Explore the most popular trails near Palomar Mountain with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Palomar Mountain, California Map
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Beautiful hike. We started hiking around 11:30am, it was sunny but not hot. Definitely there’s a lot of flies around but we used a repellent with 30% deed and we applied it over our clothes as well and they stayed mostly away. The views are amazing and the peace and quiet is just incredible. We didn’t get lost once, but had the app open all the time and helped us a lot. Signs sometimes are hidden and without the app might be a little challenging to follow the different trails. We saw families with small children and it has lots of shade. Definitely going back again, that state park is worth visiting. Forgot to mention that at the fire lookout, the volunteer rangers let you go up and they are very friendly and explain to you the work they do.

Beautiful trail. Mostly shaded. Lots of fern meadows and greenery. Several areas with water, both from spigots and natural sources. Only negative to this trail was a lot of biting insects and nats. Highly recommend strong deet. Some of the campgrounds can be a little confusing, because they are often where you start another trail in the loop, so be mindful that you are on the right one. All trails were marked with a post.

Hot and buggy! Good workout

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!

hiking
bugs
over grown
2 months ago

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.

hiking
bugs
over grown
2 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in San Diego county. The hike is a unique mix of many different terrains -- dense forests with huge trees, canopy trees that look like something out of a movie, grass plateaus with deer, scenic heights including a lookout tower, ponds and creeks, picnic areas and campgrounds, tall flowers/plants, and more. The day I hiked was overcast was a light drizzle at the base of the mountain. Fortunately, the park area was just a little higher than the thick cloud cover, so it was a clear, sunny day at the park. This lower elevation cloud cover led to some amazing views of an endless ocean of billowy white, off the side of the lookout. I only ran into 2 other groups, while on the trails. However, there were plenty of people by the pond, lookout, picnic areas, and campgrounds. The hike was a combination of peaceful solitude followed by returning to many people, as well as structures like bathrooms and picnic areas. The only reason I did not rate the hike as 5 stars were the bugs. With the heavier rainfall that creates some of the the unique terrains, there are more bugs than other locations in San Diego county. One of the rangers let me use some additional bug spray, but it was far from adequate. I was brushing off bugs for much of the hike. At the time of this review, the map on this site shows a start/stop point on Nate Harrison Grade. This is not a parking area. The 3 main hiking parking areas are Silvercrest Pinic/Entrance, Boucher Lookout, and Doane Pond. I favor the latter. You hit Doane Pond twice during the loop, so this gives option to return to the car midway through the hike, carrying fewer supplies. You also get to break up the hike midway at Boucher Lookout, and walk up hill midway, rather than when tired at the end. I favor choosing Baptist Trail over the pictured route with Cedar Trail. There are many trail options, so it's good to have a map. The one at the ranger station (free) or online from the park website shows additional trail options that are not on the AllTrails map, such as the Baptist Trail turnoff I mentioned. The price has increased to $10 per car. Dogs are not allowed on the trails, but are allowed on other areas. On another trip, the rangers led my dog climb up to the top of the lookout. She got a real kick out of being able to watch over such a large distance. I had no data coverage with AT&T and have had extremely limited coverage with Verizon in the past.

Pretty good hike about 10 miles and $10 cash only to park. We got a map from the Ranger and downloaded the map from all trails. Creeks, ponds and meadows very pretty day. I wish there was a little better signage for the trails. It would be pretty easy for the park to put some arrows up to keep you on the trail. We had the most trouble finding the Baptist trail. We had to walk though a campground and on some paved roads to complete the hike.

Saturday 5/18/19 9.20a-1.30p. 50's°F. Best thing: not too many people on a Saturday. Beautiful varied terrain from cedar forest to meadow to babbling brooks. I would park at Doane Pond and start from there. Dont forget to do the inner loop in the Doane Nature Reserve - lovely. I felt it was signed perfectly well. Just remember you are doing a loop that is made up of many individual trails. Use Alltrails with GPS in Airplane mode and you should be fine. Enjoy!

Nice and varied terrain. Needs better signage. Beautiful scenery

Beautiful hike! I would suggest a trail map and not rely on AllTrails. They only mention some of the trail names and it is very easy to take several different trails. The trails are not well marked so it can get confusing. You can easily add on to these trails. We actually started at Boucher and took about 4 different trails to make a loop. Scenery is beautiful! You need to pay for parking. Enjoy!

Great hike, one of my favorites.

I did a few off loop sections and changed it up a bit but was a great workout great trail started heading up towards the lookout tower from trailhead that was probably the tuffest hill. Moderate to strenuous depending on pack be number of trees down

It’s kind of hard to find the entrance so we ended up going through it backwards. The way we went go down to the road from 1st picnic area and look for the cabin trail. That’s the beginning.

Fun hike, a lot of different terrains. Forest, open meadow/tall grasses, creeks there was one area that prob stretched for over a mile that was almost canopy/tunnel like, you were just surrounded by plants one either side down a narrowish trail. Although the trails are labeled I recommend getting a map, (I would assume they pass them out at the ranger station),we got ours from passing hikers. It was very helpful! The terrain ranges from sand to dirt in some areas I don’t believe we came across any rocky areas. A good hike and several rest areas as you go benches etc

Beautiful hike. Lots of scenery!

hiking
bridge out
muddy
off trail
rocky
washed out
7 months ago

So many different terrains! Amazing trail. Got a little confusing at some points but the mystery made it fun!

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
7 months ago

Great hike. Took Scott’s cabin spur to Chimney flats and then took the detour to the Weir Historic site. So I did it backwards, rather than starting at the lookout, that’s were my hike ended. Much more rewarding that way. In total the ruck was about 10.5 miles from what my mile counter said. This is definitely a moderate to difficult hike in most areas. If you’re only doing 2-3 miles of trails at a time then it’s easy. Put em all together it gets a little hard. Absolutely beautiful scenery and views. Flora and Fauna were quite awe inspiring as well. Doing most of the trails in the park is well worth it. Overall one of the best hikes I’ve been on and had some great challenges. Did this hike in under 3 hours.

Great hike/walk. Beautiful overall. I mainly stayed on the Weir Trail Loop

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!

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.

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