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 trail, just did it again for the fourth time. This time early January, was quite snowy near the tram and just below Grubbs Notch so we stopped at the tram (9 miles from Ramon Rd trailhead in Palm Springs)and decended, plus there is not enough daylight in the winter to do the complete trail even if snow levels allow. Wild flowers in late March and early April are great. The last two miles before the tram are very steep and count on your progress slowing by half here. Wouldn't recommend for casual hikers.
Okaythis hike was more difficult than I expected and let me just say the milage is wrong, it was 8-9miles round trip . Id say this hike is more on the moderate-difficult side. Im a collegiate athlete and even J struggled cause its nearly 4 miles straight up. However the view is worth it! My boyfriend and I had a lot of fun on this hike and the views on the way up/down were just as good as the view at the very top!
Jennifer R. on Suicide Rock Trail
The Trail begins at Deer Springs Trail head across the street from the visitor center. It was a good hike. It had just snow so some spots were a little more challenging then others. The views were absolutely breathtaking at the top. Definitely will be doing it again.
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.
Andrew C. on Tahquitz Peak via Devils Slide Trai...
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!