Photo Credit: russ
The Cleveland National Forest is the southernmost National Forest in California, and covers an area spanning from the Mexican border in San Diego County in the south 130 miles to the north into Orange and Riverside Counties. The entire park is 460,000 acres, and consists of three different mountain ranges - Santa Ana, Palomar, and Laguna, which are all part of the Peninsular Range extending 800 miles from the Santa Ana Mountains to Baja California. The park was named after President Cleveland.
Much of the ground cover in the mountains is chaparral, although there are areas of large oaks in meadows and pine forests at higher elevations. The mountains show the landscape and terrain which at one time covered the majority of southern California, before all of the urban development. The forest area is a great getaway from the cities of Southern California, and offers plenty of outdoor opportunity for visitors, including camping, hiking, backpacking, picnicking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and photography. Certain areas at higher elevations even get snow. The weather in most areas is Mediterranean; warm and dry with hot summers and mild winters, and most rain in the winter. The well known Pacific Crest Trail runs through parts of the forest as it spans from Mexico to Canada.
Parking in the forest requires display of an Adventure Pass, which can be obtained at Forest Service Offices, visitor centers, and other area businesses. It is $5 per day or $30 per year, and is also valid in the San Bernardino, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests.