[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]uyamaca Rancho State Park, with its oak woodland forests, pine stands and grassy meadows, reminds the visitor that Southern California is more than beachs and deserts.

Located about 50 miles east of San Diego, this 27, 677-acre park offers more than 100 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians, as well as two family campgrounds, Paso Picacho and Green Valley. The campgrounds are open spring to fall and sit at relatively high elevations, Paso Picacho at 5,000 feet and Green Valley at 4,000 feet, so temperatures are tolerable even when nearby Anza Borrego desert, another popular area for outdoor adventure, is blazingly hot in the summer.

For the more adventurous, Granite Springs and Arroyo Seco Environmental camps are accessible to backpackers and equestrians. Both have chemical toilets, non-potable water, corrals and tent sites. Reservations should be made through ReserverAmerica.com.

 

[divider]Things to Do[/divider]

Hike Stonewall Peak
The two-mile hike to the top of Stonewall Peak is the most popular in the park. The mellow trail starts just across Route 78 from Paso Picacho Campground winds its way to the sharp stone outcrop on the top of the mountain. The amazing view from the top are well worth the climb, and if you find a moment of quite, you may just hear the sounds of swallows swooshing through the air as they hunt insects.

[divider]More info[/divider]

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park website
Campground reservations