hiking

views

walking

nature trips

wild flowers

forest

wildlife

birding

kid friendly

no dogs

The beautiful forest and mountain meadows of Palomar Mountain State Park are in northern San Diego County on the west side of Palomar Mountain. Large pine, fir and cedar trees make the park one of the few areas in southern California with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. Elevation within the park averages 5,000 feet above sea level, making evenings cool even during the summer. A number of vista points offer sweeping panoramic views both westerly toward the ocean and inland toward the desert. In addition to spectacular views of the Pacific, Palomar Mountain State Park offers camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing (trout) in Doane Pond. From Highway 76, either of two roads can be used to reach the park. The one from Rincon Springs (County Road S6) is scenic but rather steep and winding. County Road S7 from Lake Henshaw is longer, but its gentle grade makes it more suitable for heavily loaded vehicles and those pulling trailers. To the east, beyond the limits of the park, is the world-famous Palomar Observatory and the highest point of the 6,100-foot mountain. Many park visitors make the eight-mile trip up the road to the observatory, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology. The observatory is open to the public free of charge from 9am to 4pm daily. The park is open from dawn until dusk. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.

Hard hike. Relentless ascend and descend. Bring plenty of water and food. Beautiful scenery.

FYI This is in the State Park which charges $10 for day use. The trails were a wee bit confusing but we're new to this so it was probably user error. Pretty, shady, and tranquil on the "tree" side, but a bit warm on the "meadow" side. We saw wild turkeys which was a real treat! Went to the observatory after. It's only 5 miles. It's a must see!

Beautiful trail. don't forget to bring your insect repellent.

off road driving
1 month ago

My first time hitting a trail in a truck and I had an awesome experience. A little bumpy at first, a handful of tight turns but nothing too technical overall. 4x4 is not needed. Strongly recommend to those looking to explore and learn the off road scene.

Cool trail with ridgeline views of Harrah's casino below. Some parts of trail could use some TLC. Had to bend and climb through some brush.

Lot of shade on the trails but flys and mosquitoes are unbearable. Strongly suggest to use Insect repellent when hiking in this area.

off road driving
1 month ago

off road driving
1 month ago

Boucher trail was pretty over grown... we had a hard finding the trail. Pack your bug spray!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We ended up turning around about a 1\2 mile in because it was so overgrown.

Ordinarily, this is one of my favorite hikes. I have rated this a 5-star in the past. However, I'm very disappointed with the maintenance and conditions of the Boucher trail. The trail is now severely over grown and difficult to hike. The brush completely covers the trail in many spots. You have to crawl on you hands and knees to get thru many different spots. In some areas on the N side of the mountain the trail is actually giving way to erosion. The park is also flush with poison oak. This makes hiking on your hands and knees especially difficult.
This trail is in severe need of maintenance.