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Palomar Mountain State Park

Open Now: 5:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Open today: 5:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Review Highlights
one of my favourite places in Socal

Been there numerous times. It's amazing to be at elevation 6,000 ft just 30 miles from the ocean as... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Jim C
Oceanside, California
Careful if you fear heights

This was a fun trip but the drive was wild. The views were terrific. I can't believe people were... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Elgin, Illinois
Read all 102 reviews
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Traveler Overview
  • Excellent56%
  • Very good32%
  • Average9%
  • Poor3%
  • Terrible0%
Travelers talk about
“hiking trails”(8 reviews)
“san diego”(12 reviews)
“fire tower”(2 reviews)
This park's Sierra-Nevada like atmosphere is unique in Southern California.
Open Now
Hours Today: 5:00 AM - 10:00 PM
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State Park Road, Escondido, CA
+1 760-742-3462
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Reviews (102)
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All reviews hiking trails san diego fire tower beautiful drive picnic area boucher lookout telescope ranger observatory trees snow harrison elevation mnt fishing switchbacks
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1 - 10 of 98 reviews
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Been there numerous times. It's amazing to be at elevation 6,000 ft just 30 miles from the ocean as the crow flies. Very relaxing, very quiet, mild temperatures in hot summer days. I've never seen snow in winter yet but must be astounding. Ocean can...More

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank Jim C
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This was a fun trip but the drive was wild. The views were terrific. I can't believe people were biking up the mountain. They must have thighs like tree trunks. The hikes were beautiful and there were redwoods around which were really impressive. We picnicked...More

Date of experience: November 2018
1  Thank K_Gart
Reviewed October 16, 2018

We did a group camping trip to Palomar Mountain State Park. The Campsite was large enough for three huge tents with a fire ring, picnic table, water spicket and food locker. For the money this site was a definite great value. They have full water...More

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank Sarah S
Reviewed October 12, 2018

Really interesting. No guided tours on weekday but the museum exhibits have all the info needed. Hardly anyone there which made it even better! Well maintained. Beautiful drive & location. Awesome telescope. Chilly inside, bring wrap. Best I've seen. And free!

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank SCVoyageur
Reviewed August 15, 2018

We love the back country of San Diego. Palomar mnt is awesome. The telescope is breathtaking. All children, well even adults should learn the story of Palomar. A wonderful, educational, experience for alll. Take your own food and drink.

Date of experience: May 2018
Thank dcardenas9898
Reviewed August 1, 2018 via mobile

Wow! The ride on the windy roads up to the the tower was quite the experience! Many beautiful sports car on the road for the joy ride. Once you get to the tower, they allow you to go inside for the breathtaking view. Staff was...More

Date of experience: May 2018
1  Thank Lsy Y
Reviewed April 25, 2018

The story and view of the dome is impressive. The views from the top and on the drive up are great. April does a great time, warm but not hot and even on a Friday not too busy.

Date of experience: April 2018
2  Thank BernieKam
Reviewed April 4, 2018

The day my husband and I drove up here it had snowed and was beautiful watching the sun come out and melt it all. Great views back toward the coast and crisp fresh air! The drive was very relaxed and a great way to spend...More

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank Kristie P
Reviewed January 16, 2018 via mobile

Drove out for day while staying in Carlsbad. Interesting drive up mountain to park, switchbacks as you climb from 2000 to 5000 feet. I’m from zero in Florida, so very exciting. The vegetation changes with elevation, so pay attention. No one at entrance when I...More

Date of experience: January 2018
6  Thank Jak-cra
Reviewed November 14, 2017

We spent a leisurely afternoon at this small park that sits at about 5,200 ft. in elevation. We enjoyed a 3-mile loop hike on a trail that gently descended and rose back up to arrive at a fire lookout station. If it's not crowded, it's...More

Date of experience: November 2017
1  Thank Dale W
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Questions & Answers
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Timothy F
March 12, 2018|
Response from 733kellir | Reviewed this property |
I’m not aware of any but, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I do know there is a large Casino hotel at the foot of the mountain, Harrah’s Rincon I believe? Sorry this took so long.
Jessica J
April 5, 2017|
Response from ricsandimas | Reviewed this property |
I didn't get a chance to go to the campsites; I stayed at the picnic area. I'm sure someone else will be able to help you. I definitely need to go back. Have a great stay!
Travel Forum Posts
Toronto, Canada
Advice on scenic drive from Calexico / Mexicali to LAX (1 Replies)
Hello All, We will be driving from Mexicali / Calexico to catch our flight home from LAX. Well our flight home is the following day so we don't mind taking our time getting back to LA. We will be armed with a GPS but we are looking for some good via points. We have a convertible rented, and we don't plan on hiking or stopping outside of a few scenic vista stops and gas/fuel. We are in our 20's btw. If there are decent museums or welcome centers we would probably stop at those. We'd love...More
September 25, 2012|
Response fromspap|
If you really want to feel like a tiny speck in a gigantic desert, take I-8 west to Ocotillo, then go north on County Route 2. This eventually will rise up over unbelivable vistats as you get close to Borrego Springs. There is an excellent visitor's center there. That drive is spectacular. You could then head west on County Route 22 and connect up with CA-78 to Julian, then on to the coast and up to LAX. I made a similar trip earlier this year. It was really fabulously scenic.
Robbinsdale, Minnesota
Hiking (5 Replies)
My wife and our Mom's will be visiting late April, any suggestions for hiking would be appreciated- is Palomar Mountain State Park a good option? THX !
March 27, 2008|
Response fromRiff M|
I have not hiked Palomar. Another close by beautiful place for hiking would be Torrey Pines State Park.It is very easy to reach from Carlsbad by driving south along the coast or by taking I-5 south.