Boucher Hill fire tower sits at an elevation of 5,438 ft. (1657 m.) in Palomar Mountain State Park in northern San Diego County. According to the California Division of Forestry and Fire Protection lookout survey of 1991, a tower has been located on Boucher Hill since 1921.
The current lookout is a splendid example of a CDF 809R design. This tower was constructed and placed into service in 1948. Boucher Hill rests on a 16 x 16 foot base with a tower height of 30 feet. The tower was in service until 1983.
The California State Parks Department recently spent $343,000 on site improvements. A plan proposal calls for ongoing tower restoration and creation of a living history museum. Boucher Hill is a California Registered historical lookout and in addition to their lookout duties our volunteers are all trained as Docents of Palomar Mountain State Park.
The San Diego-Riverside Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association (FFLA-SDRC) began staffing the tower with volunteers for fixed-point fire detection and visitor interpretation in 2012 and achieved a goal of 100% staffing during the 2014 fire season. FFLA-SDRC has achieved that same 100% fire season staffing for every year since with few exceptions due to weather or similar personal considerations
When staffed, the tower is open for public tours and visitors are welcome to drive up to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of northern San Diego County. Our volunteers are also State Park docents and are knowledgeable in the history and biology of the area. In 2016 the tower saw more than 11,000 visitors.
The tower typically opens on May 1st in conjunction with the beginning of the fire season and closes in early December. During this period the tower is typically staffed 7 days a week from 9am -5pm.
For further information and pictures go to Palomar Mountain State Park’s Boucher Hill Page
Enter Palomar Mountain State Park via SR76 and County Rd. S7 (State Park Rd.) which will take you to the Park entrance and the one-way loop road to the lookout. Alternatively, for a more rugged drive, you may take Nate Harrison Grade from SR 76 in Pauma Valley. Note: There is a day-use fee for the Park.