Sunrise Hwy (S1)

The Sunrise Hwy (San Diego S1) provides a scenic alternative to Hwy 79 (which is fairly busy and doesn't have a shoulder to speak of). It starts in the North just a few miles South of Julian and ends at the South at Hwy 8. The road follows the rim which marks the boundary between Cleveland National Forest to the West and Anza-Borrego State Park to the East. It's a spectecular scenery. On the one side you pass along the pine forests and open grasslands of the Cleveland National Forest. At the other side the canyons drop thousands of feet to the desert. Now and then you can spot the Great Southern Overland Route of 1849 (S2) in the distance.

From either side the road moderately climbs up to Mt Laguna (1850 m / 6150 feet). There is an unmarked road which leads you to the observatory. This extra climb is worthwhile the effort. There are great views in all directions. You will also find a restaurant and a general store in Mt Laguna.

At the Southern end, you can take Old Hwy 80 through Pine Valley. Once you passed the town centre and the bridge, you can take Pine Creek Rd which gets you back up to Sunrise Hwy (a few miles North of Mt Laguna).

Another interesting alternative for a loop is Boulder Creek Road. It begins in Descanso and you get there by continuing Old Hwy 80. However, only the first five miles are paved, followed by a good graded dirt section until you reach the fire station near Pine Hills. The take a right on paved Engineer Rd which gets you to Hwy 79, just a few minutes short of the intersection with Sunrise Hwy.

North end of Sunrise Hwy at Hwy 79

View over Cuyamaca Lake

Upper Green Valley

View over Cleveland National Forest (East)

View over Anza-Borrego State Park (West)

View over Cleveland National Forest (South)