Alpine forest
overlooking the desert

Laguna Mountains

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Why locals love it

This is a favorite among locals because it's a fantastic escape from the city, and only an hour away. The climate and terrain is drastically different from lowland San Diego, having more similarities with the alpine environments in the Sierra Mountains. In the winter it even snows. There are plenty of campgrounds and great trails to hike.

Why you should visit it

Visits are free. One of the most incredible sights to see is the view as the mountains rapidly descend 2000 meters into the vast Anza-Borrego Desert below. Behind you it could be snowing in the alpine forest, but deep below, the desert is likely in the warm mid to upper 20s. It's a perfect example of the geographic diversity that is San Diego.

Special tip

Take a short hike from the campgrounds to the Laguna Lakes that rest in the middle of a picturesque meadow. Overnight camping requires fees.

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