Easy trail, some good scenery but trees will get in the way of the best views and camera shots. It's a rather busy trail with lots of hikers, their dogs, car noise from the road next to it and construction noises from nearby homes. Not the most ideal trail considering what the area offers, but it's easy enough for everyone and family friendly. An Adventure Pass is required for this trail, but a Wilderness permit isn't according to a posting on the Ranger Station board.
AllTrails has you starting the trail in the south and walking north which is a slight uphill trail most of the way, parking starting from here is on the side of the road. If you follow Fern Valley Road from Idyllwild it will lead to Humber Park where the north trailhead is located right next to the first set of parking spots. This allows you to "warm up" walking downhill before the trek back.
This is a beautiful, rolling trail that winds across the mountainside through a variegated forest of Ponderosa pine, fir, Western red cedar (or hemlock - I'm bad at telling them apart), and both evergreen and deciduous oaks along with manzanita shrubs wherever the sun pokes through. There is parking at the end the app sends you to as a trailhead, but it's alongside a dirt road and is quite limited. If you use the parking lot at the park, be sure you remember your Adventure Pass as it's National Forest and I did see a ranger there. If, like me, you forget your pass, there are places just outside the park where you can squeeze your vehicle onto the side of the road to park before you hit the steep edge. The trail does have some elevation change, though in the low hundreds of feet. The lower end is at the dirt road, so if you use the parking lot be prepared for a gentle climb on the way back. Footing is decomposed granite, though this is indeed mountain hiking so there are occasionally clusters of small boulders to navigate around. If you have weak ankles or just want to be on the safe side, hiking boots might be advisable. Most of the trail is smooth, though. For the same reason, although the trail allows horses this is really a spot for trail horses and not a weekend trail ride for a show horse. Finally, remember to bring plenty of water - there is no running water at either parking area although the park has pit toilets - and don't forget that even in the shade, at over 4,000 feet in Southern California the sun is very strong. Sunscreen is still a good idea for those who are sensitive to the sun.
My family of 7 loved this hike! Perfect for my children. We have 5 children under 10. The baby was on my back and I felt sturdy on the trail carrying her. My only criticism is that the APP took us to the end of the trail to start where there wasn't parking. We made it work but found out from other hikers that it's easier to start at the other end.
Beautiful hike in Idyllwild!! The last mile of the road to the trailhead is unpaved. It's not too bad though since my Corolla was able to crawl to the parking lot (note "crawl" though....). You will need to get a free permit at the ranger station for this hike. This trail definitely is less crowded than starting from Humber Park, which means yay for more solitude! We did encounter a RATTLESNAKE on a bush that was on the side of the trail! It snapped at my dog (he wasn't bitten. Thank goodness!!) and rattled its tail so we quickly backed off to give it its own space. I did see a few dogs running off leash on the trail so it made me really nervous! I think my dog would have been bitten if I wasn't able to pull on his leash quick enough! This trail does require your dog to be on a leash, but of course this is not always being followed by everyone. In any case, enough with the rattlesnake talk. I would just be cautious. The climb to Tahquitz Peak is not too bad until the last mile or so. That's when the switchbacks start and you will feel the steepness. However, the view on this trail is SO SPECTACULAR that if you run out of breath, just turn around and enjoy the gorgeous scenery! I personally like this trail more than going through Devil's Slide from Humber Park. There is a fire lookout when you get to the peak. They are open on weekends so you can go in, sign your name on the registry and chat with the volunteers. The San Jacinto Wilderness is just absolutely stunning! Will definitely do this hike again.
really enjoyed the hike but sadly, I thought I was on devil's slide, ooops. I did hike up devil's slide for about 40 minutes after, but that one will have to wait.
but this was a great warm-up for today is deer spring trail, tomorrow back to devil slide, the real one this time.
First time up this trail to the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout. Excellent trail with some very long and challenging switchbacks. This hike is listed as 8.4; however, after reaching the Lookout Tower and visiting with the ranger for a while (3.66 miles) I headed ENE to where the South Ridge Trail meets the PCT and the Chinquapin Flats (.5 miles). My total hiking distance was 8.18 miles
So, I was in Idyllwild today to get our Wilderness Permit for tomorrow's hike on the Devils Slide Trail to Tahquitz Peak Lookout. Drove up to the trailhead to walk around a little bit, then decided to explore the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. I ended up making it a 4 mile hike. This was a nice little trail. It's 2.6 miles one way. The trail is pretty much half shaded and half sun. At around 1145 in the morning it was close to 90 degrees. The sun was hot and so was the breeze while in the sun. However, in the shade it felt about 15 degrees cooler and the breeze felt great. Starting this hike from Humber Park means you pretty much go down for the first part of the hike and up for the return leg. Bugs and Horse Flys were abundant on the trail due to the heat, so use bug spray if you go. Great easy family hike!