Observatory Trail

Cleveland National Forest, California

Elevation Gain1,254ft
Trailhead Elevation5,513ft
Elevation Min/Max4867/5518ft
Elevation Start/End5513/5513ft

Observatory Trail

Observatory Trail is a hiking and biking trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Cleveland National Forest. It is two miles long and begins at 5,513 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,254 feet. Near the trailhead there are a parking, bbqs, a theatre, drinking waters, and restrooms. Along the trail there is a viewpoint.

Observatory Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"The Observatory Trail is one of only four National Recreation trails in San Diego County. You can walk it uphill, downhill, or both ways; but why not make it easy and have someone drop you off at Palomar Observatory and meet you later down at Observatory Campground? There are only 2 miles of paved road in between the two trailheads."

Observatory Trail Trip Reports

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my wife and I took our energetic 4 year old on her 1st hike and I must admit it was a little challenging for a 4 year old but she did it. It was a total of 4.4 miles roundtrip if you park at the campground and walk up. I wouldn't suggest this for someones 1st hike, too hilly.

Observatory Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Cleveland National Forest
Nearby City
Cleveland National Forest
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Skill Level
Palomar Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Palomar Observatory, Boucher Hill
Local Maps