Among the live oaks in southeastern San Diego County is Cottonwood Campground. The campground offers a tranquil and refreshing experience. Cottonwood Campground is an excellent starting point for day hikes, overnight backpacking trips, and equestrian use. The campground is located in the McCain Valley Resource Conservation Area.A trail out of the campground leads to the Sombrero Peak Area, Upper Bow Willow Canyon, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Pepperwood Trail and Sombrero Peak Trail are both rated moderate to strenuous. The trails are sandy in composition and meander through public, state, and private lands.Elevations range from 3,000 to 4,500 feet. This makes the area an excellent escape from the hot summer temperatures of lower elevations. Most precipitation is received from December through April. Thundershowers are common during July and August. Winter temperatures range from the 50s (F) to below freezing, with occasional snowfalls. Summer temperatures range from 60 to 95 degrees (F).Cottonwood Campground is a year-round facility with 25 developed campsites. Fire rings, tables, and vault toilets are found in the campground. Horses are allowed only in the east loop of Cottonwood Campground. No group camping sites are available. No off highway vehicle (OHV) use is permitted in Cottonwood Campground or on McCain Valley Road.A $6.00 per campsite fee is required for camping at all BLM campsites. All sites are available on a first come first served basis. Except for backpacking, all camping in McCain Valley must be in a designated campsite. A campfire permit may be required. Contact the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for regulations.
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