Enjoy rewarding hike at Palomar Mountain trail, courtesy of Canyoneers

The Palomar Mountain Observatory Trail is one of only four National Recreation Trails in San Diego County, California. From the tree-shaded, well-maintained trail there are bucolic vistas of grassy meadows with grazing cattle.

It also provides a chance to visit the Hale Telescope and the world-class Palomar Observatory. It is easily accessible and is a rewarding hike year-round. Palomar Mountain rises steeply from the Pauma Valley in the west and the Temecula Creek valley in the east, but the mountain itself consists of gentle rolling hills blanketed by a lush mixed forest of conifers and oaks with scattered patches of chaparral.

Palomar Mountain also is the home of the 200-inch Hale Telescope, only two miles from the campground and the trailhead. The Palomar Mountain Observatory, operated by Caltech and open to the public, has made fundamental discoveries about some of the most distant points of the universe and continues to be an important contributor to astronomy. The telescope and a small nearby museum are open to visitors daily.

Canyoneers are San Diego Natural History Museum volunteers trained to lead interpretive nature walks that teach appreciation for the great outdoors. For a schedule of free public hikes, refer to the San Diego Natural History Museum website.

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