Cleveland National Forest – Where is it, how to get there, what to do


Three Sisters Falls | Julian, CA | Cleveland National Forest

Three Sisters Falls is a 4.3 mile reverse hike with 1,063 feet of elevation gain located in Julian, California. This is one of San Diego’s most popular waterfalls, and also most dangerous! Please make sure to do more research than just this video, pack lots of water, and use common sense before trying this hike in the summer. It is hot and there is not much shade.

Cleveland National Forest
Co Hwy S7, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070, USA –

Mountain recreation area with scenic trails, advanced campsites and astronomical observatory.

Cleveland National Forest

Cleveland National Forest encompasses 460,000 acres (720 sq mi (1,900 km2)), mostly of chaparral, with a few riparian areas. A warm dry mediterranean climate prevails over the forest. It is the southernmost U.S. National Forest of California. It is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, a government agency within the United States Department of Agriculture. It is divided into the Descanso, Palomar and Trabuco Ranger Districts and is located in the counties of San Diego, Riverside, and Orange.

Cleveland National Forest was created on July 1, 1908 with the consolidation of Trabuco Canyon National Reserve and San Jacinto National Reserve by President Theodore Roosevelt and named after former president Grover Cleveland. It is headquartered in San Diego. The Cleveland National Forest was the site of both the 2003 Cedar Fire, and the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889. Both fires widely consumed many sections of the area, as well as endangering many animal species.


Activities

Popular activities include picnic areas, hiking through the mountains on foot, exploring on horseback, trail running, trail mountain biking, camping overnight or driving on the Sunrise Scenic Highway. The Forest also includes Corral Canyon and Wildomar Off-Highway Vehicle Areas.

Besides climbers and wildlife advocates, the Forest also accommodates the needs of telecommunications companies, hunters, campers, utilities, off-road-vehicle enthusiasts, hikers, horse riders, neighbors and others.

Our comfortable campsite

Camping

Campgrounds: The Cleveland National Forest has campgrounds available at the Descanso, Palomar, and Trabuco Ranger District. Sites normally serve 6-8 persons and 2 vehicles.
Group camping: Group campgrounds are available.
Remote camping: Visitor’s permits are required.

Hiking trails

Sunset Trail: Sunset Trail is a 4.6 mile loop trail accessible from Meadows Trailhead off Sunrise Highway, mile marker 19.1. The trail, which offers several connection options, winds through pine forest leading one to open meadows, ponds and small lakes, and a popular lookout to the Pacific Ocean. The surrounding habitat supports numerous flora and fauna including native black oaks, Engelmann oaks, giant Jeffrey pines, Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus), hawks and turkey vultures. Dogs are not allowed off leash.

Big Laguna Trail: Starting nearby the Laguna Campground in the Descanso District is a 10 mile loop that connects to the Sunset Trail and the Nobel Canyon trail. The perennial Little Laguna Lake is featured on this trail.

Garnet Peak Trail: This trail features viewpoints of the Anza Borrego Desert at 6000 feet in elevation. It starts at the Garnet Peak Trailhead, but can also be accessed via the Penny Pines Trailhead which connects with the Pacific Crest Trail before joining the Garnet Peak trail.

Source: Wikipedia


Solo Camping in Cleveland National Forest

A solo over-nighter in Cleveland National Forest. Cleveland National Forest encompasses 460,000 acres, mostly of chaparral, with a few riparian areas. A warm dry mediterranean climate prevails over the forest. It is the southernmost U.S. National Forest of California.

Old Camp | An EMTB ride in the Cleveland National Forest, CA

(About Video: I’m trying something new with this one. I recognize that e-bikes are both controversial and not everyone’s interest. While I have no intention of turning this into an e-bike channel (I still love my MTBs!), I want to give this a shot and gauge the appetite for it. If you’ll really hate it, I’ll rethink it. As for the ride, this is actually the full Santiago Truck Trail as an out and back, which is popular among the hardcore XC riders in the area. I got the idea for this when I met a group of e-bikers on this trail and the advanced beginners in the bunch rode it this way instead of descending The Luge.)


HIDDEN Waterfall in Cleveland National Forest – Falls Canyon Falls

(About Video:This hidden waterfall, known as Falls Canyon Falls, near Trabuco Canyon of Cleveland National Forest is close to another popular waterfall, Holy Jim Falls. The great thing about this hidden waterfall is that it gets a lot less traffic and is a much shorter hike. I wouldn’t recommend climbing above the falls despite what you might read online.)

Examples of comments about the Cleveland National Forest:

The views are breathtaking! There are so many trails to choose from and explore. There is plenty of parking conveniently located near most trails. For those without a park pass, you can also find parking within walking distance of some routes. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, water, and your camera. Happy hiking, biking, running, or camping.

We stayed in the Blue Jay Campground which was great and I highly recommend. Easy enough to get to but the last mile is all uphill on a narrow one lane road with very few spots to pass. This are was green and had trees but most of the Cleveland National Forest does not. I enjoyed my stay in the area and considering how close it is to the big city I would recommend.

Some nice places to travel and check out. Stayed at Indian Flats Campground (first come, first serve). It had vault toilets and a self pay/self registration kiosk. I want to check out other similar campgrounds in the future.


Beautiful place with lots to explore, also makes for a great drive or motorcycle ride with it’s curvey canyon road. Love that it isn’t as popular as other mountains less crowded for sure. Has a beautiful lake as well.

I love coming to Laguna Mountain in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
I brought a friend who has never seen the park before.
Had a nice, relaxing walk and got some good photos of wildflowers and other flora.

Took the trailer to Mt Laguna Campground in the Cleveland National Forest for a few days. The facilities are very new. Large sites. The restrooms are the cleanest I’ve ever seen anywhere. You can’t leave any food, packaged or not, unattended for a minute or the squirrels will be into it. The RV sites could have been built closer to level. No hookups but clean cold water available at hose bibs here and there.

Free Tent Camping at Dispersed Campsites in the National Forest

(About Video: The best free dispersed campsites are not found on national forest maps. In this video I discuss how to find the best dispersed campsites and free tent camping in the national forest. Video is recorded at a free dispersed campsite where we tent camped for the night on the banks of the East Fork of the Greenbrier River.


About Cleveland National Forest
Questions and answers

Can you hike in Cleveland National Forest?

Ready for some activity? There are 89 moderate trails in Cleveland National Forest ranging from 0.6 to 28.4 miles and from 387 to 6,263 feet above sea level. … Popular activities include enjoying the picnic areas, hitting up the hiking trails up Laguna Mountain and Palomar Mountain, horseback riding, mountain biking.

Are there bears in Cleveland National Forest?

A spokeswoman for the Cleveland National Forest, which borders much of the state park, also said they have had no reports of bears. It is generally accepted that black bears have not been seen in the county since the year 2000, although odd reports have come in recently from widely diverse areas.

Are dogs allowed in Cleveland National Forest?

If you are traveling in a National Forest Wilderness, dogs are permitted. However, if you leave a National Forest Wilderness and enter into a National Park, dogs are not permitted.

Are there deer in San Diego?

Southern mule deer are adapted to a variety of habitats in western San Diego County, including woodlands, shrublands, meadows, grasslands, and riparian areas. Shrub habitats and woodlands interspersed with meadows or grasslands are important for food resources, as well as cover for shade and protection from predators.

Does it snow in Cleveland National Forest?

The Cleveland National Forest is a very special place in southern California. … Along the way, you’ll find the Laguna Mountain Lodge, located at 6,000 feet elevation on Laguna Mountain. The lodge is 1 hour from San Diego, 2 hours from Yuma, AZ and enjoys all four seasons including winter snow

How many national forests are in California?

The Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region comprises 17 national forests in California, plus a special management unit in Lake Tahoe.

Is camping allowed in Cleveland National Forest?

You may camp a maximum of 14 days out of every 30 on the Forest. All 3 Ranger districts offer remote camping, also known as “dispersed camping”, where camping outside of developed campgrounds is an option.

What kind of trees are in Cleveland National Forest?

There are trees, of course, in the’ Cleveland National Forest — pine, black oak, and cedar on the higher mountain slopes, and in the river valleys cottonwood, willow, maple, and coast live oak. The first half mile of the wilderness trail the air was fresh with the scent of pine and sage.


Where can I disperse camp in Cleveland National Forest?

Top Cleveland National Forest Dispersed Campgrounds

Hurkey Creek Park

Wilderness Lakes RV Resort

South Carlsbad State Beach

Temecula / Vail Lake KOA

San Mateo Campground—San Onofre State Beach


William Heise County Park

Borrego Palm Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Cuyamaca Rancho/Paso Picacho Campground

Is Cleveland National Forest free?

The Forest Service waives recreation fees at most day-use sites on lands managed by the agency. Participation by concession-operated sites may vary.


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