Descanso, California

Descanso, California
—  Unincorporated community  —
Descanso is located in California
Location within the state of California
Coordinates: 32°51′10″N 116°36′57″W / 32.85278°N 116.61583°W / 32.85278; -116.61583Coordinates: 32°51′10″N 116°36′57″W / 32.85278°N 116.61583°W / 32.85278; -116.61583
Country  United States
State  California
County San Diego
 - Total 19.216 sq mi (49.768 km2)
 - Land 19.216 sq mi (49.768 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[2] 3,573 ft (1,089 m)
Population (2010)
 - Total 1,423
 - Density 74.1/sq mi (28.6/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 91916
Area code(s) 619
FIPS code
GNIS feature ID 2582992
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Descanso, California

Descanso (Diegueno: Wataay[3]) is a small census-designated place in the Mountain Empire area of southeastern San Diego County, California and part of California's 52nd congressional district. Descanso is located east of Alpine and west of Pine Valley. The population was 1,423 at the 2010 census.

The community's name is a Spanish word meaning a place of rest. At a 3,450 feet (1,050 m) elevation, it is located at the south entrance to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and also borders Cleveland National Forest to the west and east.

The area was heavily threatened by the 2003 Cedar Fire. The community consists of many small ranches and newer homes of San Diego commuters. Horseback riding and hiking are frequent pastimes due to the proximity to San Diego's back-country recreation areas. It is approximately a 50-minute commute from downtown San Diego.

The Descanso Fire Station of the United States Forest Service is home to the Laguna Hotshots. Descanso is home to many firefighters, and many local teenagers join either the Forest Service or the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (which also provides direct fire and EMS protection to the community).

Descanso is a small community where the majority of residences generally commute to San Diego as the local job market is limited, the only local employers being the various fire protection agencies listed above as well as the Descanso Junction restaurant, The Perkins Store and Deli, a handful of small convenience and gift shops, Factory Built Homes of Southern California (a local contractor) a feed store, grandpas nursery, and finally the local U.S. Post Office.

The ZIP Code is 91916 and the community is inside area code 619.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 19.2 square miles (49.8 km²), all of it land.


The 2010 United States Census[4] reported that Descanso had a population of 1,423. The population density was 74.1 people per square mile (28.6/km²). The racial makeup of Descanso was 1,290 (90.7%) White, 5 (0.4%) African American, 29 (2.0%) Native American, 16 (1.1%) Asian, 9 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 46 (3.2%) from other races, and 28 (2.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 150 persons (10.5%).

The Census reported that 1,423 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 585 households, out of which 152 (26.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 326 (55.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 44 (7.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 27 (4.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 33 (5.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 7 (1.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 140 households (23.9%) were made up of individuals and 54 (9.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43. There were 397 families (67.9% of all households); the average family size was 2.82.

The population was spread out with 256 people (18.0%) under the age of 18, 108 people (7.6%) aged 18 to 24, 260 people (18.3%) aged 25 to 44, 604 people (42.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 195 people (13.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49.0 years. For every 100 females there were 101.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males.

There were 696 housing units at an average density of 36.2 per square mile (14.0/km²), of which 440 (75.2%) were owner-occupied, and 145 (24.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.4%. 1,086 people (76.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 337 people (23.7%) lived in rental housing units.


Pilots are recommended not to fly low over the town or risk a lawsuit. Especially if you are found "Dive-Twirling". Owners of jet aircraft and other very loud "obnoxious" sounding airplanes that "rev" their engines, are also encouraged, NOT TO GO NEAR this town.

Local attractions

Local attractions include

Local churches


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Descanso, California
  3. ^ Ted Couro and Christina Hutcheson (1973), Dictionary of Mesa Grande Diegueño, Malki Museum Press, Morongo Indian Reservation, Banning, California 
  4. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.

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