Explore the most popular birding trails in Palomar Mountain State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice walk. Not too strenuous. Brought some lunch and stopped along the way. Several places along the way have truly fantastic views. Great way for a hiker to get a day's worth of walking in.

Very beautiful hiking. Especially at the partly cloudy wether.

Fantastic view and nature during and the end of this trail, we hiked in cloudy day in spring with lots of green grass and blooms around us. I recommend to try this hiking trail.

We loved this hike. Somehow we turned it in to about 6 miles and the fit bit says about 112 stairs climbed. Lots or great up and down trails. Some downed trees across the trail here and there. Hope they don’t remove them. Easy to get a little of everything on these trails. E will be back soon.

hiking
1 month ago

Stumbled on this trail, it’s moderate but beautiful and the two mile loop completed was great!

There is a $10 entrance fee to the park. CASH ONLY so come prepared. The general store will do cash back if you forget but they are limited by what’s in the till. The trail to the lookout was short and moderately steep. The views would be spectacular on a clear day, but it was hazy when we went. From the lookout, the trail heads downhill and there are numerous downed trees across the trail that were fun for our toddler and made the day interesting. Overall, trail would be considered an easy outing if it wasn’t for the downed trees you have to traverse along the way.

Amazing views as always and the in the freezing temperatures much of the trees and foliage around covered in stunning icicles!

hiking
3 months ago

Trail needs some attention. Starting from Doane Pond and heading up there is a large tree across the trail, which appears to have been there a while. Hiking with the kids this was a challenge. This is the section with most of the elevation gain, and drop on the way out (if you choose to return this way). Some of the erosion controls built into the trail are loose or are partially washed out, giving the impression that this trail has not seen maintenance in some time. The upper portion of the trail is quite overgrown and rutted. Once you arrive at the Scotts Cabin Site, you will be greeted by a random pile of old logs, so set your expectations accordingly.

great loop hike, spectacular views to the west at the top of the hike

Me, my husband, and our 2-year-old did this loop trail today (2/4/18) and it was amazing. Beautiful views, plenty of shade, quite a few easier sections where our son was able to get out of our hiking backpack carrier and walk himself, and we only saw 3 other groups the entire 3-and-a-half miles (that may be due to it being Super Bowl Sunday though). The weather couldn't have been more perfect, it was between 66 and 70 degrees throughout our hike (we started at 10 and got done at 12:15). We will be back frequently.

We did this hike on 2/3/18. Great views and trails through the wooded forest and meadows. Boucher trail coming down from the tower has lots of trees and logs across requiring climbing over or under. The Weir/Diane Valley loop was great with some beautiful old trees. We decided to cut off the last Chimney Loop and headed back from Diane Pond on the Scott Cabin trail. 8.4 miles on our Apple Fitness app. Very pleasant and beautiful hike. Will do it again for sure. Weather is great right now!!!

very pretty hiking area

trail running
7 months ago

A very nice hike.
Parking is $10, must be cash.
I parked just past where you pay for day use on the left in the Silvercrest Picnic Area. Except the beginning the in-App map was very helpful.
From the picnic area there is a short trail at the bathroom to the road then walk left along the road and the Boucher trail is between the separated up & down roads to the Boucher fire overlook.
My hunch is it is slightly longer around 10-11 miles, but I got off trail slightly once/twice using a paper map before backtracked or pulling out the phone app.

Trails well marked. Lots of wildlife. Doane Pond at halfway point. Some fallen trees on the trail and you either climb over or duck under.

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

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.

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

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.

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

11 months ago

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

hiking
11 months ago

beautiful scenic hike but the hilly section just before/just after Scott's Cabin is completely overgrown with wild lilac and impassable. there are also several downed trees along that route and the Cedar trail headed back towards the pond.

hiking
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Great trail. Lots of fallen trees to negotiate, woodpeckers to listen out for & outstanding views as your prize. Hiking boots needed really & plenty of water. Make sure to check out 'Mother's Kitchen' for breakfast or lunch before heading into the park!

hiking
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Absolutely love this hike. Very nice variety of stunning scenery. We usually see deer and wild turkeys running around in addition to all the other smaller forest creatures. A mid-day picnic at Doane's Pond is a nice treat. The ducklings just recently hatched and swimming about with their moms. Be cautious because huge beds of poison oak has blossomed and we usually get a little exposure, but not enough to spoil the day.

Thunder springs trail was incredible. Lots of tree's provide plenty of shade. Felt like we were under the canopy most of the hike. Good times. Once you get to the campground, and start crossing over to the Boucher trail, it is a bit of a mess. Very overgrown right now. Was constantly ducking and diving around overgrowth. This section needs some serious work. My kids were constantly asking me if we were still on the trail. The road up can be slow, so plan accordingly and don't forget to bring your state parking pass if you have one. Otherwise $10 to park.

Relaxing/easy hike to do! There was a lot of trees knocked down on this trail, but it was fun to climb over them while hiking

There were several spots with obstacles in the form of fallen trees and bush/tree branches that extend over the trail. It was very helpful for us to carry a stick to move branches out of the way before crossing. We passed many bushes with suspicious leaves.

Overall, this hike was fairly level. It may be called intermediate because of the obstacles. Regardless, it was nice to find a cool getaway..the temp was at least 10 degrees cooler than San Diego; partially tree-shaded.

We saw much less wildlife than expected...only squirrels, lizards, and some beautiful birds. I had a flashback to watching The Hunger Games because these birds here sound just like the mockingjay call. Is that a real bird?

Monday, March 27, 2017

The trail was well maintained and never hard. There are some parts where the incline is heavier, which is the only reason to rate as moderate. The wow comes from the incredible array of different terrains and views. We went from walking in the clouds in desolate landscape with the charred remains of dead trees sticking out like bones, to strolling through the meadow, to walking through dense forrest. Did not get the view to the ocean because of the clouds, but stunning beauty nonetheless. Check for ticks, we got bit. Don't forget cash for parking and park fee.

Load More