Boucher Hill Lookout (dayhike)

Trip Date: 7/23/2015 

Location: Palomar Mountain State Park

Permit/Pass: Day use fees: $8.00/vehicle

Maps: Park

Directions: (Adapted from From Interstate 15 north of Escondido take the Highway 76 East exit. Travel about 20.7 miles until you come to a slight turn off on your left called "Palomar Mountain Road", also called "S6" or "South Grade Road". Travel up the mountain for 6.8 miles to a stop sign. Turn left and continue for a few yards. Ahead on your left you'll see a general store and a restaurant; turn left onto the road just before the general store - that's State Park Road. Keep going for about 3 miles. You'll eventually reach the park entrance/boundary and a big sign on your right. Before long you'll come to a stop sign and a small building on your right; that's the park HQ. From here, the parking for the Boucher Trail trailhead is up the road a mile or so at the junction with Doane Valley Rd. The trailhead is between the two paved access roads to the top.

Synopsis: This hike is short, and fun - especially on a clear day - but it's got some steep sections that should give you pause if you're looking for a stroll. Otherwise, the views from the top, stretching all the way from San Gorgonio to Santiago to Catalina to (when it's really clear) the Coronado Islands, are worth the effort.

Trail sequence: Boucher Trail / Boucher Trail

Type: Out and back

Distance: 1.4 miles

Elevation: Min. - 5126', Max. - 5497'


Rating: Easy (factors: steep sections) 

Trail Notes: If you manage to take this trail on a day when the lookout tower is staffed, and you're lucky, they may invite you up to take a look around. 


Boucher Hill Lookout Tower - Palomar Mountain SP


Turn by Turn:

  -- This hike could hardly be simpler. After picking up the path at the trailhead, you proceed up a steep section before finally leveling out somewhat.

  -- After maybe a half-mile the trail appears to drop down to a paved road. But you'll soon see that it continues off to the right (north) side of the road. From here it's a short distance to the end of the trail at the lookout and viewing deck.

  -- We've returned this hike by way of one of the access roads, but I find taking the trail back is more comfortable.


Video: Youtube