Mount Laguna Trails Restoration Project

August 2022 Update: 
A major milestone has been reached in the Laguna Mountain Trails Restoration Project.  August 10, 2022 marked the closure of a 30 day scoping period for a categorical exclusion for the project.  Now that the scoping period has closed, we anticipate the approval of the project soon so we can begin an implementation plan.  This project included many trail and infrastructure improvements which will take several years to complete but we hope to begin work on this project in 2023. 

Read the complete Cleveland National Forest Laguna Mountain Trails Restoration Project Document HERE.

Letter of Support submitted by SDMBA with many of our valued partners signing on in support of more and better trails for Mount Laguna


The purpose of the project is to improve recreational infrastructure within the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area of the Descanso Ranger District on the Cleveland National Forest.  This project will improve recreational infrastructure to accommodate the growing demands of the public and reduce recreational impacts on critical natural and cultural resources.  

Some highlights from the Proposed Action include:
  • NEW TRAILS: Construction of 7.96 miles of new trails including alignments from Penny Pines to Pioneer Mail and then on to Lucky 5 on the west side of Sunrise Highway which will include a partnership with Anza Borrego State Park 
  • SANCTIONED Legacy Trail: Approves some currently unsanctioned trails to be brought into the system (such as the Luge Trail on Wooded Hill)
  • REROUTES:  Reroute designated unsustainable alignments out of the meadow or away from other sensitive areas to improve trail user experience and protect resources
  • MTB OPTIMIZED TRAILS: Inclusion of limited mountain bike only trails some of which include features as well as directional signage. 
  • PROTECT: Reduce the overall impacts on critical natural and cultural resources which includes installing boardwalks or bridges or utilizing other techniques to protect surrounding habitat when reroutes are not indicated.
  • NEW SIGNAGE: Design and Install comprehensive trail signage  (thanks to the San Diego Ultra Running Friends for their support of this portion of the project

    Please stay tuned for updates regarding this project as they become available.  

Project Timeline:

July 2016:  Descanso Ranger District Recreation Officer invited to SDMBA Advocacy meeting. 

February 2017: SDMBA approached Descanso Ranger District with an interest in working on improving our beloved Mt. Laguna trail system. 

March 2017-March 2018: several proposal were created, ground-truthed, presented, modified, enhanced, removed and rendered. 

April 2018: $15,000
REI Grant awarded to SDMBA to support this project and help fund planning and necessary studies. 

May 2018: agreement reached on scope and scale of proposed project for Mt. Laguna enhancements between Descanso Ranger District and SDMBA. 

October 2018: Forest Service will start the NEPA review process as we enter the Forest Service's 2019 fiscal year. SDMBA will most likely enter into a formal collection agreement with the Forest Service. This agreement will allow SDMBA to provide the funds to pay for all the USFS staff time relating to this proposal in addition to our existing volunteer agreement and commitment to assist the Forest Service in building these trails once approved. 

2019:  USFS specialists are continuing to work on the NEPA review process. This government staff time is being funded by funds raised by SDMBA supporters at the 2018 Mount Laguna Trail Fest and from a generous REI donation.  

August 2019:  Descanso staff attends SDMBA board meeting to give update of the project.  Everything is progressing according to the plan.  

2020:  projected completion of NEPA review and project proposal approval.  

August 2022: Limited scoping and comment period completed.  Categorical exclusion approval for the project is expected to be finalized soon. 

2023:  Implementation anticipated to begin

We thank the Descanso District staff of the Cleveland National Forest for their enthusiastic support of this project and we also thank our members, donors and sponsors for their support of this effort through events like the Mount Laguna Trail Fest!