At this park, you will find a picnic ground, as well as a special memorial to 11 men who lost their lives when fighting a ... More
Inaja Memorial Park/Picnic Area
At this park, you will find a picnic ground, as well as a special memorial to 11 men who lost their lives when fighting a forest fire in Cleveland National Forest in 1956. Stop for a picnic lunch at the park, then walk along the one-half mile trail. Brochures are available at the head of the trail and offer details on native plants of the area as well as forest safety.
I remember discovering Inaja on a solo bike trip from San Diego to Phoenix across the desert in 1995. With all my camping gear on my bike, I was running out of daylight as I cycled up the mountains towards Julian. I rode past Inaja, then a few moments later, decided to call it quits and return to this "rest stop park" and set up my tent there in the dark. It is not a campsite, but given the situation, I carefully placed my small tent towards the back of the rest stop area and was out like a light. Only Owls and other critter noises to serenade me.
When I woke up, I did a little hike around the boulders and enjoyed the expansive view down to the valley, it was amazing. Early in the morning it was serene, peaceful, and, green! On my exit I read the plaque honouring the 5 brave firefighters that died in this area. I remember them to this day in my prayers, although I don't know who they are, only that wild fires are a growing problem and those that do this work are brave people.
This is a special place I will never forget, ideal for a picnic, a stroll, possibly a longer hike up in the woods as the transition goes from dry desert to pine forest. And then I continued my cycle, making it up to Julian just in time for a late breakfast, and, then a monster downhill on the other side to the Anza Borego desert. I returned with my girlfriend a few years later, and, stayed in a nice B&B in Julian, but we stopped off at Inaja once more for a few minutes.
Inaja 5, thankyou for providing safe accomodations when I had no idea where I would stay along the roadside darkness.
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