- The Sunrise Scenic Byway (County Route S1) begins at Laguna Junction on Interstate 8 and runs through the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. From viewpoints along the highway, travelers can view the desert and Salton Sea to the east and San Diego, Point Loma and the Pacific Ocean to the west. There are some tourist facilities in Pine Valley and Mt. Laguna along the way. A map of the Sunrise Scenic Byway with points of interest is available on the Cleveland National Forest web site.
In addition to the many Forest Service campgrounds, camping is available at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and some private campgrounds in the nearby communities. Undeveloped (remote) camping is permitted outside most areas of the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area and outside developed campgrounds. A free overnight visitor permit is required and may be obtained at any Forest Service office in person, by mail, or by telephone.
A visitor information center is located at Mt. Laguna and is staffed by volunteers on weekends and holidays.
The Laguna Meadow is a 900-acre wet meadow in the middle of the Recreation Area, accessible via the Sunset, Noble, and Big Laguna trails. It is a remnant of a series of seasonally wet meadows that were once extensive in the Palomar and Laguna Mountain areas.
Mountain meadows are the habitat for many plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species, and is excellent wildlife viewing areas. Extra care needs to be taken by visitors to not disturb the habitat while viewing.
Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking are enjoyed on this wilderness area.
On the south side of the I-8 is the 13,000-acre Pine Creek Wilderness, accessible at the Pine Creek or Horsethief Trailheads. The vegetation is predominately chaparral and scrub oak, with elevations ranging from 2,000 - 4,000 feet. Most of the streams dry up for part of the year. The Secret Canyon Trail and the Espinosa Trail are the two main trails for hikers and horses.
Between Hauser Wilderness and Lake Morena County Park is the Corral Canyon OHV Area. This 1,800-acre area is managed by off-highway vehicle users. All vehicles must be street legal or have a California off-highway registration ("green sticker"). Red Sticker vehicles are allowed December and January only. Forest Service and State Green Sticker funds are used to operate this area. A free map is available at the Descanso Ranger Station.
The Descanso Ranger District is located in the southern portion of the Cleveland National Forest, south of Ramona, east of Alpine and north of the Mexican border.
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