The Cleveland National Forest is the southern-most National Forest in California. Consisting of 460,000 acres, the forest offers a wide variety of terrains and recreational opportunities.
Until the arrival in San Diego of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the lands now within the Cleveland National Forest were known only to the desert and coastal Indian tribes who used them. The Kumeyaay, Luiseños, Cahuilla and Cupeño found a good living on the abundant acorns and game. Many of our trails today follow those routes first used by these early dwellers.
The Cleveland National Forest has many great trails, good for all levels of physical activity and experience.
There are currently few locations to fish on the Cleveland. Many areas that do have fish are closely monitored to expand fish populations and encourage natural migration and breeding. As fish populations reach more sustainable numbers, the Cleveland may once again offer fishing options.
Fishing on the Cleveland National Forest is regulated by the CA Dept of Fish and Game. A current valid California fishing license is required for all anglers over 16 years of age. Many of these can be purchased at your local sports and outdoors store.
The Cleveland National Forest has many great hiking trails, good for all levels of physical activity and hiking experience. It is recommended that you assess your physical fitness level before beginning any new hike or contact the local ranger station for any questions on hike suitability.
Horse Riding & Camping
The Cleveland has many options for the recreational equestrian user.
Camping & Cabins
You may camp a maximum of 14 days out of every 30 on the Forest.
All 3 Ranger districts offer remote camping, also known as “dispersed camping”, where camping outside of developed campgrounds is an option. Please note: wood or charcoal fires are never allowed outside of developed campgrounds or picnic sites on the Cleveland National Forest, but portable stoves or lanterns that use gas, kerosene, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are permitted unless elevated fire conditions prohibit their use in identified locations.
Hunting is a seasonal activity, and the rules are simple: Follow the state laws and regulations pertaining to hunting, including seasons, dates and licensing. Forests and grasslands may place some areas as off limits to hunting. So check in with your local Forest Service ranger to be sure you are following all the rules.
The Cleveland National Forest offers a assortment of picnicking opportunities for all. Many sites are accessible to persons with disabilities.
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