Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Boucher Trail and Palomar Mountain Loop

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(161)
Palomar Mountain State Park

Boucher Trail and Palomar Mountain Loop is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Palomar Mountain, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length 8.7 mi Elevation gain 1,519 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Wildlife

Over grown

Fee

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

$10 parking fee. Note: Dogs are NOT allowed on the trails, but are allowed anywhere else. The trail is uphill until you reach Boucher Lookout Tower. It breaks at the tower which contains a picnic area, an observation deck, restroom and water. Boucher Trail picks up again on the other side of the lookout tower (trail marked) and heads downhill for quite a ways. Be warned that what goes down must eventually come up. The trail ends at Nate Harrison Grade Road. Across the road you'll see Adams Trail. An alternative to Nate Harrison Grade road would be to take Boucher Road from the lookout tower. This would cut out a significant part of Boucher trail but would mean less uphill walking on the way back.

Take 76 to S Grade Rd (S6), Turn left x2 onto State Park Rd (S7), follow it till it ends at Palomar Mountain State Park. Pay $8 fee at the Ranger station located at the gate, then park in the picnic area right past the Ranger station on the left. Walk down the road heading West, past the employee residence you'll see a split in the road and the trail head clearly marked.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (161)
Photos (679)
Recordings (126)
Completed (349)
Kyle Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 12 2020
HikingBugs

I got off to a late start and hiked the 9.75 mile loop. There is a lot of shade on the trails but with the sun directly overhead you will still get hit on your climb back up so plan accordingly. This is an interesting hike because you basically climb the mountain in reverse with the first half mostly downhill or flat and the second half climbing back up so make sure to check yourself because there are several shorter routes available if you feel fatigued prior to the climb. The bugs are definitely there and will be with you the entire hike. They do not bite but they are going to buzz your head. I hiked faster or ran most of the downhill stretch and the bugs did not bother me even without bug spray on, if you stop though chances are the bugs will be much more of a nuisance. The hike is beautiful and great for a conditioning hike to put some miles on your legs without too steep of inclines or severe elevation gains. I did lose gps signal in a few locations so download your maps prior to getting up the mountain. Oh one last thing; yes it is $10 to park and it is EXACT change without the ability to break larger bills. I ended up paying $20 for today’s hike because once you are up the mountain you are 20 minutes away from the nearest gas station.

View Kyle's Recording
Erica Salcuni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugs

Great trail but I’ll return after the summer. The bugs were insane.

Haley Frank
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugsFee

Great hike, we did a shortened version of this that ended up being a little over 6 miles. Tons of elevation kicked our butts but mostly shaded and great views/scenery. Bugs are out of control, don’t forget bug spray we were consistently reapplying! (Only knocked a star off for the bugs).

View Haley's Recording
Jas Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
HikingBugs

Steep uphill inclines in some parts, an overabundance of bugs, but gorgeous overall. It seems like three hikes in one because of the change in terrain and landscape you experience (lots of shade). Not many mountaintop "peak" views but lots of foliage and even a pond to enjoy.

Katherine Hurley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020
HikingBugsFeeOver grown

wow- so although there is a $10 entree fee and there is ample amount of bugs and poison oak on the trails- the hike itself is beautiful! the most beautiful hike for me to date- valleys of ferns, giant dandelions, wild flowers, wild blackberry and strawberries, ponds, etc! The bugs are more prominent by the creek areas and less by the meadows. We used bug spray and mask and glasses and seemed fine. Great hike!

Mike Nava
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 25 2020

Great hike awesome view still alot of bugs even with bug spray but good all n all

Lauren W.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 21 2020
HikingBugsFeeOver grown
View Lauren's Recording
Derek Vanstone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 21 2020
HikingBugs

The trail is beautiful and peaceful but the bugs right now are pretty bad even with bug spray. Cut our hike in half because of it.

Conrad Gerger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 20 2020
Hiking

Hiked this trail a week ago. I had never been to this mountain before. It’s awesome. Very unique with many types of trees, pines and ferns all over. Need to make it up a bit earlier next year and catch it when it’s even greener. The trails seem to be a bit confusing and not well marked. But that makes it kinda fun! Easy way to get more miles in. The pond was a super cool spot. Friendly people on the trails and a cool drive up the mountain to the trailheads.

W M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jun 17 2020
HikingBugsRocky

I lost my Maui Jim sunglasses here on 6/17 if anyone finds them. Scenery was beautiful esp from viewpoints. Bugs were not great (mid-June) and we cut out about 2 mi of our planned 9mi hike because of this. We arrived at 10 am and parked at the Boucher lookout tower and we were above a thick blanket of clouds which was awesome. Some shade throughout our route which was nice.

Lisa Haas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 15 2020
HikingFee

What an amazing day! We got to the Boucher Trail Lookout at about 8:30, and took a leisurely hike down to the pond and back around. 7.3 mile loop. The weather was perfect at around 65°. There were some mosquitoes around the pond and near the small streams, but not horrible. The trails are nearly completely covered. The foliage is just gorgeous so take your time to look around.

Laura Marquez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri May 22 2020
HikingBugsRockyScramble
View Laura's Recording
Cristiana Paris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Mar 25 2020
Hiking

Amazing place.. my kids 7 and 11 did great.... Magical environment.....

Gabriel Parra
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Feb 16 2020
HikingFeeOver grownRockyScramble
View Gabriel's Recording
Ben Long
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Jan 04 2020
Hiking

Jan 4, 2020. Beware the trails are very rough. The trees and bushes cover long stretches of trails that make it very challenging to hike. All the heavy snowfall is melted but the effects are still very visible. Be prepared to backtrack to avoid damaging the trails any further. Back side of Boucher is really bad. See my map photo for location. Silver crest loop is short and clear. I definitely look forward to late spring hikes here once all the trails are cleared.

View Ben's Recording
Jeffrey Gilbert
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Dec 20 2019

The dog days are over ... no dogs :/

Erin Griffith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Aug 12 2019
HikingOver grown

Did this hike today. I definitely see why so many people love it. That said, it was so overgrown today from Boucher Trail down to Baptist Trail that I was quite miserable the first part of the hike. The last tenth of a mile on Adams Trail before reaching the campground to start Baptist Trail was by far the worst. You basically had to just wade through shoulder high brush. I had hiking poles but they did little to keep me from getting hit with just about every plant on the trail. I loved the rest of the hike though which is why I really hate giving this 3 stars (It’s a 5 star trail if it wasn’t overgrown). I would love to go again but I’d probably find a way to skip the first section! Also, it was a little confusing finding Baptist Trail- I read that you should walk straight through the campground to find it (we had wandered along the road) so hopefully that helps someone!

Melissa Schultz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 28 2019
HikingBugsOver grown

This trail would have been beautiful; however it was so overgrown that many parts were inaccessible. Hope to return so that we can do the full loop.

Showing results 1 - 18 of 161