William Heise County Park in Julian has a number of shorter trails running throughout. We had previously explored the Kelly Ditch Trail, which runs from Heise to Lake Cuyamaca, and several trails on the northern side of the park including the Desert View Trail. That left us with three remaining trails to explore: the Fern Trail, the Potter Loop, and the Cedar Trail. Since all three of these trails connect, we elected to combine them into one larger loop. The result was this moderate 3.2 mile hike with a wonderful variety of scenery.
It’s a long drive to Julian, but the beauty and serenity of William Heise County Park make the trip well worth it (not to mention, PIE). We paid our entrance fee at the kiosk, then left our car in the parking lot just before the kiosk. On the southern end of the lot was a “Trail” sign directing us to the right. We followed the road to the trailhead.
At .9 mile the Fern Trail ended at “T” junction where we met the Kelly Ditch Trail. There was another bench, and another creek crossing just to the right of the junction – another tranquil spot perfect for relaxing to the sound of the burbling creek.
Around 2.55 miles we came to a “T” junction with the Cedar Trail. The full Cedar Trail makes a loop, so you can go either direction and explore, but to accommodate the larger loop we were going for, we turned right.
Around 2.94 miles we came to another “T” junction. You’ve got some options here depending on where exactly you want to end up in the campground. We turned right here, following the signs for the Cabin Loop.
The trail led us to the section of the campgrounds where the cabins were (the aptly named “Cabin Loop.”) From here we walked out to the main campground road and walked back out towards the entrance to our car.
View the full photo gallery
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:||3.2 miles|
|Total Ascent:||800 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|
|Facilities:||Restrooms and water at Park|
|Fees/Permits:||$3 day use fee per vehicle|
For more information, visit:
County of San Diego Parks and Recreation – William Heise County Park
View route or download GPX from CalTopo