Palomar High Point

I wanted to get a bit east to escape any marine layer to see the annular eclipse. So I opted to make the long drive up to Palomar High Point. I wasn’t interested in making the long hike up from Oak Grove (been there, done that), so instead I opted to drive part way up, park and hike from there. I stopped off at Farmhouse 78 in Santa Ysabel for some biscuits and gravy. As I passed through Warner Springs, quite a few cars were parked near the trailhead for Eagle Rock. Soon I reached the turn off to Palomar Divide Truck Trail and began the long drive up. I kept an eye on the time so I could stop and observe the eclipse. I found a nice spot to pull off to enjoy both my breakfast and the eclipse. I tried taking a few photos, but nothing turned out. One of the things I was curious about was the condition of the road after Hillary came through. I knew there was some road damage on Hot Springs Mountain’s road. For the most part the road seemed to be about in the same condition as the last time I drove it.

I parked at my usual spot, grabbed my gear, and set off. After about a minute, I had to reach into my pack to find my bug net. I had about 1.5 miles to the summit and made good time up the road. Soon the fire lookout tower came into view. Apart from whoever was staffing the tower, I was the only one there. I snapped a few photos. Looking to the west at the Observatory, I wondered how packed it was?

Gaia shows a trail leading down from the summit to the east, but I scanned the slope and failed to spot anything. Since I was alone, I didn’t feel comfortable going off trail, so I headed back down the same way. Once back at the car, I removed my bug net, stowed my gear and began the long drive back down. As I passed the Barker Valley Trailhead, three cars were parked there. One day I will have to explore that trail. A bit later a lone motorcyclist was making their way up, and a bit later a fellow Outback owner as well. Thankfully we were at a spot where we could easily pass. There are a few sections that would be a bit tricky for two cars to get by each other. A couple miles later, a lone mountain biker was making her way up! Finally I reached the 79 and began the drive home. My shortened hike was 2.84 miles with 540 feet of gain.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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