Stonewall Mine in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a great day hike near Lake Cuyamaca outside of Julian California. While at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Ashley and I had a chance to do a small hike around Stonewall Mine right near Lake Cuyamaca. Stonewall Mine was a large gold mine in the late 1800's and was one of the most productive gold mines in the Julian area. It is located in some very amazing scenery in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, surrounded by Lake Cuyamaca and Montane Meadow. The hike around Stonewall Mine is a fun short day hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park that the whole family can do together.
Directions to Trailhead: To get to the trailhead to hike to Stonewall Mine in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, from the town of Julian, CA, take the 79 highway south until you enter the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. After you enter the park and round your way around Lake Cuyamaca, you will make a left onto the road going to the mine. There is signage indicating the road to Stonewall Mine. If you go past the Paso Picacho Campground you have gone too far. The road is pretty much a paved one lane road much of the way after you make the turn from highway 79, so be careful on the road. There are several parking spots at the end of the road by Stonewall Mine. You can view a map of where Stonewall Mine is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park by clicking Here. As of the date of this post, there is an $8 cost for day parking at this location.
Description of Hike: The Stonewall Mine Hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a fun short hike that goes through some of the most scenic areas of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The trails are well maintained and you are likely to see other hikers while out on this trail around Stonewall Mine. The hike also goes through an area that is heavily traveled by the park's wildlife, the Montane Meadow. The hike is under a mile long with minimal elevation gain and thus is one you can do with the whole family. You can make the hike longer by exploring some of the nearby trails if you like. Overall, this is an easy, but fun hike in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. For a map of the trails in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, click Here.
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike at Stonewall Mine in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It was short, but offered both a historical view into California's mining culture as well as the opportunity to view the wildlife at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. While we were there it was neat to see deer wandering through what used to be a mining operation. There are informational plaques that explain about the history of Stonewall Mine. You cannot go into the mine, because there are fences around the site.
Between 1870 and 1892, Stonewall Mine produced over $2 million worth of gold, which is equivalent to about $60 million in today’s dollars. It was one of the largest mining operations in the region. Much of Stonewall Mine was torn down in the 1920's and sold for scrap, but some remnants of Stonewall Mine remain. To learn more about the history of Stonewall Mine in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park click Here for a link to the state parks website or click Here for a link to an informative article on Stonewall Mine and the lost city of Cuyamaca.
The Cuyamaca Rancho State Park also has a non-profit that is associated with it, the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Association. The Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Interpretive Associations supports both Cuyamaca Rancho and Palomar Mountain State Parks.
Overall, we enjoyed this area of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It has great views, the trails were in good shape, and we got to see the remnants of a gold mine. Also, in one spot on the trail there was a bench to sit and watch for wildlife which was nice. We sat and watched several deer cross the valley below us. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a must visit for any Southern California Hiker.