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May’s Rock Ranch

· Jamul, California
40 acres hosted by Ben M.
1 lodging site
All to yourself
100% of recent Hipcampers say this Hipcamp felt private.
Ben is a Star Host
Star Hosts are highly rated, responsive, and committed to providing incredible experiences.
Come see the vast, open country of San Diego County's Deerhorn Valley with bucolic views of rocky hillsides and low valleys, shaded by giant oak trees and even the ocean on a clear day. The camp is about 40 acres and spans from the creek on Honey Springs Road, all the way to the top of the rocky hillside. There are restaurants, wineries, hiking trails and more, all within 15 minutes from the ranch. This place is truly my passion and I welcome all respectful campers! (Respectful means no loud partying, leaving trash, ruining things, making giant messes, loads of dog poop, etc... it needs to be said because some people do things like this) Access: The driveway is steep, loose gravel and costly to maintain. Please ensure that all vehicles that you want at the cabin are All Wheel Drive. Additional parking is available in a small dirt lot before the first hairpin turn. You'll see a small sign indicating the lot. Cabin: 270sf studio cabin, built from nearly all repurposed materials. There are three memory foam beds, one queen and two twins. Generally, I have mattress protectors and one sheet since the large majority of guests use their own sleeping bags. Full size pillows are available as well. A double tent cot is available as well, stored under the bunk beds. Water: The property does harvest rainwater for showering, washing and rinsing but not for drinking. Shower on site is a rain barrel that flows through a coiled black hose to heat in the sun then through a garden sprayer. It works well on a warm day. Solar Power: The cabin has 200 amp hours of lithium iron phosphate available through an 800w inverter then linked to standard AC outlets and USB. This means it can power small appliances and basically anything rechargeable. NO coffee pots, electric griddles or electric heaters. Toilet: It's a composting toilet in a private bathroom. PLEASE read the instructions. The sink has running water for washing your hands, not for drinking. Pets: Always welcome but, it should go without saying, be responsible. Neighbors have found random dogs in their yard from guests. Also, there is no poop ferry. Hiking Trail: You'll notice a hiking trailhead at the camp. Mainly, it's an access trail for the rock climbing but is very enjoyable for a quick stroll through the hillside, depending on how far you want to go. It gets very steep in places and can be hard to follow as it's a work in progress. That said, have fun exploring the land. If you're looking for a better hiking option, Hollenbeck Canyon is right there at SR94 and Honey Springs Road. Word of Caution: Talk to the kiddos ahead of time to avoid issues. I have a lot of building materials and heavy items that could cause injury. There is a big bulldozer as well that's cool to look at and sit on but also could cause injury if not careful. All I ask is that things are left as they were found and to be careful. Other than that, go have a blast. Climbing: (By rock climbing at this venue, you agree that you assume all liability and accept any risks as your responsibility.) Dating back to the early 1970's, this little slice of climbing paradise has attracted strong rock climbers from around the San Diego area for decades. The pioneer of North Deerhorn Valley was a strongman named Ray Olson; a larger than life personality who's passion for the rock craft lead to the development of this area with help from like-minded go-getters and brush-breakers. It's a massive amount of work. San Diego brush is a force not to be taken lightly. Ray and crew established dozens of all-star climbs, perched up in the rocky hillsides of this peaceful valley, using only the rudimentary climbing gear available at those times. For years, they were the kings of their own land. That is, until, it was purchased. The new owner was less than hospitable to visitors of any kind and, just like that, the good times at the local crag were gone. Ray move on and sought out adventure elsewhere and North Deerhorn faded in their minds as the brush reclaimed the trails they hiked so many times before. North Deerhorn was forgotten... perhaps a nostalgic mention here and there on Supertopo. Fast forward to 2020. Covid. The world in utter chaos. Civility at the brink of irreversible damage. My wife and I are sitting on the couch one evening, like everyone else, feeling restless and cooped up. I mentioned to her that I really wanted to go camping. Gleefully, she told me that a friend of hers just returned from a camping trip somewhere locally. When she looked it up, my wife showed me photos on her phone of the area and said, "Hey there are big rocks there." Instinctively, I grabbed her phone and and flicked through the photos. I knew exactly where this was. It was North Deerhorn. The following weekend, we booked two nights there with the dogs. Any words I write here will never fully explain my feeling when we pulled up and I saw all the towering formations and giant boulders... it was a lifetime of climbing, just on this one hillside. I was in paradise. I was in Ray's paradise, fifty years later. Over the next several months I actually became good friends with the now owner of the area, Brian. He purchased the land a couple years back for the family outings and for campers who love the beauty of such a dramatic landscape. I could best describe the camp as a Joshua Tree group site. The next couple years, Brian had I built a small studio cabin while I replaced the hundreds of bolts with new stainless steel. I also broke a new trail, touring all of the major formations. Climbing friends would help when and where they could and when it was climbing season... we went on a rampage. So many new lines established and boulders added to the lineup. It seemed never ending. Like on Christmas morning, we would peal back the brush and open our new toy, weather it be a boulder problem or a possible start to a new rock climb. It really is a dream come true. Ben Ray, I wish you could see the good you’ve done. RIP. Final remarks: I have poured myself into this project. It's not a money-maker in any way, shape or form. Quite the contrary. Any payment I get from these bookings goes right back into the camp and the climbing. I want to share this place with those who similarly have a deep respect for the unrivaled beauty and the way it can quiet our minds.
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Jamul, California, United StatesTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Ben M.Joined in May 2020
Response rate: 100%Response time: Within an hour
22 ratings · 19 reviews
Melissa M.recommends
September 4, 2023
Hidden gem!!
This is such an awesome spot!!! You can tell a lot of thought has been put into making this an outdoors/climbers paradise. As architects/designers we really appreciated the design and repurposed materials used throughout the site with special touches like climbers socks. It is immensely comfortable and has pretty much every amenity you could hope for while still being away from distractions. Bathroom and shower were easy to use, kitchen sink was very convenient to have, the beds were really comfortable, a few sitting areas made it easy to adjust our hang out spot as the day progressed and afternoons got warmer. Plus finding the fun hidden swing was a neat surprise! But the real treat is a cave that Ben built another sleeping area in!! We even used it when it got pretty hot to get cool and keep away from bugs, at night it still felt nice and warm and the covered cots made us feel so secure when we slept. The viewing platform there was such a treat too. Our dogs absolutely loved exploring and playing at the site as well. A tip: bring your projector! We projected a movie on the rock adjacent to the cabaña and it was the perfect ending to our last night there. We are already planning our next trip back!!!
Amber L.recommends
August 27, 2023
What an excellent trip! My family came here to explore San Diego and climb, both of which were great! Ben is a great communicator and very helpful. The cabin was nice and small, perfect for our minimal needs. Lastly, the view and seclusion was perfect. Thanks for a great time!
James C.recommends
August 7, 2023
The whole place is amazing!
Ben and his campsite are something special, I would give this place a 6/5 star rating if I could. Ben is top notch and wants to do everything he can to make sure your trip is special. He texted me ahead of my trip to make sure I had all the instructions and he had plenty of extra stuff on hand at the campsite if we forgot something. Ben's passion for this project really shows and we enjoyed everything. We went on Aug4-6th and the weather was perfect. I'm already planning on my return trip! Thanks for everything Ben you are the best!
Kiana M.recommends
June 18, 2023
Wonderful experience
This place is truly awesome. Very cool to see the passion Ben has for the property and the inventive projects and additions. The scenery and surrounding rocks are beautiful and even better enjoyed if you’re a climber. Thank you for sharing your masterpiece with us!
Lily L.recommends
May 30, 2023
We loved every minute of our time here. The cabin had everything we needed. We had a fun time exploring the grounds along with our older pup. Will definitely be back.
Sandy S.recommends
May 15, 2023
Stress-free stay
Lovely stay and great developments since I was last there. They added a lovely little cabin with a queen and single style bunkbed, a table (inside and out), a sink with running water, and an outdoor cushioned lounge area which made packing for the stay super easy. Just bring food, drinking water, and your sleeping bag and you're set! Scenery and privacy are always the best and we enjoyed a nice hike on the trail on site. Many other places to climb if you're into that and lots of areas to hang out including a hammock spot. The details that have been put into this place like the enclosed fire pit and the outdoor lights, did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. The owner was also very responsive and friendly. Overall lovely experience and will return. Thank you for sharing such a lovely spot.
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