Explore the most popular forest 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.

Did this trail today with my husband and 2 year old (in a hiking backpack carrier). It was a great trail with plenty of shade, and we ended up seeing a deer! Parts of the trail were very overgrown with tall plants that were very large, it felt like walking through a jungle and it was hard to discern if we were still on the trail. Doane pond right by the sixth grade camp was beautiful and a nice surprise about mid-way through. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because it was closer to 6.7/7 miles than 5.7. Not an issue in and of itself, but when you’re expecting to be done soon and it’s hot, the extra mile+ really sucks. Otherwise a great trail and we will do it again with a better expectation of how far we will be going.

on Pauma Creek Trail

hiking
1 month ago

It was an amazing experience. Definitely hard going down but fun going up. Recommend it to everyone! The creek it’s amazing once you finally make it to the goal (down).

Not much of a trail - overgrown and chossy. Poison oak growing every 3 feet or so. Road up is dirt and has a lot of potholes.

hiking
3 months ago

We went 5/31/2018. I loved it. It's beautiful like all the photos.
There were a couple of streams. It's very green. Surprisingly barely any poison oak/ivy/sumac. Lots of bugs, though. The trail was pretty well maintained except the Scott's Cabin Trail was pretty overgrown.
It's ten bucks to park and they take cash and checks, but no cards. The closest ATM is inthe General Store 2 1/2 miles from the ranger station.
I'm pretty sure the trail is longer than the description. We followed the map really closely and our All Trails recorder and my FitBit showed 4.5 miles not 3.6.

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
5 months ago

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

6 months ago

Very very beautiful hiking. And hard.

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!

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!!!

Great hike, not easy but, beautiful.

very pretty hiking area

trail running
11 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.

hiking
Saturday, September 09, 2017

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.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

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.

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

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!

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

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.

hiking
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

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

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

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
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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!

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