Overview of Stonewall Peak
Stonewall Peak is just off of Highway 79 just south of Lake Cuyamaca opposite Paso Pichaco Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It is about a one hour hike up to summit and is one of the most popular hikes in the park. It is named after the Stonewall Mine located just north of of the peak. Since the 2003 Cedar Fire most of the tree cover is gone, so it is mostly a sunny hike, but the trail to the top is still intact and well marked. Stonewall Peak was included on the original 1946 Sierra Club Hundred Peaks list.
The trail is of moderate difficulty and is 2 miles each way with a steady gain in elevation of 850 feet. The trail is well graded traversing through chaparral, oaks and incense cedar to the summit of Stonewall Peak. The last section is on exposed ridge but has steps and a handrail. The top offers great views. This link provides a 360 degree panorama
. The trailhead is across the road from the entrance to Paso Picacho campground at the picnic area.
There are rock routes to the summit if the trail does not suit your interests. See the link to Stonewall cragging
posted by Shano
for an introduction to technical climbing routes. Dave Kennedy along with Chris Hubbard wrote the San Diego Climbing Guide which is now out of print. At the time of this writing (10/2/05) I was able to locate a copy or two over the Internet. Chris and Dave are reportly working on a new edition.
Getting To Stonewall Peak
Stonewall Peak is just off of Highway 79 just south of Lake Cuyamaca opposite Paso Pichaco Campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Turn west off the highway into the parking area. A fee is collected here. There are water and restroom facilities at the parking area. The trailhead is located off Highway 79 (east side) approximately 12 miles north of Interstate 8 or 11 miles south of Highway 78 (Julian).
Map - USGS 7.5 minute "Cuyamaca Peak". The Cuyamaca Rancho State Park map also provides a good overview and is suitable for use on this hike.
There is a $10.00 Day Use Fee. The peak is located within the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Here is their contact info:
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
12551 Highway 79
Descanso, CA 91916
This area was originally inhabited by the Kumeya'ay people as far back as seven thousand years before the Spanish explored the region in 1782. They referred to the area as Ah-ha-Kwe-ah-mac – “the place where it rains.” The area was part of a Spanish land grant in 1845. When gold was discovered in the Julian area in 1860 the area was subjected to heavy mining interests. Stonewall Mine, for which the peak is named, employed as many as two hundred men in its heyday. The mine yielded over $2 million when prices were less than $20 per ounce and was permanently sealed in 1892. The surrounding property changed hands several times until it was sold to the state in 1933 becoming what we know of today at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs) built the first trails and campgrounds. It is unclear who built the trail up Stonewall Peak but there is some evidence that Harvey Moore, the park’s first ranger, built it with the help of the CCCs.
When To Climb
All year long.
The closest place to camp is at the Paso Picacho Campground. Everything you need to know about camping in the State Park can be found at this site.
The phone number for reservations is 1.800.444.3757. Reservations can be made seven months in advance. The trailhead is right across Highway 79 opposite the campground. Motels, B & B's, and several restuarants are located nearby in Julian
and there is also camping in the desert at both developed and undeveloped campsites. Follow this link to Anza Borrego State Park
for information about camping in the nearby desert.
Current Weather Conditions
Click on this link to get the forcast for Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
The fires of 2003 have created an outdoor laboratory to study recovery of the local flora.
This area has had numerous mountain lion incidents. Stay alert and do not leave children unattended.