Descanso is a small unincorporated town east of San Diego, California of about 2,000 residents. The word "Descanso" is Spanish for "place of rest or tranquility", and this small rural town fits the description. At 3,450 feet, it lies in the foothills of Mount Cuyamaca in the Cleveland National Forest and is sometimes referred to as the gateway to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
Chaparral, oak woods and grassland blanket Descanso’s foothills, and residents relish their quiet atmosphere, clean mountain air and beautiful views of nearby Mount Cuyamaca and other peaks further away. The small town enjoys its rural atmosphere, offering birdwatching tours, farm supplies, a nursery, a quilting store and casual dining. Mountain Empire Unified School District serves Descanso and other areas of San Diego’s East County.
Descanso is situated between I-8 and the Cleveland National Forest to the south, and Cuyamaca State Park to the north. It is almost equidistant between Pine Valley and Alpine; Viejas Resort and Outlet Stores are about 2 miles west.
The community is comprised of many small ranches and newer homes of San Diego commuters. Median home prices are staying fairly constant at $550,000, with single family homes from the high $300,000s, ranging up to $1.5 million.
Horseback riding and hiking are frequent pastimes due to the close proximity to San Diego's back country recreation areas. Camping is close by at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park; and fishing is minutes away at Lake Morena County Park.