"For 250 years since Pedro Fages first traversed the Cuyamacas - the place has preserved its integrity nearly free of commercialization and human intrusion. The spirit of the place, uplifting as only mountains can, a haven of nature and far views, has persisted in a developing county with more than three-million inhabitants. It is something less than a miracle that the original unique spirit of the Cuyamacas has mostly survived for us to savor today."

Leland Fetzer - The Story of San Diego’s High Country

In the heart of San Diego county are the sky islands of the central mountains - a place where nature & wildlife thrives. This very unique & bio-diverse environment covers hundreds of acres of state park, national forest, as well as historic, eco-logical & archeological preserves.

The region is characterized by its natural beauty, heritage & small town charm, which represent this destination's true tourism appeal. It’s one of the last places left in Southern California where you'll find unspoiled nature, rare wildlife & the solitude of mountain forests.

We’re a proud historic community dedicated to small town values, responsible tourism, & environmental conservation. As the stewards of these pristine regions, our community is very passionate about ensuring its preservation for generations to come.

San Diego's backcountry is home to numerous museums, touristic centers, venues & many other recreational attractions. Rancho Cuyamaca State Park & Cleveland National Forest feature a labyrinth of over 70 designated trails totaling over 150 miles. Streams & waterfalls abound in one of the densest concentrations of Pine, Conifer & Oak Tree forests in Southern California. Wildlife such as deer, turkey & hawks frequent the area regularly.

The Lake Cuyamca restaurant offers a variety of delicious plates & libations. You can camp on site at the lake or you can choose from many traditional camping/RV sites in the area. There are also numerous hotels, lodges, and B&B accommodations to suit your needs.

Just past Lake Cuyamaca is Sunrise Highway that leads to Mount Laguna. This area offers spectacular views to the east all the way out the Anza-Borrego desert & the Salton Sea. At an elevation of almost 6,000ft, Mount Laguna can experience significant snow fall in the winter.

The historic town of Julian offers a multitude of tours, attractions, restaurants & shopping. Enjoy a carriage ride down Main Street & don’t forget to try our world-famous Julian pie. Our local brewery Nickel Beer has some of the best craft beer in San Diego. Menghini Winery & Volcan Mountain Winery are one of our most popular attractions, along with our local orchards & u-pick farms. While you’re in the area stop by the Volcan Mountain Preserve & learn about their amazing efforts towards conservation of the region.

The Julian Station & Wynola are an attraction in themselves. Jeremey’s on the Hill offers farm-to-table cuisine, or you can visit Wynola Pizza & Bistro for some delicious pizza & craft soda. Head on over to the Julian Station afterwards for libations ranging from wine, craft beer, cider, mead & komboucha. Julian Hard Cider & Julian Ciderworks are a must try! Manita’s Mexican food is another local favorite.

Further on down is Santa Ysabel, Warner Springs, Lake Henshaw & the La Jolla Indian Reservation all waiting to be explored. There is no shortage of unique attractions & activities to choose from while visiting the San Diego Backcountry. Enjoy all the beauty & wonders this region has to offer. Please act safely and responsibly while visiting the backcountry.



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Choose your Activity

The backcountry offers a multitude of outdoor activities, exquisite lodging & dining, as well as historical & cultural tours.


Fishing on Lake Cuyamaca

Fishing by boat or shore for Trout, Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, & Sturgen


Boating on Lake Cuyamaca

Rowboat, peddle boat, motor boat, pantoon, kayak, or private boat



Numerous hiking trails to choose from including Cuyamaca Peak.


Horseback Riding

The region features numerous equestrian trials


Interpretive Tours

Visit the Cuyamaca Interpretive Center or take a historic tour.



Seasonal Duck hunting & Deer Hunting tours available

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