Ramona Grasslands Preserve


ThomBros: 1151-H7
Located southwest of the unincorporated township of Ramona, west of State Route 67, north of Highland Rd. and east and west of Rangeland Rd; trail head and staging area are on Highland Valley Rd., just east of Archie Moore Rd.

Hours: 8 a.m. - sunset, daily
Pedestrian access available sunrise to sunset daily, no public vehicle access or restroom availability on December 25.

Park Phone: (760) 788-3326

Get park updates and check for closures on our  News Page

Location Map


  • Multi-Use Trail (staging area on Highland Valley Rd., just east of Archie Moore Rd.)
  • Staging Area Accommodates Cars and Horse Trailers
  • Shaded Picnic Tables
  • Mountain Bikers, Hikers, & Horseback Friendly

The Ramona Grasslands Preserve is located in the Santa Maria Valley, situated between the coastal mesas and the mountains of the Peninsular Ranges in west-central San Diego County.  About two-thirds of what was once an extensive grassland ecosystem in the Valley has been lost to development.  The Santa Maria Valley’s remaining grasslands are largely intact, though fragmented by roads and subjected to edge effects by adjacent residential and infrastructure development. 

The preserve is 3,490 acres. Currently, a 480-acre western portion has a four-mile loop trail that allows public access. Mountain bikers, hiker and horseback riders are welcome. The rest of the preserve is not yet open to the public, but additional trails are planned.

The Ramona Grasslands Preserve includes a significant portion of the remaining undeveloped portion of the Santa Maria Creek watershed. The watershed supports a mosaic of habitat types, including native and non-native grasslands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands, Santa Maria Creek, its adjacent riparian area, and a diversity of unique vernal pools, vernal swales, and alkali playas.  Many rare animals make their homes in this area. Stephens' kangaroo rat, fairy shrimp, purple stipa, blue-eyed grass, and wooley blue curls are among the rare inhabitants. Bird watchers are drawn to the grasslands for the spectacular number of hawks that spend the winter here. Santa Maria Creek, which runs through the grasslands, adds to the bio-diversity.

The County and The Nature Conservancy, a major partner in establishing the preserve, have developed a Resource Management Plan (RMP) including Area Specific Management Directives (ASMDs) for the Preserve.  The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is currently managing the Preserve in accordance with the RMP which provides guidance to maintain, enhance, and monitor the conservation values of biological resources within the Preserve.  The goal of the RMP is to balance the preservation of the natural biological and cultural resources in the Preserve and to be in line with the management strategies of the Draft North County Multiple Species Conservation Program. In addition, DPR is committed to provide passive recreation opportunities within the Preserve that further the development of the Coast to Crest Trail.

For information regarding the Resource Management Plan, please click here.


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