Hike to French Valley

Details

Distance

3.8 miles

Elevation Gain

450 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Torrey Schaefer

With lush pine and fir trees, streams, and actual season presence, you will forget that you are in San Diego county and be transported to what feels like somewhere in the Sierra Nevada.

When it comes to Palomar Mountain State Park, most people stick to Doane Lake and Upper Doane Valley. Yet on the far right of the parking lot at Doane Pond, there is actually a trailhead that will guide you to a completely different section of the park. The Lower Doane Valley trail is, in my option, more stunning and is dotted with massive pines.

The entire trail is a short 3.8 mile jaunt with minimum elevation gain. Last time I packed a light snack and a blanket to just sit in the Valley for a while. Perfect for a lazy Sunday stroll to get some fresh air.

The first part of the hike crosses over the main street from where you came. Once you cross, you will parallel the Doane Creek until you come to the junction of the Weir Trail less than a mile in. Take this left and follow the creek until you emerge in the Valley. Continue to reach French Valley and then circle back around.

Keep in mind that Palomar Mountain is ever-changing. If you come on a cold spring or fall morning, chances are you will be engulfed in a heavy fog. In winter, snow. And in summer will usually look like the photos featured here- sunny, clear and a nice 75.

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Hiking
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Wildlife

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Reviews

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Epic hike Near North County San Diego

This hike was fantastic! Super mellow. Starts out through dense forest you'll forget your an hour away from the ocean, and then opens up into a beautiful valley. Definitely worth the trip 👍🏽. I'll be back up this way to check out other trails and to camp as well. Day use fee is $8, and worth every penny. It's like a mini Yosemite!!

403 total saves

5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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