Writing Retreats

image of mt. laguna desert view picnic area


“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” - Lorraine Hansberry

Join us for a day in the Laguna mountains where quietude and nature's beauty will inspire you to think, read, and write. The Desert View Picnic Area provides socially distant picnic tables and hiking trails along with sunshine and shade. 
Each picnic table also has a firepit, so feel free to invite your household to join you at the end of the day for a campfire (firewood available at the Laguna Mountain Lodge and Store just a few blocks away). There are 17 sites sitting at an elevation of 5,900 feet. Amenities include drinking water, flush toilets, handicapped accessible features and immediate access to the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail - a horse and foot trail.
Cell service is limited but we have successfully attended Zoom meetings from some sites, so don't let that deter you!

Spring 2021 Retreat Dates:

No registration required. The CEE team will be onsite during each retreat to answer questions, buy your parking pass, or just wave and welcome you. :)



As the day will be spent entirely outdoors, we recommend bringing:
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Water and nourishment
  • Camp chair or beach chair in case you want to sit directly under a tree
  • Comfortable & weather-appropriate attire and shoes that provide traction
  • A towel or cushion to sit on the wood picnic bench
  • Laptop, book, stack of things to grade, or whatever it is you want to ponder

The Desert View Picnic Area does require an Adventure Pass to park a vehicle. If you aren't planning to stay overnight, the CEE will purchase your day pass for you. Or, you can purchase a pass (for multiple uses & to support your local forest!) from the Laguna Mountain Lodge and Store, another local Adventure Pass vendor, or purchase directly online at https://www.recreation.gov/. An America the Beautiful pass (National Park Pass) is also valid (display pass on your vehicle dashboard).

Directions: Located off exit 47 on the I-8, 10.2 miles up Sunrise Highway in the Laguna Mountain area. You can also enter your starting location on this Google Map or Mapquest. Or enter "Desert View Picnic Site" into your preferred GPS. If your search returns that Desert View Picnic Site is permanently closed, please disregard this message. The information has not been updated since the site reopened.  


**If there are any barriers that prevent you from participating in this program (cost, accessibility, etc.) please email us at cee@sandiego.edu and we will work together to find a solution.