Backcountry

Desert View Tower
  • Desert View Tower

Lake Cuyamaca

15027 Highway 79, Julian

Fish Lake Cuyamaca

About an hour’s drive from San Diego, Cuyamaca is a 110-acre, manmade lake situated in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Lake Cuyamaca is stocked with over 38,000 pounds of trout annually. Due to its 4600-foot elevation and cold winters, it is the only San Diego lake stocked with trout all year long. The lake also boasts largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, and sturgeon. Free fishing classes are held every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. until sunset. Parking is $7 per car. Lake Cuyamaca’s recreation center offers fishing rod and boat rentals. There is also an onsite tackle shop. Boat rentals range in price from $15 for kayaks, $30 for motorboats, and $125 for pontoon boats. — Siobhan Braun

Desert View Tower

In-Ko-Pah Road, Jacumba

Desert View Tower

Out east off Interstate 8 sits Desert View Tower, a historical landmark and roadside attraction actually worth visiting. The stone tower itself, finished in 1928, stands 60 feet high, atop the bottom-floor’s eclectic gift and antique shop. Along the 65 steps to the Crow’s Nest, take in a history lesson through the photographs and displays before taking in the magical view. Admission also grants access to adjacent Boulder Park, mostly animal sculptures chiseled into the surrounding rocks and caves in 1933 by out-of-work Depression-era engineer Merle Ratcliff. Adults, $4.50; 6–16 years, $2.50. Open during daylight, occasionally closed Wednesdays, so call ahead. — E.V. Hepworth

Barona Speedway

1754 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside

Barona Speedway

Barona Speedway hosts races every first and third Saturday of the month. The speedway is a dirt, semi-banked, quarter-mile oval. Race cars include dwarfs, sprints, modifieds, street stocks, pony stocks, to factory stocks. On race days, gates open at 1:00 p.m. Races begin at 5:00 p.m. Tailgating is encouraged. The site hosts a concession stand. Visitors may bring their own booze (no bottles) and food. Barona Speedway also allows onsite overnight camping included in the admission price. Adult tickets are $10; teens, $5; 7–12, $2; six years and under are free. Pit passes cost $30. At the end of the night visitors can enter the pits to view the cars up close and speak to the drivers. — Siobhan Braun

Borrego Art Institute

665 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs

Borrego Art Institute

The institute is a midcentury modern gem set in the heart of Borrego Springs. They host a wide variety of art-related workshops: painting, block printing, wood burning, photography, and pottery. (The pottery program covers both basic pottery and tile making.) And, of course, they sell stuff from a multitude of mediums: during the Summer Show and Sale (May 1–October 4), you’ll find paintings, photographs, and sculpture work in metal, clay, glass, and wood. Plus, consigned art from collectors. Purchased art may be removed at time of sale. Also, there is yoga Monday–Thursday, $10. Gallery is open Friday–Saturday, 2–6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. — Deirdre Lickona

Summers Past Farms

Summers Past Farms

Summers Past Farms

15602 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon

Summers Past Farms

Flinn Springs

Located alongside I-8 off the Harbison Canyon/Dunbar Lane exit, Summers Past Farm is a little known East County oasis. The farm features lush gardens, a nursery, a handmade-soap shop, and a boutique. A Sweet Pea maze and rabbit and cat encounters keep children entertained. A small outdoor patio café serves coffee and tea. The facility hosts events throughout the year including a fairy festival, soap-making classes, craft courses, holiday events, and weddings. Open Wednesday–Saturday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Sundays. — Siobhan Braun

Oasis Camel Dairy

26757 Old Julian Highway, Ramona

Oasis Camel Dairy

Thirty-four acres of dromedary camel bliss east of Ramona await your visit. On open farm tour days (check site for scheduled days) visitors can pet, photograph, and ride the camels. Rain or shine, the farm can be visited, but if it’s raining, the camel rides are put on hold. And leave your pooch at home, Fido will stress out the camels. The farm opens its doors from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. on set days. The Camel Dairy Store offers camel products. Did you know raw camel milk has therapeutic properties? Camel-milk soaps, lotions, camel chocolate milk are all for sale. Or perhaps you need your own camel? Bodhi, a two-year-old beauty is $5000. Open farm tours are $10 general admission, $7 for ages 4–14. Camel rides are $5 for kids aged 3–14, and $10 for 15 and up. — Eve Kelly

Private 10K trail run

Mt. San Miguel Community Park, Bonita | Corner of Campo Road and Singer Lane, Rancho San Diego

Google Maps says it’s 6.1 miles (not the full 6.2) from Mt. San Miguel Community Park in East Bonita through the hills to the historic Old Sweetwater Bridge in west Rancho San Diego. So, make up the extra tenth by continuing on to Hooleys in the Rancho San Diego Towne Center for a post-run pint. This private 10K will take you high up on the slopes of Mount Miguel where your fatigue will be alleviated by the panoramic views of south San Diego County, northern Baja, and the Coronado Islands. Start early enough and good St. Michael — San Miguel — will protect you from the devilish sun. After 9 a.m., you’re going to be in the sun. Either way, bring plenty of water. And a cell phone to call a ride. — Eve Kelly

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader

Comments

Log in to comment

Skip Ad
Close

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader