1175 Horsemill Rd.
El Cajon, CA 92021

Phone: (858) 467-4201.
32.828715, -116.856409

Hike: There are many different trails you can take    Level: Each trail varies in level of difficulty

Dog-Friendly: Yes    Kid-Friendly: Yes


Crestridge Ecological Reserve contains 2600 acres of riding trails, unique architecture by the famed James Hubbell, ancient history dating back thousands of years and many fun, tiny details scattered throughout. Keep your eyes peeled!

This reserve was once a Kumeyaay village, containing three prehistoric archaeological sites. In 1845, Pio Pico, the Mexican governor of California, granted 48,800 acres to Maria Antonia Estudillo de Pedrorena. It was the third-largest land grant in San Diego County. The land was known as El Cajon de San Diego, “the box,” which referred to a pass between two hills. It ultimately became El Cajon, Lakeside, Santee, Bostonia and Flinn Springs.

The reserve was a cattle ranch in the early 20th century. The land was bought just before World War II by water and land developer Ed Fletcher. In 1990, it was set aside as open space for a 92-home project by Gatlin Development. In 1999, The Nature Conservancy purchased the property, and today it is overseen by the state Department of Fish and Game.

While you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Alpine Historical Society nearby!

According to the state Department of Fish & Game, Crestridge is home to the largest known population of Lakeside ceanothus, a rare wild lilac, and provides important habitat for the endangered California gnatcatcher and many native butterflies.

Personal Experience: Hobbit territory for sure. 😛 Walk around and you will see what I’m talking about! There is something very special about this area. Just don’t go in the hot summer because you probably won’t be able to appreciate all the beauty if you’re dying of heat exhaustion. I will explore even further another day because I am definitely intrigued and saw other spots that caught my eye.

crestridge ecological reserveWe found a (swallow?) nest with two deceased baby birds. This completely breaks my heart because I imagine they starved to death. Their mother probably was killed somehow and the poor babies were unable to feed themselves. Here they lay completely preserved in such a comfy position, desperately waiting for mommy to come home. Heartbroken.

There are a lot of ruins here. I was told some are from an old schoohouse:We found a geo cache here by sheer luck! My friend happened to lift a wooden post and there it was! Cool!


4 Reviews

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4 Reviews


  • To Pat (mod)
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Are you able to tell what those ruins used to be and that boulder with the little brick opening by any chance??

    June 13, 2014

  • Pat Vanlue
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I was fortunate enough to grow up in this area. Even as a child I was in awe of the beauty.

    June 13, 2014

  • Anonymous
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    those poor babies

    August 21, 2015

  • Anonymous
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Y’all it’s not scary unless you go there at night. I live right by there, my school is not even a mile. Me and my friends walk there after school sometimes, its pretty neat. But when the sun goes down, that’s when things get scary. Stay away, reader. Stay away from this tunnel when the sun is no longer shining…

    January 28, 2019

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Contact info

1175 Horsemill Rd, El Cajon, CA 92021, USA


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