Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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!

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.

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).

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.

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.

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!

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
6 months 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.

Did this 9/8/17 Reviews a little late but I thought I should reiterate the warning, bring a bug net and consider long sleeves. There are several cisterns (not drinkable) along the trail that make the biting gnats/mosquitos brutal. I was just up on Tahquitz Peak and the view of High Point triggered the repressed memory. Great hike, stellar views.

Great hike and beautiful views. Really cool to see the watch station

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

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
9 months 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.

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.

Load More