Cuyamaca Rancho and Palomar Mountain State Parks offer many ways to spend a wonderful day in the mountains with your family.

  Green Valley Campground is generally open spring through fall

Check for availability at Reserve California

Interpretive Programs

Donate Now Button    Cuyamaca Rancho and Palomar Mountain State Parks offer a number of guided interpretive programs throughout the summer. These programs usually start in May and run through September. Check our Calendar and Events page for a schedule. Contact the park entrance station for program information at both parks.

Click on a topic in any blue bar below to read more details:

The Visitor Center

   This is a great place to learn about the park. The center is located between Paso Picacho and Green Valley Campgrounds on Hwy 79. Just follow the signs that say Park Museum or walk there on the Cold Stream Trail.

  The Visitor Center houses the Park's Museum which contains displays and exhibits about the Park's history and wildlife. Don't forget to take a picture of your family in front of the Mountain Lion!

  The Visitor Center is also home to the Park's Gift Shop which is maintained and staffed by CRSPIA Volunteers. Our Gift Shop is a great place to look for Birthday and Holiday gifts.

  The Visitor Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00-4:00.

Picnic Areas

   Large picnic and day use areas are provided at both parks. These areas have running water, public restrooms and parking. A group picnic area is available at the Paso Picacho Campground; please ask at park headquarters or the entrance kiosk for details. All picnic areas are conveniently close to popular hiking trails.

Nature Hikes and Trail Maps


   These are offered on weekends. Our terrific volunteer staff leads these hikes, making them interesting and fun. Please join a hike one of these days soon. Check with any Ranger or at the campground entrance station for the meeting time and location.


   Both parks offer over a hundred miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians. There is something for everyone. Detailed trail maps are available at Park Headquarters, at Campground Entrance Stations, from camp hosts and the Visitor Center for $2.

Park Animals


    Please do not feed the animals. Don’t teach them to like "human food" because it doesn't provide a healthy diet for wild animals. If they get accustomed to "human food", they will frequently starve in winter.

    Remember! Though they seem tame, these are wild animals!

Let’s keep them that way!

Park Animals (Continued)


    Wild turkeys are common in the Green Valley area, not so much further north. Early risers may see deer grazing in the meadows. Coyotes are common in the Park, although they are very reclusive. If you do see a coyote, it's a good bet that it is on to a nearby food source (such as some turkeys.) Visitors can see woodpeckers and other birds pretty much all day. A great way to see animals at night is to leave your food out. Raccoons, opossums and skunks will visit your campsite and may get very up close and personal.

Family Programs

Campfire Programs

Campfire Programs are held on Saturday nights, usually at both parks, and often during the week. Please check the park announcements for exact dates, times, and titles of programs. Come join in. You’ll have a good time and learn a bit about YOUR park.

Programs for children

Junior Rangers

   For children 7-12 years of age. These programs are 45 minutes to an hour long and occur on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The participants earn pins, certificates, and badges for attending certain numbers of Jr. Ranger programs. There are also self-guided Jr. Ranger activity books at each entrance station. The books, when completed, count as programs.



   Be extra careful with fire. An oversized campfire can be disastrous.


   Collecting downed wood is not permitted. Over 10 million people visit California State Parks each year. If each person collected camp firewood the soil would suffer severely without the replenishment of organic material. Firewood is available for purchase at several locations in both parks. You may purchase your firewood here or bring it from home.


   Please keep the park clean. Trash is unsightly and can be a hazard to the wildlife. Be a full time "LITTER GETTER"


   Removal of plant material is not allowed. Gathering pine cones or wood is also prohibited. Plants are beautiful attractions to our parks and all plants are protected here.


   Family pets are welcome in the campground and on paved park roads, but dogs must be on a leash at all times. Please, do not leave pets unattended. Pets are not allowed on any trails because they may introduce disease, threaten park animals, and become lost or injured. Leashed dogs are allowed on the Cuyamaca Peak Fire Road.


   Please observe the quiet hours of 10 pm to 6 am. No generators from 8 pm to 10 am. Some folks come here to “get away.”


   Please separate recyclables before throwing your trash away. Recycling bins are located throughout both campgrounds. Please separate recyclables before throwing your trash away. All recyclables are sorted for redemption by CRSPIA volunteers and income derived from your recyclables goes directly back to the park. Thank you for conserving resources.




Riding bicycles in the park. Photo by Michelle Hernandez.    Bicycles are welcome on paved roads, primitive fire roads and some designated trails. Bikes are not permitted in the wilderness - check at the Entrance Kiosk or with a Ranger or Park Aide for a list of trails where bicycles are permitted. Remember, anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding bicycles or skateboards anywhere in the park. Remember that the California Vehicle Code applies to all campground driveways.


Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.    The Red Diamond and Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes are the most common type of rattlesnake found in the park. Mating season is early to late spring and the female rattlesnake gives birth usually in August. While it appears that the female gives birth to live young, rattlesnakes are really hatched from eggs. The eggs are not laid in a nest but are incubated and hatched internally.

Rattlesnakes (Continued)

Red Diamond Rattlesnakes

Red Diamond Rattlesnake.    Rattlesnakes blend into their surroundings and can be difficult to see. They generally lay in open areas (such as trails) in the early morning and late evening to get heat from the sun. When the weather turns hotter, they most often lay in grassy or brushy areas to avoid overheating. Rattlesnake venom can be deadly and any snakebite must be treated as a medical emergency.



   Ticks are a fact of life in wild areas of San Diego County. Not all ticks carry diseases, but some in this area do carry Lyme disease. Humans and dogs can contract it any time of the year since the ticks feed at various times of the year, including winter. Lyme disease often presents a rash around the bite and flu-like symptoms and if untreated can lead to arthritis, meningitis, neuralgic and cardiac problems.

   The best way to avoid ticks is to avoid trail edges, brush and grassy areas, wear light colored long pants and long sleeves, use insect repellent; and check for ticks on you, children and pets frequently. Gently remove an embedded tick using tissue or tweezers and save it for identification. Be sure to tell your doctor you were bitten by a tick if you develop symptoms.

Poison Oak

Poison Oak

Photo of Poison Oak    This is one plant you need to know. Learn to recognize it at a glance. Poison oak has a triple leaf pattern with prominent veins and shiny surfaces. It is a very hardy plant, common throughout the local parks. Irritating oils in the leaves can cause a severe rash. Avoid touching it, pets, or tools which may have touched it. Much of the irritating oil from poison oak can be removed by washing with soap and water at the first opportunity.

A physician should treat severe inflammation.

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