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Tour Palomar California

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Tour Palomar Mountain

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    The most famous mountain in San Diego County, Palomar Mountain is located 35 miles east of Oceanside off highway 76. County Road S6 leads to the Observatory and County Road S7 leads to Palomar Mountain State Park.

    Mountain springs keep the area green well into summer. The lush landscape includes bracken ferns and ponderosa pines.

    Palomar mountain stands isolated from the rest of the Agua Tibia Mountain Range. It's location is such that it intercepts many storms coming from the coast making it one of the wettest locations in Southern California. In 1993 a record 97 inches of rain was recorded. And at 6,126 feet elevation, it is high enough to get a good dosage of snowfall every year.

    Wildlife native to the mountain include mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer and even a subspecies of banana slug.

    Tour Cleveland National Forest

    Southern most of California's protected forest lands includes 430,000 acres of San Diego, Orange and Riverside. This watershed reserve of conifers and chapparel is an abundant source of natural wildlife and outdoor recreational opportunities such hiking, camping, fishing and sightseeing.

    Bring a pair of binoculars or a telescope to enjoy the might vistas on a clear day. The best time for is the day or two immediately after a major storm that has blown out all the haze and smog. You can see the Coronado Islands (Mexico) 65 miles to the south and also maybe San Clemente Island 90 miles due west across the ocean.

    Palomar Mountain State Park


    The state park has 31 campsites and some of the nicest hiking trails in the area. There are an additional 42 campsites at Observatory Campground. For camping reservations 800-444-7275 or 760-788-0250.

    For more info see also Cleveland National Forest.

    Hiking Trails

    • Doane Valley Nature Trail - To Doane Valley pond.
    • Weir Trail - Visits the mountain glade and pond.
    • French Valley Trail - Leads to French Creek.
    • Observatory Trail - Starts at Observatory Campground and goes 4.5 miles uphill (750 foot climb) to the Observatory and past scenic Mendenhall Valley overlook.
    • Boucher Hill - Historic 1949 fire lookout with views of most of San Diego County, the Coronado Islands. At night it is sometimes possible to see the lights on the Coronado Bay Bridge.

    Exciting Bike Routes

    The County Roads on Palomar Mountain provide excellent downhill runs leading all the way to Pauma Valley.

    Palomar Observatory

    In the 1930's Caltech scientists began their search for a remote location for an observatory in the Southern California and Arizona mountains. They picked Palomar for its clear dry air. The observatory was completed in 1938 but World War II delayed arrival of the giant 14.5 ton - 200 inch Hale Telescope until 1947. When first installed it was the world's largest telescope.

    No, you cannot look in the telescope, but you can see it from the gallery and also get an impressive view of the night sky. Located at the 5,500 foot elevation, about 600 feet below the summit, the museum and telescope viewing gallery are open year-round daily 9-4. The gift shop is open every weekend and daily during the summer (July 1st - Aug 31st).

    Palomar Observatory - CalTech
    Palomar Observatory is home to the historic Hale 200-inch telescope. Other facilities on the mountain include the 60-inch, 48-inch, 18-inch and the Snoop telescopes. The 60-inch telescope is home to the Automated Transient Observing System. The 48-inch telescope is home to the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking and Palomar-QUEST surveys.

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