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The Palomar Mountain Loop + ADD NEW ROUTE


3   in California California35 Miles

Motorcycle Roads The Palomar Mountain Loop

By Michael Whitmyre
on November 1, 2003

4.7out of 5

27 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

To get to the starting point, you'll need to find route 76 where it crosses I-15 about 15 miles north of Escondido, CA and about 10 miles south of Temecula, CA. Exit I-15 on to Rt. 76 heading east. The route starts about 21 miles east of the Interstate. After you've headed east on 76 for about 15 miles you'll see a sign for Palomar Mtn Rd at this point you'll veer left. About 6 miles further up the road you'll veer left again at a sign that says S-6 (San Diego County Road 6) which is where the fun begins! This part of the route is INCREDIBLE. Take it up the mountain until you come to a 4 way stop sign. There you will see Mother's Kitchen bike bar/diner to the left. You can stop there or take a right and continue this time on E. Grade Road. This is a great road to and will take you all the way down to Lake Heneshaw. After passing Lake Heneshaw you'll come to a stop sign. If you take a right you'll be back on 76 and will end up passing where you veered off of 76 and would have made a complete loop. That section of the road is OK but if I were you, I would just turn around and double back on East Grade road and head back down S-6 ... then turn around and do it again and again and again.

Scenery

Don't take this route for the scenery ... you'll need to keep your eyes on the road! Take it for the challenge as it "is the most technical road in Southern California." The scenery is great though as you'll be climbing mountains and have great vistas of the surrounding areas and you'll be traveling through some lush forests. Overall it is much more than just a technical route as it offers some of the best scenery in Southern California! The route is perched up high in a secluded mountain peak in the Cleveland National Forest. In fact it passes right by the Palomar Mountain Observatory (space telescope). And, you know if the government selected a site in southern California for a high powered telescope that they chose an area that not only has exceptional elevation but also is far removed from civilization and resulting light pollution ... so you know this area has to be pristine ... and it is!.

Road Quality

Rock solid 5 in the motorcycle road quality category. Multiple decreasing radius turns thrown in to back to back hairpin turns, add a few smooth snake turns and a few long sweepers and you have yourself a darn good ride.

Roadside Amenities

Mobile gas station @ the Interstate 15/State Road 76 interchange. Two different casinos after you start heading east on 76. Several snack/liquor stores. You have to stop at "Mother's Kitchen" at the top of Mt. Palomar. When I was there the parking lot was entirely filled with motorcycles and everyone was hanging out, trading stories, and having a great time.

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) : Michael Whitmyre

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By Guest
on April 8, 2011 9 out of 9 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2004

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Sport

Great Ride and like many have said very technical. I am from the area and anyone who rides makes their way to Palomar, almost as a "right of passage". Both novice and experienced alike take this road head on, but I'm writing this review to caution the novice. Two friends of mine both newer riders tried to prove themselves on this road and were killed. Just be safe and be careful on Palomar Mountain and don't under estimate it.

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By Guest
on June 6, 2014 6 out of 11 members found this review useful.

3.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2014

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Sport

This is a windy road, particularly South Grade. People live on this road, it should be respected. You should obey traffic laws and do not cross ove the lines. Each year, at 26 to 30 riders are killed or greatly injured on this road. Please don't victimize the residents and visitors to this beautiful place to satisfy your need for adrenalin.

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By Guest
on December 31, 2013 3 out of 3 members found this review useful.

4.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2003

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

Great ride up the face of Palomar Mountain on the S6 side. Well engineered road, so once you get your turn line, you're good to go on each of these bends. The downhill side - S7 towards Lake Henshaw - is a little rougher in places. Looks like SD county is a little behind on maintenance, but still in all - a nice stretch of road. I did take a few breaks to check the scenery - several excellent Scenic Overlooks that are worth checking out. Recommended!

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By Lotrat
on March 11, 2012 3 out of 3 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki

Motorcycle Type Enduro

Just wanted to point out an alternate route for the dual sport guys. You can take the Nate Harrision Grade route up the Mountain. From there you have your choice to take the short or long way down... or just turn around and take the Nate Harrison Grade route back down. Keep an eye out for hikers.

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By Guest
on March 7, 2010 3 out of 3 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2003

Motorcycle Make Suzuki

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Outstanding road! My brother and I did this route the middle of last summer and were blown away. The scenery was awesome but we didn't see much of it because we were so focused on the road and staying on it. It was a beautiful day and there were alot of other riders out enjoying road. The only downside is that when you are on a cruiser with floorboards, you can't lean into the corners like those on crotch rockets and duel sports. HIGHLEY RECOMENDED!!

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By Guest
on June 2, 2008 3 out of 4 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2003

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Touring

I live in San Diego and the local Goldwing chapter rides this at least six times a year. going up the east side and comming down the west seems to be the best because you get the technical part going up and the speed comming down. Just watch out for the rice-rockets there are a lot of them up there

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By Warzone
on September 19, 2015 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1976

Motorcycle Make Harley Sportster

Motorcycle Type Standard

I rode Palomar when I was about 16, I was with my dad. He was on a 52 Panhead and I on an 76 sportster. I remember it as being a little challenging but I was a wild kid, not easily phased. I didn't drop the bike and remember having a great time. This would have been about 30 years ago.

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By Guest
on January 10, 2011 2 out of 3 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make

Motorcycle Type

This is an absolutely beautiful area, not far from where I was born (in Orange County). One quick note on Mother's Kitchen -- it's not open Monday-Wednesday, but you definitely want to stop there while you're out there, so plan your trip for Thursday-Sunday!

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By Guest
on September 11, 2010 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

Did this ride today as my first ride in the state of california. I'm a new resident and thoroughly enjoyed this route.

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By Guest
on May 18, 2010 2 out of 3 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2003

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Riding it the second time was as exciting as the first. Like being in love all over again. If you ride for white knuckled twisties that have you flicking your bike back and forth, you'll never leave. Top off before you pass the casino.

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By Guest
on January 14, 2010 2 out of 4 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Yamaha

Motorcycle Type Sport

NEW INFO!!! They have gouged grooves in the center line all the way down the west grade. Don't go in too hot on the decreasing radius turns... ;) Anyhow, this is a great road.

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By Guest
on June 27, 2009 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make

Motorcycle Type

Best twisty road in Southern California!!! Went out there in May 09 and was among a group of 20 sport bike riders that were all Palomar Mtn virgins. Half of us have been back there twice since then and will be adding this to our list of annual must rides.

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By Guest
on September 7, 2008 2 out of 3 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2000

Motorcycle Make Buell

Motorcycle Type Sport

I have seen an heard comparisons to Deal's Gap, and though this is a fun road, I have to give the nod to the Gap. The pavement is not as well maintained here and the curves not as tight. that said my biggest problem with the Palomar Road is the traffic. I would only bother on weekdays. On weekends there are too many cars and trucks going way too slow. Still a worthwile ride if you are in the area.

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By Guest
on February 16, 2008 2 out of 3 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2003

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki

Motorcycle Type Sport

I live in Southern California and saw this listing on MotorcycleRoads.com and decided to check it out. I was absolutely blown away by this road! --went up and down the west side of the mountain about 4 times, then hung out at Mother's Kitchen for a while, hooked up with some other riders and headed down the east side to the lake -- incredible ... can't believe I lived only a few hours away from this area/road and never tried it. I'll be doing this one a couple times a year!!

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By IHellsent
on January 5, 2017 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Standard

This road is extremely technical. First time i have ever scraped pegs and i have about 1-2 mm of chicken strips left. Be careful and take it slow at first.

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By AvengerII
on February 8, 2015 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

This is a fabulous ride. My suggestion is to avoid being on the road early in the morning when the sun is rising. Visibility is horrible when sun is in your eyes. I made this mistake and ended up taking a break for an hour at a roadside taco shop to wait for the sun to not be glaring in my face. Other than this, I thought the Lake Henshaw portion of the ride was the most beautiful and fun. I can't wait to get back and do this ride again with friends. Amazing.

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By Guest
on December 28, 2013 1 out of 3 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Harley Davidson Street Glide

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

A very technical road. I would not recommend this ride for anyone that isn't comfortable on their bike enough to get really low. We went through on two Street Glides and we were scraping floorboards on most of the turns. Plenty of other bikes out there and some good food at the small diners around there. I would for sure do that ride again.

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By Ogr3
on April 14, 2013 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Suzuki M90

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

One of the most fun roads I have had a chance to ride. We went during an off season and we only saw a few other bikes.

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By Guest
on February 10, 2011 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Other

That skyline view is absolutely beautiful! I'm going to safely assume that THAT is an early morning view. I've never actually rode my bike in the early, early morning for leisure. I'll have to do that sometime. :) Rebecca Used Cars Indiana

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By Guest
on January 21, 2010 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make

Motorcycle Type

Took the ride on New Years Day and had the road to myself. Drive was super and I took it all the way to the Mt. Palomar observatory. They have a great tour and museum there - don't miss it. Great chili at Mother's Kitchen!

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By Guest
on September 18, 2008 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2008

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

This is a great run. if you stay on the 76 for a few miles past the turnoff u will see the hideout kinda hidden off on the right side of the road. Great biker stop . burgers dogs n chili. only open on sat.& sunday

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By Guest
on July 24, 2008 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2006

Motorcycle Make Suzuki

Motorcycle Type Sport

I am here visiting from Tucson, AZ. I rode Palomar Mt. today and it was awesome!! I came out here just to ride that road. I was lovin it !!
I'm going back tomorrow!!

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By Guest
on April 21, 2008 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2007

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

I rode the Tail of the Dragon in Deal's Gap and I have to say that the Palomar Mtn Road is every bit as technical if not more so than The Dragon. The change in height is also far greater making for two completely different rides going up and going down. A definite must fo those who's goal is to ride America's best motorcycle roads

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By scenic2wheel
on August 18, 2017 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2014

Motorcycle Make Ducati

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

Absolute blast to ride this loop. As stated, many opportunities to lean your bike over and throttle out of a turn as well as straights to go real fast. Midweek is best to avoid traffic and farm trucks.

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By windsorguyone
on January 31, 2017 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1972

Motorcycle Make Norton

Motorcycle Type Other

This is probably my favourite route to ride in the area. The hwy in an out has one stop sign (I think) and is a long smooth road with lots of gentle turns. The run up and down Palomar mountain is one you will remember... lots of 180 degree switchbacks and a few really cool places to stop at the top and look over the valley. The far end of it has a nice overview of the lake which is nice. Also, you can reverse the ride up and down the mountain for added challenge. I could easily do this ride once a week and not get bored of it.

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By Guest
on May 27, 2010 0 out of 2 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2001

Motorcycle Make BMW

Motorcycle Type Sport-Touring

really a great ride, i will do this agin .The scenery is so great you have a hard time keeping your eyes on the road ., so watch it .

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By Guest
on September 24, 2009 0 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make

Motorcycle Type

Did this road last weekend (September 20, 09) after reading the description. From a road fun factor standpoint this road deserves a 5+ stars. I can not think of another road I've enjoyed more. I loved the fact that it was out there in a somewhat remote part of CA and the fact that the lake you see in the picture is pretty isolated to keep other traffic away. There wasn't much to do when it was time to take a break but Mother's Kitchen was a nice place to hang out and tell bike stories with the other riders. I'll be back again for sure and this time I'll bring sceptical friends who didn't make the trip this time with me....

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