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The deeply weathered summit of Mount San Jacinto stands 10,834 feet above sea level, and is the second highest mountain range in Southern California. No more than a two hour drive from either Los Angeles or San Diego, the mountain's magnificent granite peaks, subalpine forests, and fern-bordered mountain meadows offer a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy a scenic, high-country wilderness area. The park offers two drive-in campgrounds near the town of Idyllwild. Most of the park is a designated wilderness area enjoyed by hikers and backpackers When you enter Mount San Jacinto State Park, you come into the heart of the wilderness, high in the San Jacinto Mountains. This 14,000-acre park can be reached via Highway 243 from Idyllwild or by tram from Palm Springs. Granite peaks, subalpine forests and mountain meadows offer the best opportunity to enjoy a primitive high-country experience south of the Sierra Nevada range. San Jacinto Peak - a giant, often snowcapped crag marked by great upthrusts of weathered granite - rises almost 11,000 feet above sea level. It is the highest peak in the San Jacinto Range and in the California State Park system, and the second-highest point in southern California. Several other peaks within the park are over 10,000 feet, and much of the rest of the park, standing at more than 6,000 feet in elevation, is cool and comfortable in the summer. From the Tramway Mountain Station, you can see Palm Springs, green with golf courses and agriculture made possible through irrigation of the Coachella Valley. The vistas from the park sweep into the desert beyond Palm Springs for more than a hundred miles, extending southeast to the Salton Sea and beyond into the Imperial Valley. The northeast face of the San Jacinto Range plunges down 9,000 feet in less than four miles, making it one of the steepest and most spectacular escarpments in North America. Starting in Chino Canyon near Palm Springs, the tram takes passengers from Valley Station at 2,643 feet elevation to Mountain Station on the edge of the wilderness, elevation 8,516 feet. The Mountain Station features a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, and the state park visitor center. In Long Valley, a short walk from the station, you will find the Long Valley Ranger Station, a picnic area with barbecue stoves and restrooms, a ski center, a self-guiding nature trail, and Desert View Trail which offers panoramas of the high country including several peaks over 10,000 feet in elevation. You can also enter the hiking trail system from this point.

Beautiful hike that I did yesterday with my friends. I'm doing the south California 6 peaks, which are 6 challenging summits that prepares the person to hike noun Whitney. San Jacinto is the 5th on the list just before san Gorgonio, the highest peak in south California. You have to arrive very early to avoid the long queues for the tram tickets (I have heard that sometimes you loose an hour waiting to buy a ticket). Also you want to arrive early to get a permit at the Rangers station. The tram trip is beautiful climbing over sheer heights, saving you around 10 miles of hiking. Get of the tram and go straight down to the lower level, exit the building and continue the foot path for about 300 feet until you reach the ranger station. You want to be early because although the permits are free, the issue a specific number per day. Rangers are very helpful and kind. They give you a map and explain the trail but due to the snowy trail it's very important to rely on a gps map. It's very easy to get lost on the trail. The hike is easy and offers wonderful views. It's around 9.9 miles round trip. We hit the top and had a nice meal in the rescue cabin on the top. On the way down a snow storm came and visibility changed and it started snowing heavily. It was still not dangerous because we were a group, had gps and were close to the ranger station. It's a very beautiful trail with amazing views at the top.

hiking
9 days ago

Gorgeous hike, but this time of year ( Late November) you need to be aware of the potential snow/ice conditions. The last set of switchbacks up to the peak was too dangerous unless you had micro-spikes on your boots. Continuous melting/refreeze had turned the trail into an ice-rink and we had to turn around. As we came back down it was clear the many of the hikers coming up the slide had no idea that even at the saddle it was really quite cold, snowy and icy.

There's snow up there now so I'd recommend crampons and trekking poles. We did it without both; however, and slipped a few times on the ice. It's a strenuous hike at times and the snow will definitely slow you down. I left my backpack by the safe house because the last hundred feet of boulder climbing is intense with the snow, ice and wind. Bring plenty of water and don't forget to get your hiking permit at the ranger station that is located right at the trailhead. The rangers are very friendly and will provide a map for you once you tell them where you are head. They'll even highlight the trail for you to follow. If you go in the snow, keep your eyes peeled as people have taken different paths due to the snow so you may get off trail and then end up back on the trail later on. They all seem to head the same direction (just use your map to be aware of the area you are most likely in), but you may lose some time and add miles to your hike. All in all, it's an adventure. Just wear waterproof shoes and have fun!

Did it as part of C2C. Great trail that is right on the cusp of difficult/moderate in my opinion. The altitude probably makes it hard though. Nice views at the top but bring a windbreaker.

Well it isn't easy, that's for sure. Start early, bring water and a headlamp, and be prepared for huge temperature swings. This is an epic hike and typically and all day affair. The combination of length and elevation gain in this hike make it a real will tester. There are harder hikes, but this one is up there.

Great trail! Gradual incline in steepness, nothing too ridiculous. Trailhead indeed was hard to find, but we used the map on this app and started at where we thought it was, and it worked out ok. It took us 4 hrs and 15 mins to get up (left at 7am) and 2.5 hrs to get down. Very windy and cold at the summit so make sure you bring the right gear. Would also recommend gloves.

I did this hike with my gf on 11/11/16. We did a bit of the hike the day before, up to 1400 ft, which helped get our bearings straight. We left from the museum trail head at 2:15am. We took plenty of water (6L each) and I drank 4.5 L by the time we reached the tram/ranger station (11:45am) (we both refilled there). The final ascent to the summit isn't bad at all (as far as steepness/grade is concerned); but after the long day, we were a bit beat. We left the ranger station at 12:30pm and got to the summit at 3:30pm. We didn't stay at the summit long, just long enough to take 5-10 photos. We reached the tram/ranger station at 6pm. It was a very strenuous and long day, but the overall experience and sense of accomplish upon reaching the summit = well worth the effort. I would recommend buying souvenirs from the shop upon first arriving to the tram/ranger station...as the shop closes at approx 5pm. All in all, this is a great hike. Make sure you are training to do this, or at least are in great shape. It's not a hike to underestimate. Supplies: GPS watch, headlamps, hiking poles, electrolytes, Gu, Turkey jerky, PB&J sandwich, mad water in a camelback. Make sure you have food that you can eat while up there. I tend not to like large heavy meals while hiking, and tend to get fuel from things like Gu and jersey etc...as opposed to a hoagie. Find what works for you.

First portion is moderate with gorgeous surroundings. Once you make it to the second ranger station on the last leg to wellmans it picks up substantially, climbing about 500ft for the last mile.
Bring snacks and water, and November is cold! Keep all of that in mind. Beautiful views from the top. See from the desert to idyllwild and across..

First portion is moderate with gorgeous surroundings. Once you make it to the second ranger station on the last leg to wellmans it picks up substantially, climbing about 500ft for the last mile.
Bring snacks and water, and November is cold! Keep all of that in mind. Beautiful views from the top. See from the desert to idyllwild and across..

I hiked this as my first hike/climb in California. It was not too hard but then again I do hike at least twice a week. We started at midnight and finished at 7pm . You gotta be prepared for a long day but just know this is a great trail, great views throughout the way, great workout too. Bring enough water to take you all the way to the ranger station at about 8,000 elevation by the tram station. At ranger station you can refill your water and you may want to buy your souvenirs too. I made the mistake of not buying and wanted to wait until after my return from Summit if Mt San Jacinto. The store was closed by the time we got back, they close at 5'sh. Bring a good camera too. There's amazing views at the top.

Great trail for an easy overnight backpacking trip, awesome views from the summit and along the trail

I am an experienced hiker and runner and I thought this was more like moderate difficult. I brought a friend with me who is is not as experience as I am and she barely made it up to the top. It is an awesome hike, beautiful all along the way and well worth it. The ascent was fairly steep and the trail was well marked. I will for sure do it again at some point.

Like others have said, this hike is no joke. I wouldn't attempt it unless you've prepared significantly for it - i.e., you have been hiking for months and are fit. It took us around 17 hours (much longer than expected) because we had different levels of physical fitness in our group.

My takeaways from this hike:
- it's take mental toughness to get through some long stretches of the skyline trail, mainly between mile 5 and Long Valley, but the sense of accomplishment when you summit is SO worth it!
- even if it's not hot, you will sweat a lot. Consider that when deciding which layers to take with you. I had to take my shirt off to at certain times because I was shivering from the wind hitting my soaked shirt. The hottest it got when we did this hike this past week was around 75 degrees, but considering how much physical exertion this hike requires, chances are you'll be sweating a lot.
- pack electrolytes because you'll be losing much salt from the sweating.
- I went through a gallon of water for the skyline portion of the trail, then about a half gallon more after Long Valley (refilled at the ranger station)
- it's better to overestimate how long it'll take you that way you do not chance missing the tram. We had to take more breaks than expected because it took some in our group to get used to the altitude.
- the trail back to the tram from the peak can be a bit easy to get off of, pay extra attention especially if you're returning at night.

This hike was definitely a bucket list type of hike for me and only recommend it for those who are absolutely committed to it and have some serious motivation to do it.

Happy hiking!

Great day in Nov for a hike. Did this trail having never been to the area. Length was closer to 9m when all was said and done. The scenery is stunning and It's pretty much uphill the whole way. The second part of the climb is easier. Bring minimum 2 liters of water!

Note, you must have a car day pass and a permit. Pass is $5 and the permit is free. You can get them from the ranger station in Idyllwild. I went to the parking lot at the head and had to go back. There were rangers on the trail asking for the permit.

Well worth the time and energy! Can't wait to do another trail here...