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Highway 79 Road Trip

7 Wild Mountain Adventures

A road trip along Highway 79 is an awesome way to explore San Diego's charming mountain communities, complete with animal encounters, waterfalls, epic views and gold!

1. Children's Nature Retreat

Where: 5178 Japatul Spur, Alpine, CA 91901
Develop a sense of wonder for nature and its inhabitants as you view more than 130 domesticated livestock and exotic animals that roam the Children Nature Retreat's 20 acres. The interactive animal encounters help everyone foster an appreciation for animals, nature and the ecosystem.

2. Lions, Tigers & Bears

Where: 24402 Martin Way, Alpine, CA 91901
For a roaring good time, Lions, Tigers & Bears is a non-profit rescue facility dedicated to providing a safe haven for abandoned and unwanted animals, including exotic big cats, wild bears and more. The animal reserve allows animals to live out their lives in a safe and caring environment while also educating the public about some of nature's most magnificent wildlife.

3. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Rustic Cuyamaca Rancho State Park features more than 100 miles of hiking trails, with campgrounds and picnic sites nestled among meadows, woodlands, creeks and rivers. The park’s picturesque Green Valley campground offers pristine pools and waterfalls to play and swim during the summer, and Paso Picacho campground features mountain hikes up the Stonewall and Cuyamaca Peaks.

4. Lake Cuyamaca

The 110-acre Lake Cuyamaca is one of San Diego’s most scenic reservoirs and offers unique fishing opportunities including year-round trout. On land, walk underneath shady Jeffrey pines and black oaks along a trail with lakefront views. After a day of fishing or some hiking, stop by the waterfront restaurant to fuel up for the rest of the road trip.

5. California Wolf Center

Where: 470 K Q Ranch Rd, Julian, CA 92036
The California Wolf Center, a non-profit wildlife education center dedicated to increasing public awareness and understanding of the history, biology and behavior of the gray wolf, offers a thrilling opportunity to view highly endangered Mexican gray wolves and a pack of Alaskan gray wolves up close.

6. Julian

The quaint mountain town of Julian, founded during the gold rush of 1869, is famous for mouth-watering apple pies, cider from local orchards, and a charming Main Street of Victorian and Old West architecture, housing handicraft and antique shops, a general store, country-style restaurants and bakeries. There’s also gold panning at the Eagle and High Peak Gold Mines, wine tasting at Menghini Winery and David Lewis’ fascinating Historical Tours of Julian.

7. Eagle Rock

The hamlet of Warner Springs features Sky Sailing, a world leader in the sport of soaring, offering thrilling sailplane and glider rides, and the aptly-named natural wonder called Eagle Rock.

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Explore San Diego's epic roadways along with the best places for visitors to stop along the way and live out their SoCal road trip dreams.

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