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California > Cleveland National Forest
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Cleveland National Forest

Descanso Ranger District- The Descanso Ranger District is bisected by Interstate 8 in San Diego County. The northwest portion in the Laguna Mountains is the most heavily visited. The southern section includes two wilderness areas, Pine Creek and Hauser.
Pacific Crest Trail- From desert to glacier-flanked mountain, meadow to forest, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) symbolizes everything there is to love - and protect - in the Western United States.
Palomar Ranger District- Palomar Ranger District is named for Palomar Mountain, a 6,126 foot rounded peak in the middle of the District. Palomar, meaning "dove" in colonial Spanish, was named by settlers who saw flocks of birds around the mountain.
Trabuco Ranger District- Trabuco Ranger District is named for Trabuco Canyon on the west side of the Santa Ana Mountains. Trabuco, meaning "blunderbuss" in colonial Spanish, was a weapon apparently lost in the canyon by a Spanish soldier during the Portola expedition of 1769.

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General Information

Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco Ranger District
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco Ranger District
Description - The Cleveland National Forest is the southernmost national forest in California. Named in honor of President Cleveland, the land was designated a national forest in 19808 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The Forest includes three mountain ranges: the Santa Ana, Palomar, and Laguna (Cuyamaca) Mountains. They are part of the Peninsular Range, which extends for 800 miles from the Santa Ana Mountains to Baja California.

Attractions - The Cleveland National Forest offers open space and quiet where forest visitors can find solitude and escape from the busy life of the nearby Southern California urban areas. Elevations on the Forest range from 460 feet to 6,271 feet, on Monument Peak. More than 75% of the vegetation is chaparral, predominantly coastal sage, chemise, manzanita and ceonothus. A few riparian, or streamside areas exist, but they make up only about one percent of the Forest land. There are large oaks in meadows and along streams and Jeffrey and Coulter pine forest at higher elevations. Some wet meadows are found between the high elevation pines.

Areas of Interest:

On the Trabuco Ranger District, which lies just south of the city of Corona, the San Juan Loop Trail runs along San Juan Creek, with panoramic views, a waterfall and cool oak groves. It is accessed off State Highway 74. The Trabuco District has three popular waterfalls which attract picnickers, hikers and photographers: Holy Jim, Ortega and Teneja Falls. They all flow year round, but are best after the winter rains through late spring. The Holy Jim Historic Trail is a self-guided walking tour. The District is popular for mountain biking. Except for trails in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, all trails on the District are open for mountain bikes and they offer a full range of difficulty levels.

On the Palomar Ranger District, north and east of the cities of Ramona and Escondido, the "Highway to the Stars" leads from State Highway 76 to the top of Palomar Mountain and the world famous Palomar Observatory. Several campgrounds are located nearby. East of Temecula, the Dripping Springs Campground sits in scattered oaks, at the gateway to the Agua Tibia Wilderness. Dripping Springs Trail crosses Arroyo Seco Creek before it begins climbing to Agua Tibia Mountain. The Inaja Nature Trail and Memorial Picnic Ground are located one mile south of Santa Ysabel on State Highway 78/79.

The Descanso Ranger District lies at the south end of the Forest, east of El Cajon, around Alpine. The 1,800-acre Corral Canyon Off-Highway Vehicle Area, south of Interstate 8 and west of the Lake Morena County Park, offers trails, two campgrounds and a day use area. The 10-mile long Noble Canyon Trail travels from the trailhead, north of the community of Pine Valley, to the Pacific Crest Trail, near Oasis Springs in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. The Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is accessed by the Sunrise National Scenic Byway. Popular activities include camping, hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, scenic driving photography and nature study. When enough snow falls in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, there are opportunities for cross-country skiing, sledding and other winter activities.

The Sunrise National Scenic Byway is 24 miles long, and extends north from Interstate 8, one mile east of Pine Valley, to State Highway 79, near Julian. Travelers will find mountain and forest vistas, some spectacular panoramic views as well as trailheads for the Pacific Crest Trail and the Noble Canyon National Recreation Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada and leads through the Cleveland National Forest. The Cleveland has four designated Wilderness Areas: the San Mateo Canyon, Agua Tibia, Pine Creek and Hauser Wildernesses. Travel in the Wilderness is restricted to foot or horseback and a permit from a Forest Service office is required for overnight camping.

Recreation - Some of the popular recreation activities on the Cleveland include camping, hiking, picnicking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, using off-highway vehicles, and viewing scenery.

Forest visitors on the San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests of Southern California are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle when parked in the Forest. The cost is $5 per day or $30 per year and can be purchased in any Forest Service office or over 350 businesses throughout Southern California.

Climate - A warm, dry Mediterranean climate prevails over the Cleveland National Forest - hot in the summer, mild in the winter. Most of the precipitation comes as rain during the winter months.

Location - The Cleveland National Forest is comprised of 3 segments in southern California. The Forest extends from within 5 miles of the Mexican border in San Diego County, northward approximately 130 miles to Orange and Riverside Counties. Over 20 million people live within a two hour drive of the Cleveland.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: squall
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: tenaja falls is wonderfull place go on a weekday and youll have it to yourself refreshing pool on the first teir slippery near the edges peligro

Filed By: Brian and Shannon (Temecula, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We found one of So Ca. best kept secreats and and a state gem! Off highway 76 in the Cleveland National Forest, just below Palomar Mnt lies a day use picnic area called san Luis Rey picnic park. A rushing water stream offers astetheic rushing water over large boulders, pooled lagoons deep enough to swim in...this is a gem! Take the trail to the right, and and picnic lunch and swimsuits and enjoy a special day at this park. Its the best getaway we've found in So. Ca. to date! You can actually float down the falls, so I reccomend water shoes and a tube or boogie boards for even more fun.

Filed By: matt cooper (lake forest, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: skyline drive in corona,lots of fun with my two sons bike riding..only problem is the trash left behind by others

Filed By: rich (orange, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: So close, yet so far. I recently spent a day hiking around the Santa Ana mtns. via Bedford Motorway entrance (north-east side). As beautiful and refreshing as it was, I was saddened by the massive development for master-planned housing including golf courses and country clubs in the area. I'm further concerned for the Santa Ana mtns. in regard to the Cnty of Riverside planning to add another hwy cutting across this unspoiled ecosystem.

Filed By: chris (el cajon, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Garnets peak is a must see it is just about 2 miles hike round trip and the views of the desert to the east and forest to the west is a must see..the trail head is at mile marker 27.5 on sunrise hwy..coming off the 8 take sunrise hwy to mile marker 27.5 and the trail is off the right side of the road.it is a moderate to difficult trail so be sure to have water and maby a snack i dont recomend this to those who are not able to deal with almost 1 mile of rough up hill hiking,but for anyone else it is a must see

More Information

Contact Information:
Cleveland National Forest, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 200 , San Diego, CA, 92127, Phone: 619-673-6180

Additional Information:
California National Forests & Parks - California's National Parks, Monuments and Forests cover lands from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Inland Empire Region - The Inland Empire lies between the coast and the deserts of Southern California. The Inland Empire offers soaring mountains, alpine lakes, historic sites, lush vineyards and colorful entertainment.
Los Angeles County - Los Angeles County stretches over 4,000 square miles, encompassing high deserts, sparkling beaches, snowy peaks, and meandering megalopolis.
Orange County - Orange County is found along the Southern California Coast. With its sunny beaches, luxurious resorts, theme parks and unlimited opportunities for shopping and dining, Orange County offers opportunities for everyone.
San Diego County - With its rich Hispanic heritage, temperate climate, deep sea habors, sandy beaches and a variety of fun-filled attractions, San Diego County is quintessential California.
Southern California -

Cleveland National Forest - Official agency website.


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