William Heise County Park in Julian suffered significantly during the 2003 Cedar Fire, but the damage is mostly evident only on the outer portions of the park, away from the campground. The northeastern end of the park contains three intersecting loop trails – the Canyon Oak Trail, Desert View Trail, and a Self-Guided Nature Trail – where you can witness nature’s recovery. The trails travel through a mix of oak and pine woodland and thick chaparral. The trails are rather steep in sections, but you will be rewarded with some beautiful panoramic views from the “Glen’s View” viewpoint in the middle of the Desert View Trail.
We got an early start on the long drive to Julian and reached the park shortly after they opened. We paid our day use fee at the entrance station, then drove into the campground. We followed the main road through the campground until we found a small parking area on the right labeled “Canyon Oak Trail Parking Day Use” and parked there. The start of the Canyon Oak Trail was just across the road.
Around .4 mile we found a side trail leading off to the left which appeared to lead down towards a group of campsites. Just beyond was another junction where the Canyon Oak Trail formed a loop. Both ends connect with the Desert View Trail, but we chose the left fork as it appeared to be a bit longer, and we were intent on maximizing our adventure.
And in the east was El Cajon Mountain.
At 2.8 miles we came to a “T” junction. This was the Nature Trail, an interpretive loop. Both forks led back to the campground and we could have taken either way back. But once again, we went for what appeared to be the longer route and turned left.
We turned onto the paved road and followed the signs pointing towards the exit to make our way back to our starting point.
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From downtown Julian, head west on Washington Street (CA 78/79). After approximately 1 mile, turn left onto Pine Hills Road. After approximately 1 mile, turn left onto Deer Lake Park Road. Follow Deer Lake Park Road for 2.1 miles, then turn left onto Frisius Drive. Keep right to continue onto Heise Park Road and follow it to the park entrance. map
|Total Distance:||3.25 miles|
|Total Ascent:||900 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
|Facilities:||Water and restrooms located throughout the park|
|Fees/Permits:||$3 day use parking fee|
For more information, visit:
County of San Diego Parks and Recreation – William Heise County Park