This is our most frequent question and YES your site is private whether you're booking for 2 people or 8 people. Your site is private for your group only and includes besides accommodation; a fire pit, a glamping kitchen, picnic table and parking for 2 vehicles.
Being a public campground, bathroom / shower facilities are communal. There are communal hot water showers and clean flush toilets that are close to your site. The showers are quarter operated and cost $2 for 15 minutes.
Some of our sites are more secluded than others. Lion's Den and Eagles Nest are our two most private sites, if you want total seclusion. All of our other sites are relatively private and we do our best to choose the ideal sites for our glamping set-up. Many factors come into play, especially that we need certain tree configurations for our tree tents.
There will most likely be other campers in surrounding campsites and there is always a camp host on site.
We manage several sites in the Cleveland National Forest - Laguna Campground and Burnt Rancheria Campground. These campground are a communal recreation area and we operate under a concession of USFS.
Our glamping sites are nestled in the high mountain forests of San Diego's backcountry - sky islands where pristine nature & wild-life thrives. These are some of the most remote & biologically diverse habitats in all of Southern California that include many open space preserves, National Forest Lands and State Parks.
Our beautiful San Diego backcountry offers a wide-variety of venues, attractions and activities that would take weeks to fully explore. Everything from apple picking to hiking, water activities, mountain biking, historic tours, shopping, culinary / agri-tourism experiences and much more.
The historic town of Julian, as well as Lake Cuyamaca are within 30 minutes of our glamping sites.
Our Hacienda in Baja is located in San Felipe and we work with various other affiliate destinations along the Baja coastline.
Each of our sites are unique and amazing in their own way. We put a lot of thought into staging and working with the natural landscape, flora and fauna. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing your site, including how close to the bathrooms would you prefer to be, or if you're coming with a larger group. Our 2 most private sites are Lion's Den and Eagles Nest at Burnt Rancheria. Our sites in Burnt Rancheria campground are right next to the PCT and offer a much more secluded experience.
Fox Den and Blue Jay Nest are closest to flush toilets / showers and are located in Laguna Campground. Each site can hold up to 14 people and they are right next to each other and can be booked together. This is ideal for groups of up to 28 people.
Each one of our sites has its special features and atmosphere and much is going to depend on what you're looking for out of the experience. Let us know what you have in mind for your outdoor adventure and we'll help you make it happen
Your glamping kitchen comes fully stocked with the following:
- 5 gallon drinking water dispenser (refilled on site)
- camp shower, dish soap / sponge and bucket (for washing dishes)
- propane stove with two burners
- 17” Blackstone Griddle (grill tools)
- extra propane tanks to last through your stay
- pots, pans, cups, utensils, cutting board, water kettle, kitchen towel and french press
- essential spices, olive oil, coffee, tea, sugar, creamer and hot chocolate
- food storage storage bin
All you really need to bring is your cooler and food /drinks. The Mt Laguna store sells ice if you need, as well as various other items. They close at 5pm.
You can bring a dozen eggs in a bottle container for easy storage for breakfast. We recommend already made pancake batter in a bottle for easy dispensing and a side of bacon for breakfast.
Lunch and dinner can be anything you would want to grill on the griddle... think steak, tacos, veggies, roasted potatoes, etc. We suggest to bring already made sides that you can easily cook on the stove; pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, chili, etc.
The firepit also has a grill top on it, so you have the option of making corn on the cob or baked potatoes. There's also a TON of incredible dessert recipes on Pinterest if you look up camping food hacks ;)
In 2016, the term “glamping” was added to The American Heritage Dictionary with the concept gaining more and more popularity. Glamping, a blend of “glamorous” and “camping,” evolved from African safaris where demanding travelers slept in luxurious canvas tents. Glamping removes camping‘s negative attributes – leaky tents, smelly sleeping bags and improvised food, replaced with pre-set up, homelike accommodations (Boscoboinik & Bourguard, 2011) such as cabins, yurts, tipis, and treehouses. These temporary abodes are often furnished with luxury beds, quality linens, rugs, antique furnishings, and modern, sleek bathrooms.
Over the past few years, “glamping" has evolved as a popular trend & in 2012 the Travel Channel named glamping one of the “Five Hottest Trends in Girl Getaways.” More recently, Forbes Magazine ranked glamping as 2020's hottest travel trend!
Alter Experiences LLC is one of the first glamping destinations in Southern California & we are working had to support the growth of the outdoor hospitality scene in the San Diego Backcountry. We are the first recognized glamping outfitter in the State of California, currently operating out of the Cleveland National Forest | USFS Descanso Ranger District office. Our primary sites are in Mt. Laguna and we also have multiple affiliate locations in the San Diego Backcountry and Baja California.
Much of what we do is also based around sustainable business and responsible travel. Our business model was inspired by tourism trends such as eco-tourism, cultural tourism and nature immersive tourism. We strongly believe that nature therapy and spending time outdoors is an essential part of living a healthy and balanced life. You can read more on this subject at the following links:
We offer various accommodation styles depending on location. These include a combination of tree tent by Tentsile and Bell Tents (not all sites have bell tent / tree tent combo).
Our Tentsile tree tents are definitely the most popular - a lightweight treehouse that uses 3 anchor points to create a "living space" suspended between trees. Your tree tent comes complete with sleeping bag, liner, pad and pillow.
Our Stout Bell Tent was designed with the ultimate comfort in mind! It comes with therapeutic mattress, pillows, linens, comforter, bedside tables, plush carpets & floor pillows & ambient lighting.
Tentsile Tree Tents
Our tree tents consist of a hammock-like product called Tentsile. Tentstile is a remarkable invention - a lightweight, portable treehouse that uses 3 anchor points to create a "living space" suspended between trees. It's durable, safe, comfortable and built to last with 190D and 240D polyester, 2.5 tonne webbing straps, and tear resistant mesh walls. It can withstand up to 880lbs and we have tentsiles that can accommodate up to 3 people. Our double bubble can accommodate a family of 5.
Tentsiles add a whole new dimension to the camping experience and are very popular with kids. They are fun and also safe. We tend to adjust them as low as possible for children to safely play in. No more sleeping on the ground. Your Tentsile comes complete with sleeping pad, sleeping bag & pillow. A lower lounging area with rug is also provided & the Tentsile provides shade. It is our most popular accommodation style and least expensive.
Our versatile & groundbreaking Tentsile Tree Tent is a marvel in design. This comfortable outdoor shelter keeps you elevated above inhospitable terrain, insects, snakes & other creepy crawlies. The Stingray Tree Tent is our flagship three-person model made with a spacious, triple hammock interior that keeps campers separated & comfortable, & a rip-resistant durable micro-mesh that shields you overhead. The tent is accessed via a floor hatch with rope ladder in the center & a large front door. The elegant structure comprises an adjustable frame of 2.5 tonne webbing straps & is enclosed in a PU-coated waterproof polyester fabric fly. The webbing frame is held in tension at each of the three anchor points with ratchets. The micro-mesh material stays surprisingly taut & firm under weight. It can withstand up to 880lbs. The rainfly enclosure guards against the elements—which also forms a shaded are below & wind breaking thermal buffer once pegged to the ground. We have tree tents for couples and single glampers.
Our Stout Bell Tent was designed with the ultimate comfort in mind! It comes with a therapeutic queen mattress, pillows, linens, comforter, bedside tables, plush carpets & floor pillows, ambience lighting, chairs, ottoman & can fit up to 4 people comfortably. Ideal for families. Your glamping site also comes with standard amenities, a plush lounge area & outdoor kitchen. Camping without the hassle! Our glamping retreats are designed to offer the most comfortable outdoor experience possible.
We really set out to create a new standard for outdoor hospitality with our bell tent. It also comes with a safe & portable propane heater that keeps the tent nice and warm even during the coldest nights. The tents are completely snow and rain proof and also have ventilation windows for summer months with bug guard. The canonical shape deflects winds and leaves no place for rain or snow to gather.
Prices will vary depending on location and generally starting at $130 per night for 2 people at Eagles Nest & up to $250 per night at Blue Jay Nest and Fox Den. $35 per additional person per night. Up to $150 cleaning fee.
- Besides accommodation; a fire pit, a glamping kitchen, picnic table and parking for 2 vehicles (overflow area available for more vehicles)
- Chairs around the campfire (wood fires in designated fire pits only when permitted. $6 per bundle)
- Your tree tent comes complete with sleeping bag, liner, pad and pillow.
- First-Aid Kit
- Solar-powered lights
- Outdoor rugs
- Communal hot water showers and flush toilets nearby
Glamping Kitchen Includes:
- 5 gallon drinking water dispenser (refilled on site)
- Camp shower, dish soap / sponge and bucket (for washing dishes)
- Propane stove with two burners
- 17” Blackstone Griddle (grill tools)
- Extra propane tanks to last through your stay
- Pots, pans, cups, utensils, cutting board, water kettle, kitchen towel and french press
- Essential spices, olive oil, coffee, tea, sugar, creamer and hot chocolate
- Food storage storage bin
All you really need to bring is your cooler and food /drinks. The Mt Laguna store sells ice if you need. They close daily at 5.
Depending on which site you're staying at, there are a multitude of activities to choose from in and around the Rancho Cuyamaca State Park & Cleveland National Forest including:
Rancho Cuyamaca State Park / Lake Cuyamaca
- Fishing from shore or small boat
- The Pub at Lake Cuyamaca Restaurant
- Green Valley Waterfalls
- Hiking - Stonewall Peak
Cleveland National Forest - Mount Laguna Recreation Area
- Hiking - Laguna Lake
- Mountain Biking
- Horseback Riding
- Interpretive/Historic Tours
- Pine House Lodge & Tavern
- MATR - Making Adventures to Remember
- Mine tour
- Eateries, wineries, breweries and hard cider
- Apple pie tasting
- Downtown Main Street
- Apple picking (seasonal)
- Silver Saloon
- Frostys Burgers
Summer temps are usually in the 80's during the day and can drop down to 50 at night. It's most certainly the most popular time for us.
You'll probably want to bring some heavy blanket in the winter months from November to February to use on top of your sleeping bag. Temperatures can drop down to the 30's and the weather is on average 10-15 degrees colder due to the altitude. Beanie, gloves, and scarf are a must. Bring your thermals and heavy socks too. You'll be going through a lot more firewood in the winter - up to 6 bundles per night. They only accept cash so have enough on you.
Check the weather forecast before coming. If it's snowing you'll need tire chains and snow clothes. Snow is common here in the winter months so be prepared.
You should also bring your toothbrush/toothpaste. Everything else will be provided including; hand soap, shampoo and conditioner. You'll want to bring a water bottle for hiking and day trips. You'll be able to fill it up with the provided water dispenser.
Make sure to have a full tank of gas. The only gas station in the area is in Julian about 20 minutes away from either campground.
Our site Blue Jay is the best option for handicapped access.
Our bell tents are outfitted with either a queen bed and sofa bed, 2 sofa beds, or two full/single beds depending on where you're staying. Bell tents can sleep up to 4 people in two full beds.
Tree tents can accommodate either 2 people, or 3 people. Our double bubble sleeps a family of up to 5.
Each one of our sites has a different combination of these tent options, which you can refer to in the individual listings page for all the details. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need help planning your stay.
Pets are allowed at the campground and must be on a leash at all times. Pets are not allowed in any tents and you must provide an enclosure for them. We charge $100 pet fee