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Rancho Santa Fe Neighborhood Guide: Rancho Cielo

Cielo Village Sign

Cielo is a gated, master-planned development that is part of the Rancho Santa Fe community. It is east of The Covenant and bordered on the south and east by Del Dios Highway. Known as Cielo, Rancho Cielo, Rancho Cielo Estates and Cielo Rancho Santa Fe, this affluent neighborhood is being built in one of the highest buildable areas in North County, and many of the homes have ocean, mountain and even island views.

It is part of the 92091 ZIP code where 59% of residents make more than $75,000 per year, and 33% of residents have an annual income of more than $150,000.

This centrally located North County community offers a semi-rural atmosphere just a short drive from boutiques, fine and casual dining, beaches, outdoor recreation areas, and the arts and culture of downtown San Diego.


Rancho Cielo began to take shape after the plans were approved by the county in 1981. Many luxury homes have been constructed over the years, but this planned community is still in the development phase.


Cielo is a gated, master-planned community with 24-hour staff at the Gate House, appealing amenities and luxury home sites. The community, as a whole, is still in the process of being built out and has smaller neighborhoods within it, such as Estancia, which offers four-to-five bedroom homes between about 3,828 square feet and 5,335 square feet starting around $1,300,000.

Another example would be Upper Cielo, which is a forty-one parcel enclave being developed by California West Communities.

Here are a few examples of luxury homes for sale in Rancho Cielo at the time of this writing:

  • A four bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, 6,080-square-foot home on 2.52 acres listed at $3,275,000
  • A three bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, 4,100-square-foot home on the market for $1,995,000
  • A four bedroom, 4.5 bathroom, 5,570-square-foot home on 1.93 acres listed at $2,495,000
  • A five bedroom, four full bath, two half bath, 6,915-square-foot home on 3.05 acres on the market for $4,625,000
  • A five bedroom, five full bath, two half bath, 6,290-square-foot home on 1.23 acres listed at $2,995,000

Here are a few examples of luxury homes for rent in Cielo at the time of this writing:

  • A five bedroom, 4.5 bathroom, 4,535-square-foot home for $7,800 per month
  • A six bedroom, 6.5 bathroom, 6,234-square-foot home for $8,500 per month
  • A four bedroom, four full bath, two half bath, 5,267-square-foot home for $8,500 per month

The Village at Rancho Santa Fe

Restaurants, Shopping & Entertainment

The closest shopping for residents living in Cielo is Cielo Village, which is a 50,000-square-foot shopping center located just outside of the community near the Gate House. The shopping center truly exudes a village atmosphere much like the walkable town squares found in Europe. In fact, its design was inspired by old-world villages in Northern Italy, and the buildings are built around a central piazza with a stone fountain to complete the homage. Once all of the spaces are leased, it will offer offices, boutiques and restaurants to serve the Cielo community and residents of Rancho Santa Fe.

Just across Del Dios Highway, you will find Paradise Produce Market, which is a local favorite and one-stop shop for gifts, baked goods, succulents, pottery, and local, organic produce.

The quaint shops and cafes of The Village of Rancho Santa Fe are just minutes away for Cielo residents and is the main hub of commercial activity in this affluent community. This is where you will find the library, the school district, the post office, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, the Rancho Santa Fe Village Market, the Rancho Santa Fe Pharmacy , professional services, restaurants, financial institutions and boutiques. Banks in this central shopping district include Union Bank, California Bank and Trust, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, Pacific Western Bank, Wells Fargo and One West Bank. Restaurants in the Village include Rancho Santa Fe Bistro, Delicias Restaurant, Rancho Santa Fe Sandwich Shop, Thyme in the Ranch, Caffee Positano, Mille Fleurs and Morada.

Rancho Santa Fe also has a smaller shopping center along San Dieguito Road. The Del Rayo Village Shopping Center is home to GSB Men’s Clothier, Kitchen Debonaire, Dolce Pan E Vino, Le Dimora Home Furniture & Decor, Mobil and Ranch Cycles. It is also where Rancho Santa Fe residents converge on Sundays between 9:30 and 2:00 to stock up on organic produce and locally crafted wares at the weekly Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market.

The 4S Commons Town Center between Rancho Bernardo Road and Camino Del Norte offers expanded options for shopping and dining, including Jimbo’s…Naturally!, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, Ralphs, Petpeople, Baskin Robbins, Ulta Beauty and Pei Wei Asian Diner.

The Lomas Santa Fe Plaza, Fairbanks Village Plaza, Flower Hill Promenade and Del Mar Center are other shopping centers within driving distance for daily essentials and special shopping trips.

View from Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Trail

Parks & Recreation

This particular gated community in Rancho Santa Fe is ideally located for those who enjoy — or who want to start enjoying — an outdoor lifestyle and is just minutes from Lake Hodges and the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. Visitors to Lake Hodges can enjoy fishing, hiking and riding trails, about one dozen picnic tables and half a dozen barbecue grills, boating and general day use activities. Leashed dogs are allowed, but you have to keep your furry pals at least 50 feet away from the lake.

The 784-acre Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is home to 11 miles of hiking, riding and biking trails, as well as six overlooks with shade structures and picnic tables. Park rangers are available for guided tours and school programs, and some of the reserve’s amazing views include the Channel Islands and the Coronado Islands. To help you plan your trip to the reserve, there is a printable trail map and a printable botanical trail guide.

There is also the 774-acre Del Dios Highlands Preserve, which is open from 8:00am to just before sunset throughout the week. Located off of Del Dios Highway, the multi-use trail that begins in this open space connects to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve trail system. The preserve is part of the County of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the raptors that are commonly seen by hikers.

Just a bit farther away is the 2,352-acre Black Mountain Open Space Park, which offers miles of riding and hiking trails and is home to the 1,554-foot Black Mountain. If you want to check out the trails or the views from this park, be sure to print the trail map before you head to the mountain.

Southwest of Rancho Santa Fe is San Dieguito County Park, which is a 125-acre community space with picnic pavilions, barbecue grills, playgrounds, a basketball court, a rentable gazebo, hiking trails and exercise stations. One of the park’s most impressive features is Miracle Field, which is a baseball field designed to be accessible for players with disabilities.

This park map shows where most of the park’s features and amenities are, and this trail map is a handy resource for planning a day at the park.

For those who prefer their outdoor recreation a bit more organized and in a well-manicured setting, there are several country clubs, golf courses and equestrian centers within a short drive. Within the community, Club Cielo is home to two tennis courts, a community fitness center, a swimming pool and a hot tub. There is also Park Cielo, where you will find a picnic pavilion, a multi-purpose field, a basketball court, a children’s climbing wall and a sand volleyball court.

Lake Hodges

The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe is an exclusive, private country club located within a gated community. Membership is open to those who live outside of this gated neighborhood, but new members are accepted to the club by invitation only. If you are fortunate enough to rub elbows with the right folks and score an invitation, your membership allows you to enjoy a Robert Trent Jones II Group-designed golf course, a pro shop and practice facilities, a fitness center, a day spa, a lap pool, a children’s pool, and the recreation center, which is home to a playground, a paddle tennis court, a squash court, a basketball court, a bocce court, a volleyball court, a multi-purpose sports court and a tennis court. Membership at this prestigious club also provides access to innovative medical facilities, sports clinics, travel services and private jets.

There is also the private Santaluz Club where members enjoy golf, tennis, basketball, swimming, a fitness center, casual and fine dining, and an array of activities designed for youth; the private The Farms Golf Club with its remodeled golf course and formal dining in the clubhouse; The Morgan Run Club & Resort where members enjoy a golf course, tennis courts, swimming, a fitness center, spa services, fine and casual dining, and organized social activities; and the Del Mar Country Club with its Joseph Lee-designed golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, social activities, and fine and casual dining.

The Lomas Santa Fe Country Club and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club are just a bit farther away, but still within an easy drive of Cielo. At the private Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, members enjoy a William Bell-designed golf course, 15 tennis courts and very active tennis department, clubhouse dining, a heated lap pool, a children’s pool and organized social activities. At the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club there are three golf courses (each of which has nine holes), tennis courts, a croquet court, a fitness center, organized social activities, and casual and fine dining.

Equestrian centers in the area include the San Diego Polo Club, Rancho Riding Club, Blue Fox Farm, Ridgemar Equestrian Center, Rancho El Camino Equestrian Center and Concord Equestrian Center. The latter is part of the 65-acre Del Mark Horse Park, which is home to four show arenas, four training arenas, a dressage arena, two grass jumping arenas, boarding stables and horse trainers.

Torrey Pines High School Baseball Field


Some public school students living in the Rancho Cielo area are served by the Rancho Santa Fe School District and the San Dieguito High School District. Others are served by the Escondido Union School District and the Escondido Union High School District.

Those who live within the Rancho Santa Fe School District and San Dieguito High School District generally attend Roger Rowe Elementary and Middle School, followed by Torrey Pines High School.

Those living in the Escondido school districts generally attend Bernardo Elementary School, Bear Valley Middle School and San Pasqual High School.

There are many private schools serving students living in this area, some of which include Happy Time Nursery School, Village Nursery School, Nativity Catholic School, Cal Coast Academy, Horizon Prep School, Santa Fe Christian School, San Diego Jewish Academy, Francis Parker, The Grauer School, La Jolla Country Day School, Cathedral Catholic High School and Diegueno Country School.


Rancho Cielo is in the northeastern part of Rancho Santa Fe. It is east of The Covenant, south of Elfin Forest, and west and north of Del Dios Highway. The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is to the northeast, and Lake Hodges and the Del Dios neighborhood of Escondido is to the east.

Additional Information

To learn more about nearby North County neighborhoods, check out these previous articles:


Photo Credits (in order of appearance): Cielo Village; Tuxyso / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0; Wikimedia Commons/Wiki metis; Wikimedia Commons/Philkon; Torrey Pines Baseball Real estate and demographic information gathered from, and

AJ Davis-Varela: AJ is a freelance writer and blogger at Articles by AJ specializing in travel, real estate, natural wellness and green living. She is a magazine columnist, a former San Diego newspaper columnist, has been published in a variety of print and online publications, and regularly contributes to several websites and blogs. You can connect with AJ on LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+