Located southwest of the unincorporated township of Ramona, west of State Route 67, north of Highland Rd. and east and west of Rangeland Rd; trail head and staging area are on Highland Valley Rd., just east of Archie Moore Rd.
Hours: 8 a.m. – sunset, daily
Pedestrian access is available from sunrise to sunset, daily. No public vehicle access or restroom availability on December 25.
Ramona Grasslands County Preserve sits in the Santa Maria Valley
between scenic coastal mesas and the rocky outcrops of the peninsula
mountain ranges. Hikers, cyclists and equestrians alike can explore
this 3,521-acre preserve, however, not all acreage is open to the
public; some land is closed to protect sensitive resources along with
the natural beauty of the area. Visit on your own or attend a
docent-led interpretive excursions – both lead to open breathtaking
The preserve contains a significant section of Santa Maria Creek– supporting a mosaic of sensitive habitats including grasslands, wetlands, vernal pools, coastal sage scrub and oak woodlands, along with hundreds of unique plant and animal species. In fact, there are 408 plant species on site and 16 of them are considered special-status species – most notably San Diego thornmint (Federally Threatened/State Endangered) and spreading navarretia (Federally Threatened). This biologically diverse preserve also supports 23 butterfly species, 21 reptile species, six types of amphibians, 37 mammals, and over a hundred types of birds.
If you’re lucky, scout a mountain lion, bobcat or long-tailed weasel. You might even come face-to-face with more common locals like coyotes, raccoons and skunks. Golden eagles nest on cliff ledges or trees on steep slopes and forage in grasslands, sage scrub, or broken chaparral.
The County and The Nature Conservancy, a major partner in establishing the preserve, have developed a Resource Management Plan including Area Specific Management Directives for the Preserve. The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation is currently managing the Preserve, which provides guidance to maintain, enhance, and monitor the conservation values of biological resources within the Preserve.
The goal of the Resource Management Plan is to balance the preservation of the natural biological and cultural resources in the Preserve with the management strategies of the Draft North County Multiple Species Conservation Program. The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to provide passive recreation opportunities within the Preserve that further the development of the Coast to Crest Trail.