Long drives can be boring with few entertainment options. As you make your way out of the city, there is lots to see on these backcountry roads so let’s play a game of I Spy on our way to Julian!
Before we start playing....for your safety and the safety of others on the road, PLEASE don't stop in the middle of the highway to get a better look at these and the many other San Diego hidden gems. If there is a safe place to pull over, make sure you are completely off the road. Now that we got that safety message our of the way, let's have some fun!
I Spy My Way To Julian along Highway 79 North...
Old Highway 80 - Between Wildwood Glen Lane and where you turn left to stay on Highway 79 North you will notice that the road changes from just asphalt to a patchwork of asphalt and concrete. This is Old Highway 80, the road that used to take travelers East before the modern-day Interstate 8 was built.
The Cuyamaca Rancho State Park - About 1/3 of the drive to Julian via CA Highway 79 is through the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The 26,000 acres of the park are known for large meadows, wildlife, and outdoor recreation activities. The next 5 items on our list are in the park.
Green Valley Falls Campground - Green Valley Falls is one of the safest waterfalls to hike to in the backcountry. The hike and water here are great for kids and families.
The Scars of the Cedar Fire - In 2003 the Cedar Fire burned over 24,000 acres (>98%) of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The fire intensity was so great that seed bank and cone-producing forest canopy were nearly destroyed resulting in a very limited area able to naturally regenerate. Today amidst the post-fire vegetation dominated by thick shrubs and re-sprouting oak species you can see the burned tree stumps still standing.
Stonewall Peak/Paso Picacho Campground - As you make your way up the grade and out of the sharp curves, you will notice a towering peak topped with stone on the right-hand side of the road. This is Stonewall Peak, named after the Stonewall Mine that is located on the peaks northeast slope. Visitors are able to hike this peak after checking in at Paso Pichacho Campground. Some may argue that from the top, it has the prettiest mountain view around.
The Three Sisters - The three main peaks in the Cuyamaca Mountain range, North Peak, Middle Peak, and Cuyamaca Peak, are known as the Three Sisters. As you drive down the highway, you will see these peaks on your left from a variety of angles.
Lake Cuyamaca - Lake Cuyamaca has many shore fishing spots as well as boats available to give you an all-around fishing experience. You never know what you might catch! With Lake Cuyamaca being stocked with bass, catfish, trout, bluegill, crappie, and sturgeon all year long, there's always fish.
KQ Ranch Road - Down this road is where the King and Queen Mine's once shared its wealth with local gold miners. Today, the land is home to KQ Ranch, know for it’s a private camping and recreation facilities.
Inspiration Point - See where the mountain meets the desert. This breathtaking lookout has a view all the way to the Salton Sea.
You will arrive shortly! Enjoy the wide-open spaces, fresh air, and historical late 1800s charm.