November 2019 Activity: Fall Color Hike at Palomar Mountain

Please join our vice chair Alexander S. Kunz for a fall-color hike on Palomar Mountain’s Observatory Trail. The hike is about 4 miles (out and back) with an estimated 650 feet of elevation change. We start at the Observatory Campground day-use parking area and hike to where the trail meets Canfield Road, near the entrance to the Observatory. We hike back the way we came.

Falls colors in San Diego are not that easy to find. We’re missing out on the reds entirely (if you don’t count Poison-oak and non-natives), and in the canyons and ravines we may find sycamores, willows and cottonwoods with turning leaves. Only at the higher elevations we also find Black Oaks which, with their leaves turning from green to yellow to orange before they wilt and fall, put on the best fall color display.

Needless to say, there’s no guarantee for fall colors – temperatures and weather in general may affect when the trees turn, but mid November is usually a reliable time at Palomar Mountain as well as the Laguna Mountains.

November is also the time where we may get our first winter storms. Rain will cancel this activity!


  • Date: Saturday, November 16th, 2019
  • Meeting Time: 2 PM
  • Meeting Point: Observatory Campground Day Use Parking Area, Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain (Google Map)
  • Carpool Meeting Point: TBD or arrange in our Facebook group.
  • Trail details: 4 miles out and back, 650 feet elevation change
  • Requirements: good shoes, water, snacks, appropriate clothing (check the weather for Palomar Mountain)

Photo Section activities are open to the public; membership is not required to take part. This is not a Sierra Club outing. Participants may join or leave as they please. The Observatory Trail is outside Palomar Mountain State Park, and the trail area belongs to the Cleveland National Forest. Leashed dogs are allowed.

Black Oak in fall, Palomar Mountain, November 2011.
Black Oak in fall, Palomar Mountain, November 2011.

4 thoughts on “November 2019 Activity: Fall Color Hike at Palomar Mountain”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.