Explore the most popular views 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.

hiking
muddy
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
9 days ago

Uphill all the way but very manageable with well marked trail. Once up the single track you’ll reach a fire road. 3/4 of the hike is on the fire road but still nice and scenic. Went in the winter time and it rained and snowed. Last bit was packed with about 8-9 inches of snow. Would recommend this in winter and spring. Probably too exposed in summer time.

Hitting a locked gate so close to coming out at the observatory pretty much ruined the day. Nothing spectacular on trail and some parts were even rather poorly paved. Over all a waste of gas...

Love this trail. The only thing people forget to mention is it’s ALL incline the entire way up!!! But well worth it. Great workout!

Nice little trail to see a bit of Palomar Mountain.

I've done this trail a few times along with several of the other nearby ones. It's a nice change of scenery on Palomar Mountain from the desert below. It's a shame Scott's Cabin has not survived, but the apple orchard still being cultivated is really neat.

off road driving
1 month ago

Extremely fun till the end on the eastern side. Locked gate but found an opening to squeeze through.

Good winter conditioning trail. Beautiful views. No snow or mud, even after all of the rain we received this week. The first two miles are single track and the rest is an old dirt service road. It is fairly exposed, which gives you great scenery to enjoy, but would be pretty brutal on a hot day. Nice if you are looking for solitude. I was out there for 8 hours. I didn't see any other hikers. Just two vehicles and 3 motorcycles. It was a rewarding hike, the tower has nice picnic facilities.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful destination and well worth the hike. Don’t be fooled by the rating this is an extremely steep trail and offers a challenge regardless of the distance. Didn’t see any fish unfortunately but that doesn’t mean they are not there.

NIce, will marked trail to the Forest Service Lookout Tower. A lot of this trail is service road (approx. 4-5 miles). On our visit 1/5/19, there was a lot of snow for about the last 4 miles. I was the only hiker not using poles or spikes. If you are comfortable on snow and know how to avoid ice, you don't need either, It snowed on us on the way down and was VERY cold at the top (36° not accounting for wind chill).

beautiful trail best trail I've ever been to in California, however they do not allow Doggos on the trails.

off road driving
1 month ago

What a beautiful trail and directions were spot on! At first we had a dirt trail but as we ascended we got to enjoy snow!! Passed a few others along the way and on the backside coming down towards Warner Springs hit a tight spot as someone coming up was trying to pass us. Overall would do it again!!

off road driving
1 month ago

Very beautiful scenic drive. I did this in my stock 2018 JK. Did not have to put it in 4 wheel drive, but did anyway when we were going over the icy spots. There were many side trails closed off.

off road driving
2 months ago

Easy fun drive.

Absolutely peaceful, varied, and beautiful trail. Stream, pond, deer, sweeping views. Loved it.

Lovely state park and awesome trail! We did about a 9 mile loop that included forest, meadows, creeks and epic views. Good mix of strenuous and easy. $10 to park and rangers helped us with a map of trails to follow!

I did this hike expecting great views and beautiful trail (palomar mountain it’s beautiful) but it’s not. 2 first mi are steep and somewhat pretty- after that it’s a service road with nothing to enjoy. The views at the top are Ok- but for me not enough. Good exercise little enjoyment

Awesome! Perfect weather. A little peoplie but great trip.

hiking
3 months ago

Oct 28, 2018. We hiked today with kids 10, 11, and 13yo. It was a wonderful experience! We started around 4pm and finished 6:15pm. Taking a lot of pics is what slowed us down. Next time we will hike in the morning :)

hiking
3 months ago

nice good hiking area...there's a $10 parking fee and the office accepts card if its open.

We took the rangers recm and followed the route she suggested. The trails took us thru various terrain. We were covered under the forest canopy of giant oak and cedar trees. We even came across a few deer and the greatest find was coming upon a fallen giant oak tree. It was at least 15 feet on its side above our heads.

hiking
3 months ago

A great spot on the East Grade of Palomar. Trail is an old dirt road, downhill in uphill out. Opens on to a great area with lots of shade trees, an old barn and several game guzzlers. In wet years there are a couple of marsh/pond areas with waterfowl. Pack in water, as the trail itself has little shade.

It was beautiful! Weather was a cool 54 degrees. I saw 2 solo hikers the entire day. The trails were maintained and easy to follow.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail was literally the most beautiful thing ever! The weather was rainy and foggy when I went which made the adventure much more fun! We saw a deer. It was just lovely I literally need say no more. The trails are a little hard to find as the signs become distant so definitely take a map and activate the GPS on this app so you don’t get lost.

We hiked this trail on Sunday, 10/14 with 4-adults and 3-kids (ages 12-14). On the way to the trailhead, you will first reach the State Park gate where you will need to pay a $10 fee to enter the Park. There is a small building there with the ranger, and inside are some really nice stuffed examples of the local wildlife. The parking lot is very, very close, on your left. There is a bathroom building there with nice flush toilets and a picnic ground.

The hike starts down the paved road for about 300 yards, then enters the dirt trail. One thing I liked about the trail system is that it is mostly very well marked. If you are unsure where the trail transitions from the paved road to the dirt (it’s a funky 5 way intersection), then just check google maps street view, the street view shows it all, including down the trail, it’s pretty cool.

The trail goes thru some really nice oaks, and up a long hill, coming to a nice lookout at the Boucher Fire Lookout Tower. Be sure to ask any fire watch attendants for a tower tour. We did, and it was super cool for the adults, and the kids tolerated it just fine.

Back on the trail, and you’ll find a trail that is at this time very well maintained. They must have done a recent clean up and trimming all along it.

Warning, there is ALOT of poison oak in the area. None posed a problem along the trail at this time, but you need to be weary of it and educate any kids. Due to being fall, the poison oak was easy to spot, as it’s a beautiful red color.

Second warning, a tick tried to come home with us, but lost its life along the way, before it got to bury its head in my wife’s arm.

Wildlife: plenty of birds, saw lots of lady bugs in one meadow, and I mean lots... like a gazillion. Saw a group of 4 deer crossing the trail about 100 yards ahead, and In the last 1/2 mile or so, a small fox crossed the trail and posed upon a tree stump for us. It was super cool.

We liked the trail very, very much. I would have given it 5 stars, but downgraded it to 4 stars due to the poison oak and the hitchhiking tick. For a 3.4 mile trail, it gave a good workout with lots of beautiful scenery.

Great hike, so beautiful, amazing scent of cedar and pine throughout.

I really enjoyed this trail and the views are soectacular!

off road driving
5 months ago

We came in off 79 by RV Park, turned left up small hill towards private gate and trail viers off to left from there. nice trail with high outlooks and made it up to fire watch tower following pretty easy trail. I saw a lot of stock tire tread patterns in the dirt and passed a three others along the trip but nothing too crowded. keep ur backup points in mind as some sections are narrow for a ways. we were hoping to pop out in the Observatory area and take their tour but gates at that end wefe closed. I had called S. B. Ranger station late last week who told me gates were open so be aware things change. The ride back was still nice and range at watch tower was also nice to talk with. Fire scars show how rough the terrain is to be fighting fires so hats off to them.

off road driving
5 months ago

Visiting from Arizona we wanted to take the Jeep out for a nice Californian drive. Most of the places up north from this trail were all closed because of the forest fires, But This trail was perfect, just the right amount of hills and low traffic. I aired down the tires and we drove pretty quick through some of the turns it was fun. About a quarter of the way through we saw a another trail heading down the mountain so we gave it a try it was a lot more technical and a lot of fun.

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.

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