In the Cleveland National Forest, this route is the most dramatic approach to Julian—its turns and curves reveal amazing mountain views of the desert from the Salton Sea all the way to Mexico. You can spend an entire day roaming these mountains; an early-morning hike to the top of Garnet Peak (mile marker 27.8) is the best way to catch the view. Springtime wildflower displays are spectacular, particularly along Big Laguna Trail from Laguna Campground. There are picnic
areas along the highway at Desert View and Pioneer Mail. The National Forest Visitor Center, open weekends, holds maps and hiking guides. The Blue Jay Lodge, open weekends, holds a rustic restaurant straight out of a western movie.