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Agua Tibia Wilderness




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General Information

Description - The steep, chaparral-covered mountains of Agua Tibia Wilderness give way to stands of fir, pine, and oak at higher elevations that rise above 4,400 feet on Agua Tibia Mountain and above 5,000 feet on Eagle Crag.

The Dripping Springs Trail (about 6.8 miles long), part of approximately 25 miles of pathways, receives light human use and provides the main access to the area. The trail crosses boulder-strewn Arroyo Seco Creek and climbs Agua Tibia Mountain with splendid views of the mountains of southern California. From the crest of the mountain, the Palomar-McGee Trail (about 5.5 miles) enters a forest, descends to Crosley Saddle, and continues south near Eagle Crag before branching off into the Wilderness. No overnight use of pack stock is permitted, and campfires, hibachis, and barbecues are not allowed. Groups are limited to 15 people. The western portion of the Wilderness is dry and seldom seen.

Visitor use permits are required for overnight stays in the Wilderness.

Attractions - Palomar Mountain is located 35 miles east of Oceanside off Highway 76. County Road S6 (South Grade Road) leads to Palomar Observatory and two Forest Service campgrounds. County Road S7 (East Grade Road) leads to Palomar Mountain State Park.

The Observatory is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology and houses four telescopes. The observatory is open to the public 9 AM to 4 PM daily for a self-guided tour of the 100-inch telescope.

At the nearby Fry Creek and Observatory Campgrounds you can camp under evergreens and oak trees. The 2.1-miles Observatory Trail begins at the east end of the Observatory Campground and ends at the Observatory.

To the north, the main access to the Agua Tibia Wilderness is the Dripping Springs Trail (about 6.8 miles long), part of approximately 25 miles of pathways in the wilderness.

The best time to hike is from late autumn through early spring. The rest of the year temperatures can reach as high was 100 degrees F during the summer months.

Recreation - Most visitors enjoy hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. Tent, RV and group camping, along with several picnic areas comprise the recreation options found on Palomar Ranger District.

Forest visitors on the San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests of Southern California are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle when parked in the Forest. The cost is $5 per day or $30 per year and can be purchased in any Forest Service office or over 350 businesses throughout Southern California.

Climate - A warm, dry Mediterranean climate prevails over the Cleveland National Forest - hot in the summer, mild in the winter. Most of the precipitation comes as rain during the winter months.

Location - The Palomar Ranger District is located in the center of the Cleveland National Forest North of Ramona on the east side of Interstate 15.

Directions from Temecula, CA: Travel east along Highway 79 to the Dripping Springs Trailhead. Vehicles in the parking lot must display a Forest Adventure Pass.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Year-round.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Jose (Aguanga, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: 9-05-04 9am about 85 degree in temp. did about 6 mile turn around. Lots lizard activity no sign of water or moister to that point the ferns in the creeks where brown but not dead. There is one place about 1.75 miles in where the trail gets narrow due to fallen oak tree but passible. still warm went thru 70 oz of water on the hike but it was good to get a good sweat going. I saw nobody on the trail.


Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Permit Required
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Permit Required
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding No Meadow Grazing
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Agua Tibia Wilderness
Yes
ICON Viewing Wildlife Birds, Mammals, Reptiles
Yes


More Information

Additional Information:
Palomar Ranger District - Palomar Ranger District is named for Palomar Mountain, a 6,126 foot rounded peak in the middle of the District. Palomar, meaning "dove" in colonial Spanish, was named by settlers who saw flocks of birds around the mountain.

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