Explore the most popular hiking 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.

One heck of a hike, We were not expecting the 6.5 hour time gauge .... but the breaks were MUCH needed during the steep start as well as for the beautiful high point stop.

BRING WATER/ TAKE BREAKS DURING HEAT

hiking
17 days 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.

Peaceful trail with lots of trees surrounding you and cute fluffy squirrels and the sound of nature and the birds is soooo nice! I wish the actual cabin was there though ! Just a pile of logs there once you get to “Scott’s cabin” Overall great experience ! It’s at the state park so for all day it’s 10$ cash. Make sure to bring snacks and water there’s a few other trials around it but it’s really nice ethier way. You’ll catch a lot of cute wild birds surrounding you, maybe even deers ! so I recommend going. Make sure to check out all the other trails too and I promise you’ll love it. Make sure to Just enjoy the peaceful sound of nature and everything around you.

trail running
1 month ago

Great trail run for ultra training. The old creek section is super steep and I had to hike more then run for the first 2 ish miles but once you reach the top of Old Creek and get on the fire roads the rest is runable. It took me about 2 hours and 50 minutes but I paused my watch at the top for a bit a took in the views. There were horrible gnats as mentioned but it was off and on for short bouts of time. Will definitely do it again.

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.

Awesome hike. If you are doing the hike on Spring or Summer you must make it a priority to bring a bug net to cover your face. There are just so many bugs around the trees and pines. Met two older hikers who shared their most amazing adventures in the mountains of California.

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
2 months ago

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

Long hike uphill, followed by moderately difficulty descent. Pretty spectacular views from the top, would highly recommend. As with other commenters, first two miles is a rough climb (but manageable) and will drain you if you aren’t prepared.

3 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.

Awesome incline! First couple of miles the most challenging. Great views at the lookout tower. Took us around 7 hours round trip with a lunch break and coffee at the top!

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!!!

Great hike. A little confusing as the trail is not well marked and forks a few times. VERY windy and cool/cold (in January). Bring your ear warmer and gloves for the last 2-3 miles to the lookout tower.

Great hike, not easy but, beautiful.

very pretty hiking area

This was an enjoyable hike that will challenge you in the first two miles, get you away from the crowds at other suburban / urban hiking spots in SD and give you peace and quite the whole way through.

Ask a guy from the fire department where to park and was directed to park off the South side of the station (the building closed to Rt. 79). Started at 9:00 AM and walked about 1/2 mile following the signs for the trail. The trail begins off the NW corner of the fire station. Walk around a bit, you'll find it. First 1/2 mile is flat and then it climbs for the next 1.5 miles at an average rate of about 900 feet per mile. The grade was deceiving at first, but I quickly got tired half way up. The sun was strong, footing was loose rock and sands and the path was narrow. 80% of the way up to the eventual dirt road is sun exposed. Take it slow. Another reason to take it slow...trail is very narrow and I saw two snakes, one of which was either a rattler or a gopher snake. I nearly stepped on another. Lots of good snake hiding spots on this trail so walk slow and look at your surroundings.

After the path, you're up at 4,200' and on a wide dirt road. It levels out considerably from there and the remained of the hike isn't excessively strenuous, average grade is about 500 feet per mile. Just follow the dirt road to the top. There are forks in the dirt road at times. Always take the fork that goes up in elevation. And, you the AllTrails app to be sure you going the right direction.

Got to the top in 3 hours 10 minutes, and took a 30 minute break. Windy and cool up there. The ranger in the fire look-out tower called down and said the bottled water on the picnic table was free! Appreciated the offer, but I still had plenty of my own water. Headed back down in 2 hours 20 minutes.

The only person I saw was a guy with a bow and arrow set, just after the fire station. Didn't see another hiker the whole way up. Saw three cars going to the top, but nothing else. It's a good exercise hike and nice that there's not may people and no music playing. I drank just over three liters of water. Wear sunscreen and bring 4 - 5 liters and a hat. Another must-have, have a bug net for your head. Although 80 - 90% of the trail is gnat-free, there's a couple of places where they are thick and you'll want your bug net.

Camped at Oak Grove Campground across from the Fire Station to get an early start. Only $15. Got up early. and parked at the Fire Station and hiked up. Oak Grove trail is the hardest, steepest part of the trail. After that you're on a dirt road the rest of the way up. It was a nice long hike. Bring plenty of water.

trail running
8 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.

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

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.

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