Alpine is an unincorporated and relatively undeveloped area in San Diego County. It is almost completely surrounded by Cleveland National Forest in the south, east, and north; more specifically, it approaches El Capitan Reservoir and Capitan Grande Reservation territory in the north. Its only true neighbor is Harbison Canyon, another census-designated place to the immediate west. Alpine is best understood as a sparsely populated woodland hamlet.
The area's character, as one might expect, is almost entirely defined by how rural, open, and green it is. Residents—of which there are few more than 13,000—enjoy placid brushland and rolling foothills as far as the eye can see. Wilderness aside, Alpine's primary landmark is the Viejas Casino & Resort, which is owned by the Kumeyaay Indians. Travel to and through Alpine is essentially limited to one major artery: the 8 freeway, which runs west to San Diego
and then east to Arizona along California's border with Mexico.