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11842 California 79
Descanso, CA 91916

Phone: 32.905244,
32.905244, -116.58495

Hike to waterfall: 1/4 mile     Level: Easy

Dogs-Friendly: Not on trails but allowed at campground   Kid-Friendly: Yes

Parking: $8

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Among San Diego’s many treasures is Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, a 24,700 acre wonderland in the northeast part of the county that is bursting with beautiful scenery. At its highest points one can see Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the east or the Pacific coastline to the west. During a recent visit we hiked to Green Valley Falls which lies within the park off of Highway 79 midway between Descanso and Julian.

Green Valley Falls lays within a campground which offers 74 campsites. The sites are located at an elevation of 4,000 feet where the Sweetwater River spills over boulders on its 55 mile trip southwest to San Diego Bay.

The river runs through the campground and produces a variety of cascades and shallow pools. I imagine the cold water would be great for cooling off on hot days. The hike itself was short but very scenic. After exploring the initial falls, we headed down stream where we were greeted with more pools and a competitor for Potato Chip Rock. We will definitely be back for a return visit.

On our hike we saw what looked to be mortars, although I can’t verify that’s what they were. I do know that the presence of Indigenous peoples in the area dates back a minimum of 7000 years.

Traces of ancient and pre-contact civilizations are found in the park, and there is evidence that it was the site of summer camps and villages. The name "Cuyamaca" is a Spanish version of the name for this area used by the Kumeyaay peoples. They called it Ekwiiyemak, meaning "the place where it rains."

There are over 100 miles of trails to accommodate hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Please keep in mind that in the late summer the water is dry so sadly no waterfall! For most of the year it is running though.

There are beautiful manzanita trees all over:

After you enjoy the main waterfall, keep heading downstream for more watery goodness!

Rosehips!

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2 Reviews

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2 Reviews

Comments

  • Anita
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I used to stay here all the time as a kid. We used to go in the Spring or early fall every year. Camping was cool they do have areas to shower. Also loved jumping off the top of the waterfall into the pool below. It’s not really deep, but not shallow enough to hurt yourself if you go at the right time. Its been a few years, I want to go back!

    February 24, 2019

  • Clara valencia
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Good afternoon, I have a question, i read that dogs are not allowed on trails but on the campsite yes. The question is we have a service dog, are they allowed on the trails or not?

    June 19, 2019

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11842 CA-79, Descanso, CA 91916, USA

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