.
- Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
- 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, please see below:
- Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking may be limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
- Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
- Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
- Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
- Stay Covered: Please be sure to wear face coverings when you cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others.
Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Fire Restrictions-Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT’S ORDER NUMBER: 940-20-013
Dated: August 19, 2020
- As a result of extreme fire danger and limited firefighting resources, the following fire restrictions are in effect during periods of Extreme Heat / Fire Danger Warnings / Limited Resources:
- The backcountry areas of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park including Arroyo Seco Trail Camp and Granite Springs Trail Camp open fires, including campfires and barbecues are prohibited. Portable propane or gas stoves are permitted for cooking only within designated campsites and day use areas.
- Open fires, including campfires and barbecues are prohibited at Paso Picacho Campground and at Green Valley Campground. Portable propane or gas stoves are permitted for cooking only within designated campsite.
- Fireworks are prohibited.
- Smoking is only permitted within designated areas of developed facilities or vehicles.
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)