Palomar Divide Road

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Palomar Divide Road
Photo: Entrance to Palomar Divide Road
Trail Information
Other Names: Palomar Road, High Point Road
Part of: Cleveland National Forest
Trail Length: 22.1 miles
Trail Time: 3.5 hours
Off-Road Use:
Difficulty: Easy (2)
County: Riverside, San Diego
Nearest Cities: Temecula, Anza, Warner Springs
Map Links: Google Map
Satellite Map: Google Satellite
Special Map:
GPS Start: N33 26.42 W116 51.38
GPS End: N33 19.86 W116 42.50
Google Earth:
Elevation: 2,000 to 5,700 ft.
Marker at side of road
Lake Henshaw from Palomar Divide road
Road up to first parking area
View toward burnt out ranger station
The old stone building at Ware Mine

This route includes Palomar Divide Road and High Point Road which meet near High Point Lookout. It is one of the longer unpaved through routes in the county and a great trail to follow. The road is suitable for high clearance 2WD vehicles although 4WD won't hurt.

From Warner Springs, drive west on SR 79 for approximately 6.5 miles (watch for the brown sign marking Forest Route 9S07). Turn left onto Palomar Divide Road. The road ascends up Aguanga Mountain with spectacular views of Lake Henshaw and Dodge Valley (the route of SR 79). After about 1.5 miles a five-mile-long fully-paved section begins. The pavement ends at the entrance to the Ware Mine ruins. If you are brave you may be able to make it to this point in a passenger car but past the Ware Mine you will want a high clearance vehicle. After about 12 miles you meet High Point Road. You can either begin your descent here (see below) or continue to High Point Lookout another mile to the west.

From Temecula, drive east on SR 79 for approximately 18 miles. About 1/4 mile east of Cahuilla Road (SR 371 to Anza) turn right on High Point Road (Forest Route 8S05). This is the entrance road to an RV resort. Follow the entrance road and when it makes a hard right continue straight ahead off the pavement and enter the Cleveland National Forest. Don't worry about all the "No Trespassing" signs. They are for the property off the road. The road is open to the public if the gates are open. Just stay on the traveled road. The road ascends along a shelf road to meet Palomar Divide Road after approximately 11 miles. Here you can continue east to SR 79 or go west to High Point Lookout.

As you move to the High Point Lookout, loacted at 6,140 feet, you find yourself surrounded by oak tress. To preserve this grove, vehicles are not allowed and you have to hike it up. You soon come to the gate of a tower. Access to this tower is restricted and you cannot climb right to the top. However, you do get a 360 degree view from this place and can even view the Pacific Ocean in the distance if the weather permits. Go further and you can see Cottonwood Creek and Dameron valley on either side. The public road ends at the Palomar Observatory property about 1/4 mile past High Point Lookout.

Maps and GPS Coordinates[edit]

Palomar Divide Road Coordinates: 33.440333° -116.856333° Coordinates: 33.440333° -116.856333°