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.
The Ramona Grasslands Preserve is located in the Santa Maria Valley, situated between the coastal mesas and the mountains of the Peninsular Ranges in west-central San Diego County.
Mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders are welcome! The Preserve consists of 3,521 acres. Currently, a 480-acre western portion has a four-mile loop trail that welcomes visitors, with additional trails planned.
The Ramona Grasslands Preserve includes a significant section of the remaining undeveloped portion of the Santa Maria Creek watershed. The watershed supports a mosaic of habitat types, including native and non-native grasslands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, Santa Maria Creek, its adjacent riparian area, and a diversity of unique vernal pools, vernal swales, and alkali playas.
Many rare animals make their homes in this area. Stephens' kangaroo rat, fairy shrimp, purple stipa, blue-eyed grass, and woolly blue curls are among the rare inhabitants. Bird watchers are drawn to the grasslands for the spectacular number of hawks that spend their winters here. Santa Maria Creek, which runs through the grasslands, adds to the bio-diversity.
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.