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Welcome to
Palomar Mountain State Park

 

Palomar Mountain State Park


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Palomar Mountain is the location of Palomar Mountain State Park, a California State Park. There are campgrounds for vacationers, as well as a campground for local school children. The park averages 70,000 visitors annually. The campgrounds in the park were temporarily closed on October 2, 2011, due to state budget cuts, and the park was among 70 California State Parks threatened by budget cuts in fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, but the park and the campgrounds remain open.

High Point in the Palomar Mountain range is one of the highest peaks in San Diego County, at 6,140 feet, although Cuyapaipe Mountain in Laguna Mountains is slightly higher, at 6,378 feet, and they are dwarfed by the higher 11,500 feet San Bernardino Mountains a relatively short distance north in San Bernardino County and Riverside County and the 14,500 feet high Mount Whitney some 250 mi further north. It is located roughly two miles east of the observatory, however, it is not accessible for the public from that direction (the observatory itself and adjacent land are private property and the road to High Point from the observatory is blocked by a permanently closed gate.) It may be reached via Palomar Divide Truck Trail, a dirt road that starts off highway 79 near Warner Springs, California. The trip is 13 miles one way with 3000' of elevation gain via Palomar Divide Truck Trail.

At the base of Palomar Mountain on S6 is Oak Knoll Campground, formerly known as Palomar Gardens. Palomar Gardens was made somewhat famous by an earlier resident George Adamski. Adamski had an observatory at Palomar Gardens and photographed objects in the night sky that he claimed were UFOs. Adamski co-authored Flying Saucers Have Landed in 1953, about his alien encounter experiences. The 1977 film The Crater Lake Monster had many scenes filmed on Palomar Mountain, including scenes shot at the summit restaurant, but not the scenes of the monster in a lake.

Beginning in the 1920s a lookout tower has been present on Boucher Hill on Palomar Mountain. The tower had been active until it was abandoned in 1983, and then was reactivated when volunteers began manning it on and off starting in 1990. Alongside this tower is High Point lookout, also on Palomar Mountain, which has since 2009 been the first observer of a half-dozen lightning caused fires.

Doane Valley, located within the State Park, is home to the Camp Palomar Outdoor School for 6th grade students in the San Diego Unified School District.

Location-Directions
Palomar Mountain State Park features spectacular views of the Pacific, camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing (trout) in Doane Pond. Coniferous forests cover much of the 1,897, in contrast to the dry lowlands surrounding the mountain. This is one of the few Southern California areas with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere.

The park is off Highway 76, up Highway S6, then left on Highway S7 at the junction near the mountaintop.
Latitude: 33.332205
Longitude: -116.906494

PICNICKING
Silvercrest picnic area, near park headquarters, has wood stoves, piped drinking water and restrooms. Gathering of dead wood or other plant material is not permitted. Firewood must be brought into the park or purchased from the park staff. Day-use hours are 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

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