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The most famous mountain in San Diego County, Palomar Mountain is located 35 miles east of Oceanside off highway 76. County Road S6 leads to the Observatory and County Road S7 leads to Palomar Mountain State Park.
Mountain springs keep the area green well into summer. The lush landscape includes bracken ferns and ponderosa pines.
Palomar mountain stands isolated from the rest of the Agua Tibia Mountain Range. It's location is such that it intercepts many storms coming from the coast making it one of the wettest locations in Southern California. In 1993 a record 97 inches of rain was recorded. And at 6,126 feet elevation, it is high enough to get a good dosage of snowfall every year.
Wildlife native to the mountain include mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer and even a subspecies of banana slug.
Southern most of California's protected forest lands includes 430,000 acres of San Diego, Orange and Riverside. This watershed reserve of conifers and chapparel is an abundant source of natural wildlife and outdoor recreational opportunities such hiking, camping, fishing and sightseeing.
The state park has 31 campsites and some of the nicest hiking trails in the area. There are an additional 42 campsites at Observatory Campground. For camping reservations 800-444-7275 or 760-788-0250.
For more info see also Cleveland National Forest.
Exciting Bike Routes
The County Roads on Palomar Mountain provide excellent downhill runs
leading all the way to Pauma Valley.
In the 1930's Caltech scientists began their search for a remote location for an observatory in the Southern California and Arizona mountains. They picked Palomar for its clear dry air. The observatory was completed in 1938 but World War II delayed arrival of the giant 14.5 ton - 200 inch Hale Telescope until 1947. When first installed it was the world's largest telescope.
No, you cannot look in the telescope, but you can see it from the gallery and also get an impressive view of the night sky. Located at the 5,500 foot elevation, about 600 feet below the summit, the museum and telescope viewing gallery are open year-round daily 9-4. The gift shop is open every weekend and daily during the summer (July 1st - Aug 31st).
Palomar Observatory - CalTech
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