Sunday, January 13, 2013

William Heise County Park (Canyon Oak Trail)

William Heise County Park is fun hiking location that is situated 4,200 feet above sea level in a forest of pines and oaks along the northern extremity of the Cuyamaca Mountain Range near the town of Julian, California. William Heise County Park encompasses approximately 1,000 acres and is situated in the San Diego Mountains. William Heise County Park has some great hiking trails and is a great hiking location just outside of San Diego. For more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to William Heise County Park, from Orange County, head toward the town of Julian, California. From junction of Highway 79 & Pine Hills Road (1 mile west of the town of Julian), head 2 miles south on Pine Hills Rd. to Frisius Rd., then head east for 2 miles until you enter the park (There are signs directing you to the park). For an additional map of where William Heise County Park is located click Here and Here, or check the Google map below. The address for William Heise County Park is 4945 Heise Park Road Julian, CA 92036 and the phone number for questions is 760-765-0650. Parking for the day is currently $3 at the ranger station so make sure to bring cash. There is alop camping available at William Heise County Park as well. For more information on camping click Here.

Description of Hike: This hike in William Heise County Park is a loop on the Canyon Oak Trail. The hiking trails in William Heise County Park are well maintained and offer great views of the San Diego Mountains as well as the Deserts in Southern California. You will park right by the camp host and will begin your hike there. Head up the road just north of the camp host sight just before camp sight area three as indicated on the Park Trail Map. The trail starts there on your left. The William Heise County Park hiking trail map can be found Here. The trail will take you to the start of the Canyon Oak Trail. The Canyon Oak Trail goes through beautiful forests and has some elevation gain to it. According to our accounts this hike is 1.6 miles in length with approximately 450 feet of elevation gain. If you want to add another 2.6 miles to the hike you can take the Desert View Trail Loop.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike in William Heise County Park. We did this hike with my mom (Debbie) and sister (Danielle) as they were joining us for a fun day trip to Julian. When we began this hike it was nice and sunny, but chilly with the temperatures around 39 degrees Fahrenheit. But we knew the weather forecasts called for a chance of snow later in the day, so we made sure to have appropriate winter hiking gear. While on this hike, storm clouds moved in and it began to snow on us! It was fun to do a hike while snow was actually falling as shown in the picture with this paragraph. For the day the area probably got about an inch of snow. When doing a hike during the cold winter months make sure to always have the proper gear and to look at the weather report before going hiking. This is especially true for the mountains. Since this hike is in the San Diego Mountains, winter can bring snow and summer can bring summer thunderstorms. It is always important on any hike to know what to bring! For the current weather report for the area around William Heise County Park, click Here.

While hiking at William Heise County Park we got the chance to see several mule deer in addition to approximately 10 wild Rio Grande turkeys. William Heise County Park has an abundance of wildlife. Mule deer are frequently seen throughout William Heise County Park as well as large flocks of Rio Grande turkey. Other common visitors include the gray fox, bobcats, the golden eagle, and an occasional mountain lion. In 2003, the Cedar Fire burned much of the 1,000 acres of oak, pine, and cedar forests, and the face of the park was dramatically changed. As devastating as the fire was, visitors to William Heise County Park now have the opportunity to witness nature’s way of rejuvenating Heise Park to its original grandeur.

William Heise County Park also has great options for camping. Campers have the option of choosing RV sites with or without electricity, tent sites, primitive group sites, or wilderness cabins. Each site includes a table, a fire ring, a tent or RV pad, and a parking space. Water is nearby, and hot showers are available. The park offers 20 partial hook-up sites that can accommodate trailers, campers, tents, and motor homes
up to 40 ft. There are 37 non hook-up sites that can fit trailers, campers, tents, and motor homes up to 40 ft. The park also offers 42 tent only sites for those seeking more of a wilderness experience. So if you are looking for an extended stay here there are lots of opportunities.

William Heise County Park has over 10 miles of hiking trails and is a great place to explore right outside of Julian, California. You have a great chance of seeing wildlife in this park and are rewarded with great views along the hiking trails in William Heise County Park. The best part about hiking at William Heise County Park is that when you are done with your hike, you can head over to Julian for a slice of warm apple pie and a cup of hot apple cider! Here is a picture of the pie and cider we got from the Candied Apple Pastry Company in Julian, California.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 450 ft. (Easy), Distance: 1.6 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.

View William Heise County Park (Canyon Oak Trail) in a larger map

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Brian and Ashley! Glad you made it out to my neck of the woods. I do like that area and it is always nice to finish a winter hike with pie and cider. Thanks for sharing!


Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.