Cuyamaca Rancho State Park RV & Campground Guide


Located 47 miles east of San Diego in the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains of the Peninsular Ranges, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park features 24,700 acres of woodland forests filled with oak and pine trees. This rich forestland is home to bobcats, mountain lions, badgers, foxes, and amphibians. More than 100 bird species call this place home, including sparrows, northern flickers, and red-tailed hawks.

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Spring 34–68 F
Summer 50–85 F
Fall 34–80 F
Winter 30–53 F
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Nearby Cities
San Diego, CA
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

You can have a decent night's sleep among the Cuyamaca Mountains in a luxurious RV. If you do opt for traveling in a recreational vehicle during your trip but don't own one, consider renting from RVshare where you can choose any style of rig at an affordable price. 

Ma-Tar-Awa RV Camper Park

Ma-Tar-Awa RV Camper Park is located about 14 miles from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in the small community of Alpine at the base of the Cuyamaca Mountains near Highway 8. You can take part in boating, fishing and horseback riding and observe the annual Lakeside Rodeo.

• Water hookup: Yes

• Electrical hookup: Yes

• Sewer hookup: Yes

• Wi-Fi: No

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Other amenities: Dump station, picnic table, fire ring, bathroom facilities

Oakzanita Springs RV Campground

To reach Oakzanita Springs RV Campground, which is less than a mile's drive from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, head south on CA-79 toward Oakzanita for about a minute, and follow the signs to the campground. There are a variety of activities you can do here, like hiking the trails, swimming, bicycling, playing mini-golf and relaxing in the hot tub.

• Water hookup: Yes

• Electrical hookup: Yes

• Sewer hookup: Yes

• Wi-Fi: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Other amenities: RV storage, restrooms, laundry facility, swimming pool, spa 

Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District

Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District is about 1 mile from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and there are only eight RV sites, so call ahead to make sure one is available. You can go boating and fishing, float on a tube and more, and Lake Cuyamaca Restaurant is on the premises serving up delicious food.

• Water hookup: No

• Electrical hookup: No

• Sewer hookup: No

• Wi-Fi: No

• Pet-friendly: Yes

RV Rentals Near Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Many people come here to view the mountains, to relax and to visit the nearby attractions. There are interpretive programs available that detail the history of this southern part of California.

Inside Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Hiking – There are over 100 miles of hiking trails available to explore with the two most popular being Cuyamaca Peak and Stonewall Peak. The park features the Paso Picacho Self-Guided Nature Trail that gives a brief summary of the changing nature of the surrounding environment. Maps are available at the visitor center. 

Picnicking – Picnic areas are near the Green Valley and Paso Picacho campgrounds. Tables, barbecue stoves and restrooms are available here, making it an ideal place for a picnic. The Paso Picacho group picnic area can accommodate up to 72 people. 

Horseback riding – One of the most excellent perks this park offers is the freedom to bring your horse for a horseback riding trip. Your horse is bound to love exploring the new territory and fresh air while getting some exercise. There are over 100 miles of riding trails for you and your horse to explore, so don't hesitate to bring him or her along.

Bicycling – All 100 miles of trails permit bicycling, but be aware that hikers and horses are also allowed. Many of the trails are off-road, so it would be advisable to bring a mountain bike for better traction and safety. 

Bird-watching – One hundred bird species can be seen almost anywhere in the park. When exploring the nature trails, you can walk through areas where birds are flying all over the place. Some of the birds flying about in the park are acorn woodpeckers, sage sparrows, eagles, and more.

Outside Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

One of the greatest things about Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is the tremendous amount of entertainment that is nearby. You'll find exotic animals, history museums and places that raise wildlife. It's nearly impossible to be bored while in the area. 


Descanso Junction Restaurant and Catering

Descanso Junction Restaurant and Catering is about an 8-mile drive from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It serves hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners full of a variety of American home-cooked meals, Mexican favorites, grilled burgers, and more. From the saloon, you can order domestic and imported beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages.

Type: American, Mexican

Location: 8306 Highway 79, Descanso, CA 91916

Major's Diner

Major's Diner is just 12 miles from Cuyamaca Rancho right off Old Highway 80 in Pine Valley. It serves the best American dishes, like country-fried steak, hearty soups, a mountain burger and breakfast sandwiches.

Type: American

Location: 28870 Old Highway 80, Pine Valley, CA 91962

Veronica’s Kitchen

Around 5 miles south of the park is Veronica’s Kitchen, which specializes in a variety of Mexican and American food. You can choose from among a wide selection of breakfast items, burritos and specialties like carne asada fries and different types of tostadas. The American menu features sandwiches, salads and burgers.

Type: Mexican, American

Location: 24680 Viejas Grade, Descanso, CA 91916


Viejas Outlets

A mere 17 miles from the park, Viejas Outlets features shopping, places to eat and fun indoor activities. Take a whirl around the roller rink as you listen to your favorite music, or show off your pro bowling skills. The fun-zone arcade showcases the games of yesterday and today while the game zone offers e-games, arcade games and a virtual reality experience.

Location: 500 Willows Rd, Alpine, CA 91901


Lions Tigers & Bears

This animal sanctuary is around 11 miles from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and is a 45-minute drive from downtown San Diego in Alpine. It plays an active role in rescuing exotic animals like lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, bears and more. The animals roam across 93 beautiful acres of land that's nestled on the edge of the Cleveland National Forest. Take the two-hour tour to learn more about these animals and how they adapt to their environment.

Location: 24402 Martin Way, Alpine, CA 91901

California Wolf Center

Many people come to this center about 10 miles from Cuyamaca Rancho to learn about wolves and their habitat. At the visitor center, there are children's education stations with an interactive learning experience and exhibits on wolf biology and ecology. You also can purchase a souvenir to take home. At the conservation center, three different public tours are offered that can teach you about a wolf's environment and how it lives.

Location: 2775 B Street, Julian, CA 92036

Julian Pioneer Museum

The Julian Pioneer Museum is 14 miles from the park, and it features a remarkable collection of artifacts portraying the history of Julian. In the museum, there is a narrative of town history from 1869 to show visitors how Julians labored, clothed themselves, traveled and cooked over the last century. Housed inside the Treshil Blacksmith Shop, the Julian Pioneer Museum has mounted animals on the renovated walls.

Location: 2811 Washington St, Julian, CA 92036

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How to Get to
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is 5 miles north of Interstate 8 on Highway 79. RVers traveling along Interstate 8 will have no height restrictions to worry about, but there are a few steep grades along the route. All road surfaces are paved until you reach the visitor center. From there, campers and visitors will be traveling on a dirt road with a 15 miles-per-hour maximum speed limit and a 5-miles-per-hour limit around the turns. In the park, there are curves on some of the roads, but there’s no need to worry as an RV can make them easily as long as you just keep it slow. 

By Car

Entering Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park operates from dawn to dusk, Sunday through Saturday.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Per vehicle : $10.0

1-4 adults

You're sure to have an extraordinary time at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park no matter what outdoor activity you settle on. Don't forget to tag RVshare when you’re rearranging and posting all your memorable photos. Also, feel free to send RVshare your photographs and anecdotes to [email protected] The site may post your story on its social media profiles or blog posts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

What is the best time of year to visit Cuyamaca Rancho State Park?

Anytime is the best time of year to visit Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. In the spring, temperatures are mild and the waterfalls are flowing. Wildflowers attract visitors in the late spring and summer.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park?

The park is home to deer, several types of rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and coyotes. Cougars live in the park but are rarely seen. The park has documented over 200 species of birds.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park?

No, there are no designated RV camping spots in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. There are two campgrounds with 166 camping sites combined. There are no hookups available. Generator use is allowed during certain hours.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and what is the cost?

Campsite reservations are required for weekends from April through October. It is a first come, first serve from December 1 through March 31. The processing fee for the reservation is $7.99.

Are pets allowed at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park?

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park welcomes pets. Dogs are allowed in the campgrounds, paved roads, picnic areas, and the Cuyamaca Peak Fire Road. Dogs may not be left unattended and must be on a leash.