Palomar Mountain


Palomar Mountain is a mountain ridge in the Peninsular Ranges in northern San Diego County. It is famous for the Palomar Observatory and Hale Telescope and is home to the Palomar Mountain State Park. Palomar Mountain has plenty of adventure to offer any van or RV nomad to include hiking, camping, bird watching, and visiting the observatory. 


Palomar Mountain offers van and RV nomads a great escape out of the city to spend time in the wilderness. The beautiful forest and mountain meadows of Palomar Mountain State Park are in northern San Diego County, high atop the west side of Palomar Mountain. 


There are many trails located within Mt. Palomar and the state park. The most popular trail is the Observatory trail that goes from the Observatory Campground to the observatory. The most popular trails in the area are:

  • Observatory Trail (4.6 Miles Moderate)
  • Thunder Springs Trail (3.6 Miles Moderate)
  • Boucher Hill Loop (1.9 Miles Easy)


There are a number of campgrounds located around Mt. Palomar. All of these campgrounds are accessible for van or small RV, have restrooms and water. These campgrounds include:

  • Fly Creek Campground
  • Observatory Campground
  • Doane Valley Campground
  • Cedar Grove Group Campground

Mount Palomar State Park

Mount Palomar State Park is a great place to visit and spend the day. The park features camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing (trout) in Doane Pond. Coniferous forests cover much of the 1,862 acres, in contrast to the dry lowlands surrounding the mountain.

Brochure: Palomar Mountain State Park Brochure

The park has an elevation that averages 5,000 feet above sea level, making evenings cool even during the summer. There are a number of vista points offer spectacular panoramic views both westerly toward the ocean and inland toward the desert.  There, you’ll also find the historic Boucher Hill Fire Lookout.

  • Day use fees are $10.00 per vehicle, cash or check only.
  • Trails are open to foot traffic only, and dogs and mountain bikes are not allowed on trails.

Warner Springs Gliderport

Warner Springs Airport is one of the premier glider ports in Southern California and is located a mile north of Warner Springs. If you have ever dreamed about soaring among the birds and clouds without an engine, then flying in a glider is for you. Located at Warner Springs Airport is Sky Sailing. They offer glider rides, tours, and instructions every day of the week.

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Julian is a beautiful mountain town located in the Cuyamaca mountains. The town dates back to the 1870’s gold rush in the early days of California and has a rich history. As a result, Julian has shops housed in historic buildings, a historic hotel, and many restaurants. It’s also known for its famous apple pies that attract visitors worldwide.

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