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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.

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

hiking
20 hours ago

hiking
21 hours 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.

off road driving
4 days ago

Was able to hit the fire roads today all the way to the top. Nice little drive up the mountain. 4x4 not needed.

hiking
4 days ago

This park is absolutely beautiful. There are a lot of gorgeous hiking options and a campground. However, I can't write a review without mentioning the fact that, at the time of my visit, in late June, the sheer number of flies in the area made the hike absolutely unbearable. I could've hiked this beautiful place for hours but left after one. I have never seen anything like it. I will definitely be back once I know they are gone.

hiking
5 days ago

Been going here for years and recently visited in May 2017. Pauma Creek is a hidden gem in the North County, San Diego area and one of the most pristine and undisturbed mountain streams in Southern California.

Don't be fooled by how short this trail is. It is ridiculously steep, exposed to the sun most of the way, covered in poison oak, has loose footing from a 2008 forest fire, and if that isn't enough then there are the ticks, biting flies, and occasional rattlesnake that will gladly attack you along the way.

For those willing to brave the very unforgiving trail, there is a paradise waiting for you at the bottom. Pauma Creek flows year-round and plunges over 4,000ft down the canyon through a series of pools and waterfalls.

Beautiful trail but many parts are way overgrown and hard to avoid all the poison oak. But easily one of my favorites.

Much of the trail was overgrown near the upper elevations.

We just did this loop June 4th, 2017. Boucher Lookout has spectacular views, and normally the ridge line views along the Adams trail are quite beautiful. I've done this exact loop before and my last trip in February I gave it four stars. However, the Adams trail needs some serious TLC. As of June, 2017 it is severely overgrown, almost impassable in numerous places. At several times we had to crawl on our hands and knees, even stomachs, and climb over/under (mostly through) bushes and dead trees. I'm not a novice hiker by any means. I truly love hiking. But, until this trail gets cleared up, I'd recommend spending your time doing a better trail elsewhere. Ideally Palomar State Park officials should close the Adams trail until it is cleared up, so other souls don't have to suffer through the misery we endured today.

However, if you like hiking off trail, bushwhacking, groveling in dirt and sticky bramble bushes, tripping over root stumps, crawling over and under burned out trees, and loads upon loads of bugs, then this is a terrific trail for you. It would also make a great date hike if you have a girl/ guy you really want to break up with. This trail would do the trick for sure. In that case, I would give this trail five stars.

Buen Camino,

KV Adventures

Love that we can drive an hour from busy crowded san diego to a pine tree forest. It's really like your in the Sierra's with smaller trees.