Doane Valley Campground

and Cedar Grove Group Campground
Palomar Mountain State Park


Palomar Observatory


Palomar Mountain State Park
Attractions and Activities

Visitors camping in Doane Valley Campground in Palomar Mountain State Park find interesting hiking trails to explore. Other attractions are nearby.

  • Hike to Boucher Hill Summit for great views in several directions. Visit Boucher Hill Lookout.
  • Try your luck fishing at Doane Pond.
  • Hike the interesting Doane Nature Trail.
  • Join hikes offered by Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park.
  • Visit the Palomar Mountain Observatory, open to the public daily from 9 AM to 4 PM.
  • Hike to Scott's Cabin Historic Site.

Key Doane Valley Campground Regulations

  1. Fires are permitted in provided facilities only.
  2. Generators may only be operated between 10 AM and 8 PM.
  3. Dogs are not allowed on trails. Dogs musty be on leash and attended at all times.

Doane Valley Campground

Doane Valley Campground is in Palomar Mountain State Park on the west side of Palomar Mountain, not far from the observatory. The park is known for its large pine, cedar and fir trees, reminding visitors of the Sierra Nevada. From Highway 76 take either County Road S6 for a steep and scenic approach, or S7 from Lake Henshaw (17 miles) for a gentler grade. Campers enjoy walked to Doane Pond to fish and hiking to the summit of Boucher Hill where they gain wonderful vistas of the desert to the southeast and the ocean to the west.

With an average elevation of 5,000 feet, the park is cool in the evenings. Some sites at Doane Valley Campground are tent-only. Doane Valley Campground also has a Hike and Bike site. Nearby is a Cedar Grove Group Campground.

Reservations become available 7 months in advance. Campsites are released in blocks of one month at a time on the first of each month, usually at 8 AM Pacific Time.

Doane Valley Campground Basics
Doane Valley Campground Location: east of Escondido on Palomar Mountain
Elevation: 4,700 feet
Mileage/Driving Time: 79 miles northeast of San Diego - 1:40
63 miles east of Escondido - 1:20
Number of Campsites: 31
Open - Closed: May 1 - October 3l
Max. People per Site: 8 (including children)
Vehicles per Site: 1 vehicle
Pets: On leash, always attended
Campground Information: (760) 742-3462

Reservations for Doane Valley Campground
Reservations available: for March 31 through November 26
A few sites may be reserved year-round
Booking Window: Reservations may be made from 2 days up to 7 months in advance of arrival.
Dates are released in 1-month blocks on the first of each month.
Maximum RV/Trailer Length: Most are 21 to 24 feet, #31 is a 29-foot pull through site
Wheelchair Accessible Sites: #4, #7
Online Reservations at ReserveCalifornia: Doane Valley Campground Reservations
or call (800) 444-PARK (7275) between 8 AM and 6 PM
Fees: $30
Check-in, check-out: 2:00 PM, Noon

Doane Valley Campground Amenities
Campsites: Picnic table, fire ring, no hook-ups
Campground: Flush and vault toilets, tap water, campfire circle
Showers: Yes, coin or token operated
Dump station: no
Attractions near Doane Valley Campground: Hike to nearby Doane Pond. Head up to the summit of Boucher Hill. Follow the Doane Valley Nature Trail. Visit Palomar Observatory.

ReserveCalifornia Reservations Tips

California State Parks' new reservation system - ReserveCalifornia - now allows campers "to make reservations 6 months to the day in advance of their arrival date." For example, on January 1 reservations can be made for stays beginning on July 1. In the past, reservations were released in one-month blocks. Now it is day by day. For months with fewer days than the month 6 months away, reservations for the remaining days will be released in a small cluster on the first of the next month. For example, on March 1 (because February is a short month) you can make reservations for stays beginning August 29-31. Read details at ReserveCalifornia.

General Camping Information for
California State Parks

Not all campsites can accommodate trailers or RVs of all lengths. Check carefully on the reservation site when you make your reservation to be sure your vehicle will fit your campsite.

Accessible Sites

Designated Accessible sites are usually reserved for people with disabilities who have a vehicle displaying an accessible parking placard or license plate.

Cedar Grove Group Campground

Cedar Grove Group Campground is located west of the Doane Valley Campground. The campground has one large group site for between 9 and 25 people, along with 10 vehicles. It also has two smaller tent-only sites for groups between 9 and 15 people. These sites each have room for 5 vehicles.

The campground has restrooms with flush toilets, showers, tap water, picnic tables, and fire rings.
Reservations: Cedar Grove Group Campground
Fees: large site $145, smaller sites $90

Hike & Bike Campsite

A Hike & Bike campsite is for one-night, transient use by hikers and cyclists as they pass through the park. Anyone planning on using these primitive sites should call ahead to be sure of their availability. Fees are $5 a person.

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