The 13-mile roundtrip Oak Grove Trail leading up Palomar Mountain in Palomar Mountain State Park is a really strenuous, yet highly rewarding hike or trail run for those looking to challenge themselves.
The high elevations of Palomar Mountain State Park make for some really beautiful alpine forests and meadows. The park stretches out over 1,700-acres and features plenty of scenic hiking and trail running trails. The highest point in the park is, you guessed it, Palomar Mountain, and the Oak Grove to High Point Trail is one particularly popular route for reaching the summit.
What Makes It Great
The Oak Grove to High Point trail is 13-miles roundtrip with about 3,600-feet in elevation change, so completing this trail will require quite a bit of effort. You can run or hike it, but you'll need to be in good condition either way.
The trail begins at Oak Grove, a small community located off Highway 79. From there, it's pretty easy to find and follow the Oak Grove Trail signage, and you'll know you're going the right way if you're going up. You'll pass through chaparral, small running streams, and thick pine and cedar forests.
The first few miles will be pretty steep, but you'll eventually come to a more casual fire road, and once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with some amazing views of the surrounding San Jacinto peaks. Whether you're going for a long day-hike or a strenuous trail run, Palomar Mountain will certainly leave you feeling satisfied... and exhausted.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a trail that will test your physical fitness. The uphill has some steep rocky sections, but also some easier dirt sections where you can pick up your pace. It's a bit long for most children, but is a great hike to prepare for longer adventures, or to spend most of a day in nature.
From Los Angeles, drive south on I-15 to Highway 79 South (Temecula). Follow Hwy 79 approx. 25 miles southeast to the Forest Service station at Oak Grove (west side of highway). Trailhead parking is located behind the office.
From San Diego, follow I-8 east to Highway 67. Follow Hwy 67 north to Ramona. Follow Highway 78 east to Santa Ysabel and the junction with Highway 79. Follow Hwy 79 north, approx. 30 miles, to the Forest Service station at Oak Grove.