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Camping: California > Cleveland National Forest > Palomar Ranger District

Quick Facts

Observatory Trail

Beginning Elevation: 4,800 Feet (1496.3 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 700 Feet (218.2 Meters)
High Point: 5,500 Feet (1714.5 Meters)
Length: 2.2 Miles (3.67 Kilometers)




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

The Observatory National Recreational Trail offers a pleasant 2.2-mile hike to the Palomar Observatory site. It meanders through pine and oak woodlands and offers some great views of the Mendenhall and French Valleys. Best time of the year to hike this trail is spring and summer.

Forest maps available at Palomar Ranger District Office located on Black Canyon Road in Ramona.

Directions from LA Basin: Head east on Hwy 76 to S6 and drive north toward Palomar Mountain. Follow S6 to Observatory Campground. Trailhead parking is near the amphitheater inside the campground (follow the signs). Vehicles must display a Forest Adventure Pass. The trailhead is adjacent to the amphitheater.

Directions from San Diego, CA: Drive north on Interstate 15 to Highway 76. Head east on Hwy 76 to S6 and drive north toward Palomar Mountain. Follow S6 to Observatory Campground. Trailhead parking is near the amphitheater inside the campground (follow the signs). Vehicles must display a Forest Adventure Pass. The trailhead is adjacent to the amphitheater.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Early Spring through Late Fall .



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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Nature Study Palomar Observatory
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Observatory Trail
Yes
ICON Plant Identification Pine and Oak Woodlands
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Mendenhall and French Valleys
Yes
ICON Viewing Wildlife Palomar Ranger District
Yes



More Information

Visitor Information:

Palomar Ranger District, 1634 Black Canyon Rd. , Ramona, CA, 92065, Phone: 760-788-0250, Fax: 760-788-6130, mailprd/r5_cleveland@fs.fed.us

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