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Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Descanso

#268 of 608 in Nature in California
Must see · State Park · Nature / Park
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a state park in California, United States, located 40 miles (64 km) east of San Diego in the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains of the Peninsular Ranges. The park's 26,000 acres (11,000 ha) feature pine, fir, and oak forests, with meadows and streams that exist due to the relatively high elevation of the area compared to its surroundings. The park includes 6,512-foot (1,985 m) Cuyamaca Peak, the second-highest point in San Diego County.

Park amenities include trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, as well as campgrounds for family, group, equestrian, and primitive trail camping; as well as an exhibit at a former gold mine, the Stonewall Mine.

Wildlife in the area includes mountain lions, which have been known to attack humans, and park literature emphasizes avoiding encounters with them. Numerous other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are known to reside within the park.

The park was closed for several months due to massive damage incurred in the 2003 Cedar Fire. Although much of the forest was burned, the park has since been reopened and the fire ecology regenerating native plants are re-growing and returning.

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Cuyamaca Rancho State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
66 reviews
  • The place is very nice very relaxing and clean, first time visiting this place and will be back definitely  more »
  • This campground is excellent! The campsite is fairly spaced apart some over really good shade with the tall pine trees and some have Sun all da, but most the campground have some shade during hot...  more »
  • Lovely place! We went there camping and we got what we were looking for. A nice calm place with excellent facilities, a pretty nice price, safe and with some amazing trails that will be easy to follow and will take you on a super scenic route. We will definitely recommend this spot.
  • We were a little surprised that this is called a state park and it is on a state park website, yet when we pulled in to park and use our California State Park pass the guy told us that it was not a state park, that it was private and we still had to pay the $10 to get in. It is a nice lake however, and everything is up kept. My family are all convinced that there are no fish in there though. 😄

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