Lower Doane Valley and French Valley

EASY 38 reviews

Lower Doane Valley and French Valley is a 3.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pauma Valley, California that features a waterfall. The trail is good for all skill levels and offers a number of activity options.

Distance: 3.6 miles Elevation Gain: 357 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly


nature trips

trail running


bird watching




wild flowers


no dogs

Explore the beautiful forest and mountain meadows of Palomar Mountain State Park The beautiful forests and mountain meadows of Palomar Mountain State Park are in northern San Diego County on the west side of Palomar Mountain. Large pine, fir and cedar trees make the park one of the few areas in southern California with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. Elevation within the park averages 5,000 feet above sea level, making evenings cool even during the summer and freezing in winter. The park is home to an interlocking network of trails; selecting a hike among the many forks is like picking a plot in a Choose-Your-Own Adventure novel. In other words, you are not bound by any particular destination when you embark from a trailhead. Creek, woodland, meadow, pre/historic site, and ridgecrest views are yours. To the east, beyond the limits of the park, is the world-famous Palomar Observatory and the highest point of the 6,100-foot mountain. Many park visitors make the eight-mile trip up the road to the observatory, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology. The observatory is open to the public free of charge from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.

10 months ago


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Okay, this was a fun hike! There IS a 10 dollar fee for parking inside the state park. Which is unavoidable so just prepare to pay 10 bucks to hike here. There is absolutely ZERO CELL PHONE SERVICE. So please don’t go alone. Please stay on the trails and be careful. Don’t get lost. Open the trails app before you loose service going up the mountain. I found little spots of service , enough to at least open this app and figure out where we were. Now , this was a very fun hike . To be honest tho, the “waterfall” is a dam called Weir Dam Historical Site and it’s off the the side of this trail. It’s easy to find just follow the signs. Park at the Doane Pond lot next to the school up there, and you can pretty much hike to all the fun areas here . PLEASE BRING A LOT OF WATER, and FOOD. there is no place to buy food or snacks once you past the fork in the road next to the diner. There are a few water fountains around randomly but I’d still bring your own. Follow my advice and you all will have a fun time up in the mountains! Be safe and watch out for poison oak.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

We did the Doane Valley loop, French Valley Loop and ended with the Weir trail, which brought us back to the parking lot near the entrance of the campground. We had a blast! The hike was amazingly kid-friendly (we had a 5 and 12 year old with us), but you do need to be able to identify poison oak, as it grows everywhere, and stinging nettle, if you go near the creek. There was a huge fallen tree that served as a playground for a nice break and the path was really well taken care of. We only saw a few other people (less than 10) so it was a nice quiet hike. There were open stretches, but also plenty of shaded hike areas, for balance. This was a great fall hike, but I can't wait to go back in the spring and see the tall grasses when they are green! I'll definitely do this hike again!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Love that we can drive an hour from busy crowded san diego to a pine tree forest. It's really like your in the Sierra's with smaller trees.

Monday, May 15, 2017

This is the perfect hike to escape all the hustle and bustle of the city. Beautiful, big trees like oaks and incense cedar. The sound of water flowing in the creek. You can't beat it. Great for kids of all ages.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Technically hiked lower Doane and French Valley, but can't locate it here. Hiked on 5-13-17 with Pete , Tyler and Natti. One of the best hikes ever... with the trees, creeks and pond, this felt and looked more like Northern California than Southern.

Friday, April 21, 2017

went desperce camping out hear and fell in love with it saw some animal tracks but no animal and not another person it was peaceful.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

lots of beautiful trees. excellent for bird watching! Paying the day pass is $10. Will be back to go camping!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Felt like I was in the Sierra Nevada forest.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

An easy hike around the meadow that provides lots of photo opportunities. The North section of the trail that leads to a waterfall has been closed since 2014 with a barrier across the trail marking it out of bounds. Add a diversion from the loop and take the Weir Trail north where it intersects with the Lower Doane Trail and follow it to the Weir historic site (it ends at the site). We were pestered by little flies the entire route, repellent didn't help. Other than that it's a perfect loop with a good mix of sun and shade. I'll be coming back to this one once the rains start up.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Be teleported to some place other than SOCAL with this hike...and the fallen1000 year old tree is something to behold.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Very leisurely and kind of short but the forest is truly incredible. The wetter northeastern facing side of the valley is filled with cedars, white firs, and Jeffrey pines while the sunny southwestern facing side boasts massive interior live oaks. It doesn't feel like Southern California at all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pretty meadow!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nice walk and scenery thru the valley

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Great view of the Doane Valley with some sha

2 months ago

3 months ago

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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