Palomar State Park is 49 minutes from I-15 and S-76. The entrance/parking fee for day use is $5.00 per car, plus $1.00 per dog, payable at the entrance kiosk. Note that even though dogs are permitted in the park, they are not allowed on the trails, with large signs at the beginning of most trails noting that fact. (I didn't know this beforehand, or I wouldn't have brought Reggie.) The Silver Crest Picnic Area is immediately to the left after the kiosk.
It was quite brisk, so I wore two sweatshirts (I still had my hiking shorts on). We walked back to the road, and continued west on the road to the intersection of 5 roads (1/3 mile from parking lot). We took the unmarked ridge trail that parallels both halves of the loop road going to the microwave antennae at Boucher Hill. (No dog restrictions on this trail were posted.) The oak leaves were about half-fallen, making a carpet of leaves on the trail. It was quite different hiking through oaks instead of pine trees or scrubbrush. The loop road was not evident soon after the beginning of the trail.
I was impressed with the amount of equipment on Boucher Hill. There are a lot of antennae as well as a lot of microwave repeaters.
The Boucher Trail goes northwest from the western end of the loop road, and there is where I first learned about the dog restrictions. I had intended to hike the Boucher Trail, crossing Harrison Road and taking the Adams Trail, then the Scott's Cabin Trail back to Silver Crest. After debating some moments as to what to do, I concluded that Reggie would simply have to meet me at the intersection of the Boucher Trail and Harrison Road, and we could then hike along Harrison Road back to the car.
The Boucher Trail is quite pleasant, reminding me of many hikes at the higher elevations in the San Gabriels. There were two trees hanging low across the trail, necessitating getting on all fours at one point to get under one. One must be careful brushing off branches of vines, since some of the vines are wild raspberry bushes with serious thorns.
Even hiking along Harrison Road was quite pleasant. There was no one else on any of the trails except myself, and without traffic on the road it was a nice hike.
For more information, see Afoot and Afield in San Diego County by Jerry Schad, Wilderness Press, 1986, p. 71 (Area M-2: Palomar Mountain: Trip 1: Scott's Cabin/Boucher Hill Loop), Cleveland National Forest, and Palomar State Park.
Explanation of column headings
|Recording number||Mileage||Time arrived||Time left||Altitude||Comments|
|0||0.00||10:45||Silver Crest Parking Lot|
|1||0.30||10:50||5250||Junction of 5 roads|
|3||1.45||11:29||5100||Just crawled under low tree trunk and met a few raspberry vines before then|
|4||1.70||11:37||5100||Jct. Harrison Road|
|5||2.40||11:57||5250||Junction of 5 roads, via Harrison Road|
|6||2.70||12:02||5300||Silver Crest Parking Lot|