Vallecito County Park is one of my favorite campgrounds since it was the first place I camped in my van. The park is located at an old pony express stagecoach stopover along State Route-2. The history of the park is very interesting and is worth learning about. There are also a few hiking trails and hot springs in the area you can explore.
Vallecito County Park is a hidden jewel in the desert that most van lifers who love solitude will enjoy. This desert campground is never crowded and has a unique history. The park is 71 acres and is built on the site of an old Pony Express stagecoach stop. Within the park, there is a reconstruction of the historic Butterfield Stage Station that you can explore.
Vallecito has been a campsite for literally hundreds of years, beginning first with the native Kumeyaay Indians. Vallecito is a quiet alternative to some of the busier desert campgrounds in the area.
Butterfield Stagecoach Station
The Butterfield Stagecoach Station is a recreation of a poney express station that was located here in the late 1800s. Several displays tell the history of the area and the station. There’s also a small cemetery at the campground from the Pony Express days and the caretakers of the station.
There are 44 primitive campsites at Vallecito with tables, fire rings, and barbecue stoves, as well as eight equestrian campsites with corrals. Water is available at scattered locations throughout the campground.
A youth area offers additional camping possibilities. Picnickers will want to make use of a large covered picnic area. Pets are allowed, so feel free to bring your four-legged family members.
The park has basic facilities including restrooms, a trash receptacle, water, showers, and a picnic area. There is also an area to play horseshoes and Cornhole.
There are 8 campsites that offer equestrian horse corrals. They are located at the northern end of the campground. I believe this area also has its own park entrance for horse trailers.
Agua Caliente Park
The more popular Agua Caliente Regional Park is four miles south on State Route-2 and is located in the nearby Anza-Borrego County State Park. This park has three spring-fed pools that you can enjoy for a $3 daily fee. It’s worth visiting this park if only for a few hours.
- Website: Agua Caliente County Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
A few miles away down the road is the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The park offers a variety of adventures from camping, off-roading, hiking, and exploring.
It’s a privilege to have Vallecito County Park for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.
- 37349 Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, Julian, CA 92036
- Parking: Daily Fee $3
References and Links:
- Website: Vallecito County Park
- Website: Campground Reservations
- Brocure: Vallecito County Park Brocure
- Park Phone Number: (760) 765-1188
- Camping Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days per week Camping check-in time is 2 p.m., check-out time is 12 p.m.
- Park Reservations: (858) 565-3600, (877) 565-3600
- Day-use Hours: 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., extended to sunset on the weekends
Open Labor Day weekend through the last week in May. Closed during the summer months.