Cleveland National Forest

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Cleveland National Forest
The Cleveland National Forest is located in southern California within driving distance for over 11 million people and covers parts of San Diego Country, Orange County and Riverside County. Administered by the US Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest covers an area of over 460,000 acres. The US Forest Service divides the area into three ranger districts: Trabuco (in the north); Palomar (central); and, Descanso (east of San Diego).

Created in 1908 by Theodore Roosevelt, Cleveland National Forest offers camping, hiking, picnicking, off-road (in the Wildomar and Corral Canyon Off-Highway Areas) and sight-seeing. Cleveland National Forest has great hiking and camping opportunities with waterfalls in many remote areas and scenic vistas throughout. In order to hike around or camp you will need a permit or recreation pass. If you plan to have a campfire you will need a forest products permit ("Forest Products include items such as firewood and Christmas trees. Collecting and removing such forest products requires a permit.") It is suggested, for good reason, that you do not bring in your own firewood because it may carry insects that are not indigenous and may cause damage to the plants and wildlife in the forest. You will also need a California Campfire Permit. More specifically the issue revolves around the Goldenspotted Oak Borer which has been spreading throughout San Diego County. The California State Parks team suggests that if you have to bring wood into the area, bring pine or eucalyptus wood and not oak wood. Note that at both the State and Forest Service facilities wood can be purchased.

The Cleveland National Forest highlights four areas that would interest visitors. The Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is located about 40 minutes east of downtown San Diego and has places to visit such as the Laguna Mountain Meadows. The Palomar Mountain Area is located near Escondido and Fallbrook in the North County area of San Diego County. Located near the Palomar Mountain Area is a place called Lake Henshaw and Palomar Mountain State Park. While visiting Palomar Mountain taking the loop on State Highway 76 that passes by Lake Henshaw is a great scenic drive. The other main places to visit in the Cleveland National Forest are the Wilderness Areas. There are three of these places: Agua Tibia, Pine Creek and San Mateo Canyon.

Did you know? You can hunt wild pigs in the Descanso and Palomar Ranger Districts. You will need to get a permit from California Department of Fish and Game and follow the regulations but if you are looking for a unique adventure this could it.
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