Upcoming events

    • 26 Mar 2017
    • 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    • Penasquitos (see description for full details)

    Los Penasquitos Canyon - East Approach

    Distance: 6.4 miles round trip to falls, Out-and-back
    Hiking Time: 3 hours (round trip)
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 300'/300'
    Difficulty: Moderate
    Tail Use: Mountain biking, dogs allowed

    Directions:  Exit Interstate 15 at Scripps Poway Parkway/Mercy Road.  Go west on Mercy Road for 1 mile to a T-intersection with Black Mountain Road.  Straight across, to the west, is your starting point, the eastern staging area for Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve.

    Description:  Take along a picnic lunch and a blanket on this hike.  There are many fine places-sunny meadow, oak-shaded flats, and the sycamore-fringed stream side-to stop for an hour's relaxation.  A good turnaround point is a small set of waterfalls and pools in the canyon bottom.  This is about 3 miles out, midway through the Los Penasquitos preserve.

    From the large staging area, set off on the wide trail to the west.  In the first mile, it hugs Los Penasquitos Canyon's south wall, a steep, chaparral-covered hillside (los penasquitos means "the little cliffs").

    As you pass near the Johnson-Taylor Ranch (screened from view by willows and dense vegetation along the creek), you'll notice several nonnative plants-eucalyptus and palms, for example-introduced into this area over the past century.  Nest you enter a long and beautiful canopy of intertwined live oaks, accompanied by a lush understory of mostly poison oak.

    Mile posts along the roadside help you gauge your progress.  At mile 2, the trail winds out of the dense cover of oaks and continues through grassland dotted with a few small elderberry trees.  Wildflowers such as wild radish, mustard, California poppies, and bush mallow, and violets put on quite a show here in March and April.  Look, too, for the fuchsia-slowered gooseberry, quite unmistakable when in bloom.

    Along the way to the falls, there are two creek crossings to the north leading to a parallel trail on the far side of the creek.  You could follow that trail when you return from the falls, but it is not as scenic as the main south-side trail. 

    At the 3-mile marker, the road winds up onto a chaparral slope in order to detour a narrow, rocky section of the canyon.  Near the top there's a wide spot, with racks for securing bikes, and a foot trial descending north to the falls area, constriction in the the bedrock.  At time voluminous cascade of water tumbles through here.  Polished rock 10 feet up on either side testifies to its maximum depth.  By fall, the follow slow to a trickily, and the pools and potholes int he bedrock may be filled with stagnant, odiferous water.  The outcroppings of greenish-gray rock, just in this one small area, are a type called Santiago Peak volcanics; they're typical of the metavolcanic rock on Santiago Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains.  You can retrace your steps from here.

    Description from: A Foot & Field San Diego County: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide, 2011
    • 31 Mar 2017
    • 2:00 PM
    • 02 Apr 2017
    • 12:00 PM
    • Anza Borrego, CA

    Sorry, but this event is now sold out. You can join the waitlist and we will send you an email when additional spaces become available.

    Join waitlist

    Join us for a fun, full weekend of geothermally heated springs and rugged desert hiking!

     With the fantastic location and amenities of Agua Caliente Regional Park, this is an event not to be missed! We’ll be hanging out in a fantastic hot spring oasis surrounded by the beautiful Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and in the early Spring, when we’ll likely see the desert in bloom!

    Three naturally fed pools provide different ways of enjoying the park's mineral water. There are two pools outdoors, and an indoor therapeutic pool with jacuzzi jets that is heated to 102 degrees.  Add to that plenty of showers and restrooms and we’ll hardly be roughing it.



    2:00 Arrive, check-in

    6:00 Welcome Meet & Greet (Bring appetizer to share.  BYOB.) 

    7:06 Sunset 

    7:30 Bonfire


    8:00 Coffee

    9:00 Caravan to Day Hike

    4:00 Return to camp

    5:00-7:30 Pool time, potluck prep

    7:06 Sunset

    7:30 Potluck

    8:30 Bonfire


    8:00 Coffee 

    10:00 Optional Day Hike

    12:00 Campground departure

    *Times are estimated and subject to change without notice.


    Average temperatures for Agua Caliente in early April are in the low 70s during the day and the upper 30s at night. So bring a warm sleeping bag and/or tent buddy. And check the weather forecast before packing.

    Park Details

    The Campsites

     We have reserved 5 campsites and one RV site for the weekend. Each campsite has a maximum capacity of 8 people. Note, however, that per park policy, those 8 people can be in either one big 8-person tent, or two 4-person tents. Bottom line is that the park will only allow 2 tents per site. So we encourage you to have a tent buddy, if not 2 or 3, or 7! The more people who stay in each tent, the more people who can go on the trip. When you register, please let us know how many will be in your tent and who they will be, so we can better determine the max number of people for the trip.  First come, first served.

    We have reserved tent sites 116-117,  120-122, as well as RV site 33.  (The RV site can include a tent in addition to an RV.)  You can see where these are in the Agua Caliente Park Brochure.


    Park policy is one free parking space per campsite.  Extra vehicles are $4.  Maximum of 2 vehicles per site. (RV with tow vehicle is one vehicle.)  Additional parking is available in the park.

    Other Park Rules and Regs

    10:00 pm-8:00 am are quiet hours, per park policy.  Park rules permit alcoholic beverages where the alcoholic content doesn’t exceed 20%. There is a small general store (very limited) near the entrance.  The fee for dogs is $1 per night per dog, (must have current license and vaccinations).  Dogs aren’t allowed on the trails at Agua Caliente Park.

    Getting to Agua Caliente Regional Park

    39555 Great Southern Overland State Route ‘AKA S2’, Julian CA 92036

    • From Ramona through Julian: East on State Highway 78 to Scissors Crossing then south 26 miles on Highway S2 to the park entrance. 
    • From Interstate 8: East on Interstate 8 and exit at Ocotillo, then 22 miles north on Highway S2 to the park entrance.

    Location Map

    GPS Coordinates: N32° 57.023' W116° 18.292'

    Elevation is 1300’ 111 miles from San Diego. Julian is 38 miles West, Borrego Springs 44 miles. Cell reception: 4 mi. N. Vallecito Co. Park. 

    Agua Caliente Packing List: 

    ▪ Phone/Camera, Charger▪ Toothbrush, toothpaste▪ Warm Sleeping Bag, Pillow

    ▪ Shirts▪ Sleeping Pad / Air Mattress▪ Prescriptions/Medications

    ▪ Shorts, pants▪ Sweater / Fleece pullover▪ Ear plugs

    ▪ Sunglasses▪ Tent▪ Headlamp for caves/Flashlight

    ▪ Socks, Underwear▪ Soap / Shampoo▪ Hat

    ▪ Rain Gear▪ Warm jacket▪ Camping Stool / Chair

    ▪ Hiking Shoes▪ Sun block, lip balm▪ Ten essentials

    ▪ Towel for showers ▪ Flip-flops for pools, showers▪ Cooking gear

    ▪ Drinking Water*▪ Any alcoholic beverages▪ Swim suit & towel

    ▪ Firewood**▪ A full tank of gas▪ Water bottle for hikes

    ▪ Food (Fri appetizer and dinner, Sat bkfst, Sat bag lunch, Sat potluck dish, Sun bkfst, Sun bag lunch, snacks)

    *Potable water is available in the park.

    **Firewood can be purchased at the campground to prevent introduction of destructive insects.

    We look forward to seeing you on the trip! 

    • 05 May 2017
    • 2:00 PM
    • 07 May 2017
    • 12:00 PM
    • Lake Isabella, CA

    More details coming soon...

    • 23 Jun 2017
    • 2:00 PM
    • 25 Jun 2017
    • 12:00 PM
    • June Lake, CA

    More details coming soon...

    • 27 Aug 2017
    • 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    • Laguna Beach, CA

    More details coming soon...

    • 01 Sep 2017
    • 2:00 PM
    • 04 Sep 2017
    • 12:00 PM
    • Channel Islands National Park

    More details coming soon...

Past events

29 Jan 2017 Whale Watching
13 Jan 2017 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Campout
31 Dec 2016 New Year's Eve (Cabin Sytle)
30 Sep 2016 Buccaneer Days on Catalina Island - Weekend Campout
18 Sep 2016 StandUp Paddleboarding
11 Sep 2016 End of Summer Hike/BBQ/Pool Party
05 Aug 2016 Horse Heaven (Laguna Mountains) - Weekend Campout
27 May 2016 Lake Edison - Weekend Campout
24 Apr 2016 Day Hike - McGinty Mountain
27 Mar 2016 Bike San Diego Bay
17 Mar 2016 Monthly Bonfire
04 Mar 2016 Agua Caliente - Weekend Campout
28 Feb 2016 Day Hike - Lawson Peak
24 Jan 2016 Whale Watching
15 Jan 2016 Mojave National Preserve - MLK Weekend Campout
14 Nov 2015 Potluck/Sleepover/Hike
04 Sep 2015 Campout - Pinnacles National Park
30 Aug 2015 Day Hike - Big Bend Loop & BBQ
10 Jul 2015 Mount Laguna El Prado Campout
28 Jun 2015 Day Event - Kayaking Mission Bay
10 Apr 2015 Campout - Agua Caliente Fly-in & Camp-out (SOLD OUT)
29 Mar 2015 Day Hike - Blue Angels Peak
16 Jan 2015 Campout - Joshua Tree National Park
07 Dec 2014 Day Hike - Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
23 Nov 2014 Day Hike - Los Penasquitos Canyon - East Approach
26 Oct 2014 Day Hike - Barker Valley
14 Sep 2014 Day Hike - Indian Creek Loop
10 Aug 2014 Day Event - Kayak Adventure
27 Jun 2014 Campout - Catalina Island Adventure
22 Jun 2014 Day Hike - Pyles Peak
10 May 2014 Day Hike - Woodson Mountain - West Approach
13 Apr 2014 Day Hike - Hollenbeck Canyon
04 Apr 2014 Tecate, Mexico Campout 2014
14 Mar 2014 Anza Borrego Wild Flower Tour 2014
17 Jan 2014 Death Valley National Park Campout
17 Nov 2013 Day Hike - North Fortuna Mountain
20 Oct 2013 Day Hike - Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve
11 Oct 2013 California Great Outdoors, Inc. - 35th Annual Conference
18 Aug 2013 Torrey Pines State Reserve
21 Jul 2013 Day Hike - La Jolla Shores to Blacks Beach
16 Jun 2013 Day Hike - Los Penasquitos Canyon
12 May 2013 Day Hike - Santa Rosa Plateau Loop
04 May 2013 Night at Petco Park - San Diego Padres - Saturday, May 4th
31 Mar 2013 Day Hike - Bernardo Mountain
15 Mar 2013 Campout - Anza-Borrego Wild Flower Tour 2013
17 Feb 2013 Day Hike - Iron Mountain
27 Jan 2013 Day Hike - El Capitan
13 Jan 2013 Day Hike - Downtown Organ Pavilion to Star of India
31 Dec 2012 New Year's Eve Sleepover - Julian
25 Nov 2012 Day Hike - Blue Sky Ecological Reserve
28 Oct 2012 Day Hike - South Fortuna Mountain (Mission Trails)
23 Sep 2012 Day Hike - Cuyamaca Peak
25 Aug 2012 Pool Party/BBQ
17 Aug 2012 Santa Rosa Mountains - Yellow Post Camping
10 Jun 2012 Day Hike - Los Penasquitos Canyon - West Approach
19 May 2012 Day Hike - Three Sisters Waterfalls
29 Apr 2012 Day Hike - Lake Cuyamaca
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