Cuyamaca Peak Photos
OverviewCuyamaca Peak is located in San Diego County, its the second highest peak in the county and is a major landmark that can be seen from almost everywhere in the county as well as neighboring counties.Cuyamaca Peak is the high point of the Cuyamaca Mountains which lie within Cuyamaca Rancho State Park,one of Californias largest state parks, with over 100 miles of hiking trails and fire roads. Cuyamaca Peak is only around 50 miles from downtown San Diego, its hard to believe that while people are swimming and surfing on San Diego County beaches you could be hiking high up in the Cuyamaca Mountains among live and black oak, incense cedar, Coulter, Jeffrey,sugar and ponderosa pine, and white fir. Keep your eyes open and you might spot Mule deer, coyote, gray fox, turkey, bobcat, and mountain loin. In fact keep your eyes and ears open for mountain loins they are common around here and in 1995 a women was attacked and killed hiking to Cuyamaca Peak. I feel that it is safe up here, its best to hike with a partner if you can but chances are you will never see a mountain loin and if you do yell fight and dont run. I have hiked this peak dozens of times and never seen one.The view from Cuyamaca Peak is excellent, on clear days you can see the Pacific Ocean, down into Mexico, the Salton Sea and Anza Borrego desert to the east, Palomar Mountains and San Jacinto Peak to the north and much more! This peak is a great workout for bigger mountains in the Sierras or anywhere.
Getting ThereThe most cut and dry way to get here is from San Diego or from the 5 or 15 freeways take the 8 freeway east till you get to the 79 following the signs for Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Go to Paso Picacho campground inside the state park and park in the day use area. The trail up the Cuyamaca Peak fire road is in the campground.
Red TapeThere is a fee to park in the Paso Picacho campground, I think its 3 or 4 dollars for day use. As I mentioned before mountain lions are in the area, keep it in mind and if confronted fight back yell throw rocks just dont run from it. Chances are you wont ever see one but you never know.
When To ClimbCuyamaca Peak is climable all year. Summer can get very hot and dry down here with high temps in the upper 90s to the low 100s. Spring and fall are great but my favorite time of year for Cuyamaca Peak is winter. Right after a winter storm Cuyamaca Peak can have a thick blanket of fresh snow, not uncommon to be thigh deep! And the views that time of year are crystal clear. It is awesome to be standing on Cuyamaca Peak after a winter storm in thigh deep snow looking west at the Pacific Ocean!! And then turning east and looking out at the desert.
CampingThere are several campgrounds nearby. Paso Picacho is the best choice, the Cuyamaca Peak fire road leads out of this campground. Green Valley falls is also a good choice, a little ways down the road, both campgrounds are in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
12551 highway 79
Descanso, CA 92016
Cleveland National Forest
Descanso Ranger District
3348 Alpine blvd.
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