May 2022 Activity: Palomar Mountain Hike

Please join us for a “forest bathing” hike at Palomar Mountain with SCPS chair and nature photographer Alexander S. Kunz in May. Palomar Mountain’s forest offers a special treat at this time of the year: Mountain Dogwood is in bloom, and big, showy white flowers will be swaying in the breeze in the forest.

As usual, this is not a Sierra Club outing. No Certified Outing Leader will be present. You may join, leave, participate as you wish on the scheduled date, and at your own risk. Please continue reading for the details. Our activities are open to the public.

Besides the dogwoods, on our route we will also enjoy greenery of the forest, expansive views into the land from the Silver Crest Trail, passing by the ruins of Scott’s Cabin, and a stop a Doane Pond.


  • DATE: Saturday, May 7, 2022
  • TIME: we begin to walk at 8 AM sharp, plan your arrival accordingly
  • LOCATION: Coordinates 33.32864° N, 116.89955° W (Google Maps)
    • this is a paved parking area about 1/4 mile BEFORE the Palomar Mountain State Park pay/entrance station
    • the address 19952 State Park Rd, Palomar Mountain, CA may or may NOT work for navigation
  • DISTANCE: ~4 miles loop, STRENUOUS with steep up & downhill sections on partially narrow trails
  • FEES: none

NOTE: Parking is limited. Please consider carpooling with a person you know and trust about their vaccination status and pandemic-related situation.

Photography Subjects

A wide variety of more or less challenging subjects offer themselves to photographers, including:

  • expansive views into the land (if the conditions work in our favor we might be above the marine clouds — or we’ll be socked in)
  • lush forest scenery with, depending on the weather, dappled light or fog
  • flower and plant close-ups and macros
  • birds like Scrub Jays, Nuthatch, Bluebirds, Woodpeckers, and many more

Depending on your preference, all lenses from ultra-wide angle (to photograph the tree canopy) over macro to super-telephoto for birds are useful here. A polarizer will come in handy for landscape-type photography to reduce glare on foliage. Depending on the weather and cloud coverage, challenging conditions with high contrast may exist especially for forest photography. A tripod may be useful for bracketing multiple exposures.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or send an email, as usual.

Feature image: Looking up at a backlit canopy of Cornus nuttallii (Mountain Dogwood) with flowers in bloom at Palomar Mountain; May 2019. © Alexander S. Kunz

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