Hike: there are many hiking trails on this land Level: Each hike varies in level
Dog-Friendly: Yes Kid-Friendly: Yes
For those who are looking for an authentic back-country, mountain getaway, you really need to look no further than Cuyamaca. The park is 26,000 acres and features a lovely lake that you can easily spend a full day at.
There are hiking trails, camping options, fishing, cabins and a restaurant over-looking the lake. It also gets four seasons here which means autumn leaves and snow!
Indigenous Peoples in the area date back a minimum of 7000 years. Traces of their ancient and pre-contact civilizations are within the park, which is a Cuyamaca complex archeological site. Early bedrock mortars mark the sites of summer camps and villages. Even the name “Cuyamaca” is a Spanish version of the name the native Kumeyaay peoples used for this place. In water-short Southern California, the Natives call the area Ekwii àa muck meaning “the place where it rains.”
Kumeyaay peoples’ traditional lands range from San Diego east through the Cuyamaca and the Laguna Mountains through present day Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to beyond the Salton Sea in the east, and south beyond present day Ensenada, Baja California on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. A typical band’s typical range was a 20-mile (30 km) radius from their winter home. Today thirteen federally recognized Kumeyaay tribes are in San Diego County.
The park is located on the 1845 Rancho Cuyamaca Mexican land grant. With the discovery of gold in Julian in 1869, the Spanish, Mexican, and American governments and settlers changed the Kumeyaay’s way of life forever.
Disease spread through the Kumeyaay, traditional ways of life were destroyed, and promises broken as the Natives were expelled in 1875 from ancestral lands and taxed without representation. Currently there are about 20,000 Kumeyaay descendants in San Diego County, 10% of whom live on the 18 reservations which range from 6.3 to 122,000 acres.