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Cutca traverses a wide variety of landscapes including chaparral, oak woodlands, big cone Douglas fir, and coulter pine stands.

The first half mile of Cutca Trail is downhill through switchbacks. It then climbs back out of the small valley following the bottom of a small drainage. The trail continues west across a number of meadows and then climbs again into the Cutca Valley. After wandering north down the valley for about half a mile, the trail turns west again and climbs into the southeast corner of the Agua Tibia Wilderness. The trail climbs up the bottom of a drainage for about 1 mile and then starts a steep climb up a ridge toward Eagle Crag. The climb ends at the 4,730' elevation and begins a contour west across the face of the peak to a ridge that runs northwest. The trail then descends this ridge to Crosley Saddle and its terminus with the Wildhorse Peak and Palomar-Magee Trails. The trail traverses a wide variety of landscapes including chaparral, oak woodlands, big cone Douglas fir, and Coulter pine stands. Animals include lizards, snakes, deer, mountain lions and much in between. Water sources are scarce. The meadow areas provide good camping. A visitor pass is required for overnight stays in the backcountry. Campfires are not permitted at any time.

Forest maps available at Palomar Ranger District Office located on Black Canyon Road in Ramona.

Directions: From San Diego, CA, Take Interstate 15 north to Highway 79 near Temecula. Travel Hwy. 79 south toward Warner Springs. About a quarter mile past the junction with Highway 371 take Forest Road 8S05 west (on right). This is the same turnoff used to reach Rancho California RV Resort. At about 5 miles the trailhead sign will be found on the right side of the road. Parking is in the wide area along the road. (Vehicles must display a Forest Adventure Pass.)

Elevation: 3,800 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet

Distance: 10.4 miles

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Cleveland National Forest, California

Visitor Information

The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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