The Doane Valley Nature Trail in Palomar Mountain State Park is a beautiful little interpretive trail in the heart of Palomar. This short little hike takes you along Doane Creek (and across it several times), through towering cedars and pines, and along the edge of a meadow. This is a great choice if you have young children or non-hikers in your group and you want an easy stroll through some spectacular scenery. You can download an interpretive guide with information about various numbered exhibits you will find along the trail.
We started at the Doane Pond Day Use Parking area, the starting point for several great hikes in Palomar, as well as an excellent picnic spot. We found the trailhead on the western edge of the parking lot. The trail led downhill and crossed the shallow Doane Creek.
We enjoyed the cool, quiet of the shady woods and the sound of the creek burbling alongside us. Numbered posts dotted the trail, indicating items of interest that corresponded to the interpretive guide.
At .17 miles we came to a “Y” junction. The left fork leads to a longer loop that visits the Weir. We stayed right, following signs for the Nature Trail.
Take I-15 north to the Via Rancho Parkway exit. Turn right onto E Via Rancho Parkway, continue as it turns into Bear Valley Parkway. Turn right onto E Valley Parkway, continue as it turns into Valley Center Road. Turn right onto CA-76 East. After approximately 6 miles, make a slight left onto S Grade Rd/Palomar Mountain Rd. Turn left onto S Grade Road, then turn left again onto State Park Road. Follow the road to the Park entrance where you will stop and pay your entry fee. Then follow the road down to the Doane Pond parking area. map
|Total Distance:||1 mile|
|Total Ascent:||150 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Dogs not allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes not allowed|
|Facilities:||Restrooms and water at trailhead|
|Fees/Permits:||$10 per vehicle day use fee|
For more information, visit:
California Department of Parks and Recreation – Palomar Mountain State Park
Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park
View route or download GPX from CalTopo
Interpretive Trail Guide