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Located just over ten miles northeast of San Diego and half an hour from the Cleveland National Forest, Mission Trails Regional Park offers keen coastal visitors and mountain adventurers equal opportunities for excitement. Largely untouched, this scenic expanse looks much the same as it did prior to the arrival of the Cabrillo in the 16th century. With 7,220 acres of rugged wilderness and developed areas, the park offers a wide variety of activities to enjoy.
The park's modern campground also has plenty of room to accommodate your RV. No rig? No problem. You'll find a range of affordable RV rentals in San Diego County to suit your style and budget. La Mesa is a convenient place to rent an RV near Mission Trails Regional Park, since it's located just five miles down the road.
Hikers will be spoiled for choice and scenic views at Mission Trails, with over 60 miles of trails to explore. You can take several different routes to Cowles Mountain, the highest point in the park at an epic 1,592 feet of elevation. Many of the park's hiking trails are rated difficult, but if you're looking for an easy walk, stick to the Mission Gorge unit. Free nature walks also allow you to learn more about the plants and animals that call this lush landscape home.
Complete with corrals and picnic areas, The East Fortuna Staging Area is a great starting point for Mission Trails Regional Park campers looking to do some exploring on horseback. You'll also find the trailheads for some of the park's most popular mountain biking routes here.
Once you've covered some ground, relax down by Lake Murray. This reservoir is open for fishing and welcomes private boats. Rental facilities are available for those without their own watercraft, and you can even pick up a fishing license right on-site if you don't already have one. Try your luck reeling in bass, trout, crappie, channel catfish, or bluegill.
This only scratches the surface of the recreational activities available at this popular park. Start your Mission Trails Regional Park camping trip at the visitors' center to learn more about the park's activities and natural history. Plus, you'll get a sneak peek of the park's spectacular scenery.
Mission Trails Regional Park's Kumeyaay Lake Campground has 46 campsites that are open for tent and RV camping on Friday and Saturday nights only. For the remainder of the week, the campground is open for day-use visitors who want to enjoy the picnic sites and facilities.
Some sites are designated for tent campers only, while others can accommodate trailers and motorhome rentals up to 43 feet long. Although hookups and a dump station aren't available here, generator use is permitted from mid-September to March. Campers will enjoy easy access to showers and restrooms, as well as grills in the amphitheater. Fires and grills aren't allowed at the campground.
When you've wrapped up your Mission Trails State Park camping trip, you'll find no shortage of things to do, see, and experience either side of the U.S.-Mexican border. The serene natural areas throughout Southern California attract thousands of urbanites seeking a quiet refuge from the noise of city life. As a result, the primary activities in the area include outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking, and visits to the coast nearby. Cleveland National Forest, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Cabrillo National Monument are all within easy reach if you'd like to explore some more of SoCal's breathtaking scenery.
If you'd rather spend some time in the big city, make the short drive to downtown San Diego. Balboa Park's hiking trails will delight nature lovers, while history buffs will want to explore the park's museums. Beach bums will want to make a beeline for any of San Diego's postcard-perfect shores, although La Jolla Cove's turquoise waters and rocky shoreline make it a truly special destination.
Home to more than 3,500 animals from all over the world, San Diego Zoo will be a big hit with the kids. Why not make a day of it and explore San Diego Zoo Safari Park, too? Here, you can get up close and personal with giraffes, kangaroos, and a variety of colorful birds. The kids can also let loose in the playground.
It goes without saying that you'll find just about you could need or want in terms of shopping and dining in San Diego. Once you're road-ready, head south of the park to I-8, which leads west into La Mesa and east toward Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.