Palomar Mountain State Park is one of the CA parks slated for temporary closure (Nov. 30) due to budget cuts. So, I decided to take the opportunity to revisit the park one last time for a fall hike. The drive takes about 90 minutes from northern San Diego. I reached the park entrance and paid the $8 entrance fee and parked at the Silvercrest parking lot and began my hike around 10:30am. My new REI mini temperature reader said high 50s-low 60s. My plan was to do a combination of trails that would create a loop around the park, but the Scott Cabin trail, which is where I wanted to begin, was closed due to logging. So I started going down on the Boucher Trail. The beginning portion towards the lookout is rather nice, but then afterwars it becomes uninspiring due to the dead trees and rugged brush.
After passing Cedar Grove campground and hiking through Doane Valley meadow, I stopped for lunch at the Doane Valley Campground. Several camping sites were taken, but it wasn’t completely full. Whenever I come here it never seems to be crowded like Cuyamaca State Park. After my lunch break I headed towards the Upper Doane Valley Trail and Thunder Spring Trail, but those unfortunately were also closed due to logging. Thus, my plan for a loop ended up being an out-and-back hike. That meant hiking up steep trails after lunch! I returned to the lot around 2pm after covering about 8-9 miles. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend hiking here as the dead trees are depressing. Instead, I would go to the Laguna Mountains. But the drive to the observatory and overlooking Lake Henshaw is rather impressive.