Trip to Lucky 5 Ranch, near Julian, CA

Yesterday I drove to this place about six miles south of Julian, CA, a small, touristy, mountain town east of San Diego. Owned by the Nature Conservancy, the ranch abuts Anza-Borrega Desert Park, but this area is not desert. On the way, I drove through at least four Indian Reservations on Highway 76. California has more Native American residents than any other state.

This is Lake Henshaw on Highway 76 on the way to Julian. It is so full now that tops of trees stick out of the water. People told me that last year it was more like a big puddle.

The three mile hike was not long but quite strenuous as we climbed approximately 800 – 1000 ft. in altitude on the hike.

Lots of wild flowers everywhere due to abundant rain this year. We had to find parts of the trail because it had not been used since before Covid and was overgrown.

Views of Lake Cuyamaca which we could see in the distance as we climbed up and down.

The manzanita are in full bloom and luxurious this year. There were other flower the names none of us knew.


We kept climbing up steep slopes higher and higher. The climb was more difficult because lots of loose, little rocks and gravel in many places.

Where we ate lunch at the top which is slightly over a mile high. There are these dead, bleached out branches everywhere, the result of a big fire in 2003 which killed a lot of plants and some of it has never recovered.

Lunch up high among the rocks.

A different type of yucca than grows everywhere in the many other places where I have previously lived.

On the way down from the top. Everything is still quite green here and there were storm clouds in the distance.

Some people call this California lilac. It grows everywhere here and is in full bloom glory.