Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, mountain meadows are one of our natural wonders. From a distance, they appear to be filled with nothing but yellow and green grasses across wide swaths of the mountain landscape that averages just over 4,000 feet in elevation. But walk through them during summer and they're anything but dull. Life abounds here, both in resident critters and abundant, colorful wildflowers. On a loop hike combining seven passing through the huge Green Valley that surrounds the Sweetwater River.
There are more than 100 miles of trails in Cuyamaca, many open only to hikers and equestrians, with several including the old fire roads open to mountain bikers. Dogs are not allowed on state park trails, including Cuyamacas.. The one trail here where you may take your leashed dog is the Cuyamaca Peak Fire Road. On several occasions, some larger than usual lizards darted out onto the trails running ahead until they scurried back into the brush.
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If you pick up the nature trail pamphlet at the visitors center before you head out, you can follow the numbered markers to learn about plants and trees used by the Kumeyaay who lived here for generations.