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Want to start off by stating we were unable to hike to the peak, as the winds were blowing so hard it made it difficult to stand let alone hike, with that being said the skyline trail is all that it is advertised as, tough, strenuous, tiring and demanding.
We started around 3ish with our headlamps blazing the path. We kept a sharp eye out for the painted circles on the rocks to help guid our path, even still we made a couple wrong turns, and we were watching for any snakes which have been reported in the past couple weeks. We stopped a couple times to takes in the views of Palm Springs at full darkness, pretty cool. We made it to the series of pick nick tables with out any problems, hacking was moderately difficult.
Reached the rocks with the spray painted written mileage and no water for the remainder of the hick, continued up switchbacking up the side of a hill finding a great spot to watch the sunrise, awesome views, came across the first of two emergency boxes, then two our surprise, stumbled upon 3 dear, they kept their distance, but they did not run and hide also. Once you reach the picnic benches no more painted dots to guid your path.
The next few mils was going up and over ridge lines, not bad hiking, saw our first view of the tram, the desert landscape is amazing, with bushes blooming flowers of all different colors, cactus blooming, lots of Cholla cactus close to trail head, be aware, lots of manzanita bushes and lots of yucca plants. Trail is moderate.
Then the trail changes drastically, the major up hill accents starts, winding back and forth, definitely leg burner accents. We were in a manzanita Grove which felt like it would never end. The trail became more rocky for sure, pasted the second emergency box and what was called flat rock, not to impressed. The clouds started to come in and the wind began to pickup. By 7000ft, small snow flakes began to fall with the sun shining. I knew it was going to be a cold hike so, took a lot of warm clothing, and I used every bit of it, but I stayed warm.
The trail was becoming more rocky, and the snow falling made the rocks a bit slipper at times. The incline seemed to have increased, my legs were feeling tired and I was having to stopped periodically to catch my breath, the higher we rose wind seemed to be hitting stronger and the snow flakes were increasing at times. We stopped for a quick and her comes the 64 yr old lady, just the happiest person, I asked when she started, 2 hrs after us and she looked she could run up the trail, haha. I asked her how much further, she said about 20 min, yeah for it was, me it was more like 35 min.
By this point my legs felt like jelly, with the wind blowing and snowing I could not wait for the end, The trail at times became hard to read, lots of down limbs, scrambling over rocks, lots of switch backs and fairly steep at times. We finally crested the top, the snow had stopped but the wind was howling, put on the rest big my cold gear and headed to the tram, the worst part is climbing the concrete path to the tram. Went straight to the bar ordered a beer to celebrate our first cactus to clouds hike. After nearly 8 hrs I was tired, my legs acked, my feet were tired, but I would do it again in heart beat.
Gear I took, 4.5 liters of fluid, one of those liters was Gatorade, a variety of snacks, emergency kit- matches, lighter, compus, knief, whistle, backup maps, first aid kit, small rope, clothing- gloves, Beanie, hat, Balaclava, windbreaker, plus the layers I had on, extra head lamp, hiking poles, charger for my phone. If you have any questions feel free to ask, thanks for reading, happy trails.

Intense! But worth it all the way.

Gorgeous and challenging!!! Will definitely be back to do it again soon!!

Great trail, love it.

Hikes it on 4/7/2018
This is my new favorite hike! It’s so beautiful! Very enjoyable hike. Parking was very easy. Lots of dogs on the trail and very friendly people. The trail was very well maintained and easy to follow. It was fun to talk to all the PCT hikers on the way up. We ate on the large boulder which marks the end of this trail and some hikers convinced us to continue to Tahquitz Peak which is not that much further. Make sure you put this on your list of hikes!

Very interesting hike.... lots of water for sure, start early in the morning since it’s hot in the summer... I’ll do it again!!

Just finished. Started at 3 am. Hit the tram at 8 and the round trip back to the tram by 1pm. Some brief rest breaks included. It was adrenaline inducing to walk through the desert at night alone, quietly climbing. Around 3 miles in, I noticed a pair of big red eyes staring at me when I was scanning near the trail with my head lamp. It was a bear.about 15 feet off the trail just sitting and staring. I kept moving and it did not follow. No need for micro spikes or crampons. I did the entire push wearing only shorts but I carried full winter clothing just in case. Full moon. Great adventure best shared with a like minded acquaintance

hiking
20 days ago

Nice destination, easy to get to, plenty of parking. Basically two oases connected by a relatively flat trail. It was over 90 degrees and bright sun, but very comfortable inside the trees. Walking between is about half sand, which is a little annoying in the heat, but worth it. The fish & crayfish at the pond are fun to see, although the latter are the reason there are no frogs. Our 12-year old twins had no problem, even in the heat, although bring lots of water - no water fountains. There is a bathroom at the start. No dogs allowed. There is even a little visitor's center with some history -- and A/C!

I appreciate all of the information from the members on this site.
Any advice on traveling down the trail from the tram to the museum? Any dangerously steep areas?

trail running
22 days ago

Great climb. Get up early and watch the sunrise over Palm Springs. Met a rattler 90 seconds.

Two friends and I decided to give the Cactus to Clouds a go during our time in Palm Springs. Before we made the trip down we did a lot of research on the hike as we really wanted to be sure we knew what we were getting into and that we were prepared for the trail conditions (reviewing blogs www.sanjocjan.com, trail reviews, weather forecasts / conditions, local outdoor stores, correspondence with the ranger station). We downloaded "The Hiking Guys" GPX file as reference and the route / map were fairly consistent (with a few minor discrepancies).

We started at 4:00 on the Saturday morning and made our way up to the Tram by around 9:45. Highlights for this section are definitely the views, rock formations and passing through 3 distinct climate zones. We were rather surprised once we got to around mile 8.5-9 as we had expected the climb around Coffman's Crag to be this vertical wall (based on some reviews) but in general the pitch was a lot easier than we were anticipating.

Once we reached the tram we made sure to touch base with the Rangers with regards to trail conditions as well as any groups we had come across (some better prepared than others). After filling our the park permit we proceeded on to the summit. The trail from approx. 1 mile away from the Tram to the summit is a combination of ice (in the lower elevation) and soft snow at the summit. Navigating the trail proved a little hard than earlier but the GPX file kept us pretty true to the general trail location. The upper 2500' in elevation is a good challenge (both mentally and physically) as the elevation effects everyone different. For me at around 9500' I was feeling the effects (little nauseous and light headed) but we continued on and reached the summit around 1-1:30pm (what a spectacular view from the top...you truly feel like you are on top of the world).

After hanging out on the summit for a few minutes (grabbing a few needed photos) we started the journey back to the tram (which is where the micro spikes and poles really came in handy). We reached the ranger station / tram at around 3:40pm and handed out permits back in to the rangers...and then made our way to the bar to grab a well deserved pint (and Pepsi as I was LOW on sugar).

The views, different climate zones, local flora, fauna and everything else along the way was spectacular but what truly makes this hike so amazing is the journey with the friends.

Sidebar comment (and a very frustrating observation) is how many people we saw on the trail between the Tram and the Summit with no water, no protection for the elements (sweatshirt and tights), improper foot ware (gym shoes). The weather was nice but up there it can change in an instant. I would say probably 70% of the people we saw on the trail were under prepared which puts the Rangers at risk everyday (on our way down we saw 3 Rangers heading up for a rescue as people couldn't descend in their shoes).

The number one reason for rescues (as quoted by one of the Rangers) is "People with their heads up their Ass". If you are going to try this hike (or any other hike) please respect the Mountain and the conditions. We were lucky enough to have solid weather but were prepared for much worse.

Cactus to Clouds is a great trail and worth the adventure (but definitely not as physically challenging as we thought).

Went down to the pond at the end of the McCallum Trail to check out the area and see if we could locate the Great Horned Owls nesting there. Found the pond but not the owls. Very cool area though. Kaitlin, Chip, Donna didn't want to join me on the Moon Country loop so I started down that way alone (:--( thinking it was a quick wrap-around trail. It just keep going and going so, not having a map, I reluctantly turned around so as not to keep my peeps waiting in the parking lot. I was soooo close to the loop-back too. Did I mention you're hiking on and around the world famous San Andreas Fault. Yea, do this trek!

Most beautiful hike I’ve been on. Because of all the rock river crossings I would rate this a moderate hike.

The trail was full of beauty. The falls at the end are fun but the entire trail is a great hike!

Skyline park was open did not attempt to summit

Beautiful trail! Many steam crossings, may not be best after a rain. Grasses, flowers, amazing rock outcroppings and palms grace the path. Enjoy the trail and don't be fixated on getting to 'the falls', it's nice but the trail is the feature!

This trail is super cool! Very well kept, beautiful views of Tahquietz Peak and Suicide Rock. Lot's of shade, switch backs and goes around mountain. Great workout! Make sure to get your Adventure pass, and requires permits at Ranger station.

*$9.00 per adult for entry* (you can buy a half-year pass ($60) or an annual pass ($90) but you may want to make sure it is worth the cost first).

This is a gorgeous hike! It’s a great combination of desert landscape and groups of palm trees; a little oasis! Bring plenty of water, but know there is also quite a bit of shade. It does involve several water crossings via rocks (10+) and a few ascents/descents that can be tricky for footing if there is dirt on the rocks. Our new favorite hike as it’s the perfect distance (3.9 mi) and so enjoyable!

This trail is a nice long hike. Lots of different desert scenes and the top over sees it! Vista is great & Moon Country trail is a great 4.4 miles of sand, desert, rocks, and the Preserve on the way there & back is really fun elements to go through.

Quick elevation to start then a more reasonable climb with great views across the valley and then inner canyons towards the oases. Blooms are just starting to pop and should be very good next few weeks! Did 1 hour 15 minutes out (1,769) and then returned for total 2 hour hike. Look forward to returning for longer hike.

Beautiful day out. Light snow and ice on the round made it air slippery on some spots. Once we made it to the junction it was even more beautiful and a great place to take some time to relax.

We backpacked this trail on Feb 16, 2018 and it was definitely a steep long trail. Most people do not backpack this route and I can see why. It's really uphill most of the way and carrying 40+lbs on your back is rough. With that said this 49 year old and her friends and kids (ages 13 and 14) did great. We slept just near Saddle jct about 500 yds north on the PCT. There were patches of snow, and it was cold at night (down in the 25 degrees) If you plan to hike to the peak anytime soon bring microspikes as there is too much ice to hike without them.

The view was really lovely, but I won't be hiking this one again. Next time I'll stick with less uphill trails as I'm still learning to pack a lighter pack :)
Happy Hiking!

First weekend on November with clear skies. Christine and I started sharp at 1 am from the museum. Took us 16.5 hrs to reach the summit and back down to take Tram. Took a lunch break and refill water at ranger station. The trees and sign at summit had frost, but prefer that that hike up in 3-digit temperature. Long hikes like this one, I always try to do it on full moon (less stress on my vision to find path and avoiding rocks). Like many people mentioned, last part will test you mentally and physically. Moved some rocks and branches to mark trail were trail was not very clear. If possible, do the same to avoid getting people lost and the sake of local rescue personnel.

This is a must see if you are in coachella valley!!! Easy walk for almost anyone. Gorgeous tall palm forest in the middle of a dessert. Educated volunteers who were very accommodating but they close promptly at 4:30. Very cool. Highly recommend

Started on the trail about 9:30am this morning. Trail is beautiful. Met another local hiker who showed me a couple of waterfalls most people pass up on the trail the last section before you reach Seven Sisters Waterfall is steep. Great hike. When I was leaving Indian Canyons about 11:30am the line at the ticket gate was very long. If you can get there early.

Enjoyable hike. Weather cool and snow on ground and trees as we approached Saddle Junction. Round trip to Saddle Junction took 4 hrs including frequent stops for photos and resting at Saddle Junction.

Very tough but very rewarding. The last quarter is quite steep and challenges your mental toughness. Aside from needing 2-3 litres of water, it is only worth the weight of bringing energy dense foods to minimize what you're lugging up the 8,000 plus vertical feet. For example: Carrots. Are. A. Bad. Idea.

I did this trail with a small group that included 3 kids, aged 6, 7, and 9. They loved it, although I would describe it as "moderate." We were lucky that the stream was low, so crossing it wasn't difficult. You have to navigate around a lot of horse poop in certain parts, so watch your step. I would certainly do this trail again. The stream and views are beautiful.!

Enjoyed the hike. Only passed four people in a group walking the trail, saw two folks behind me. There were no dogs and the walk back is easy if you take the wash back. I would recommend it.

Very nice place but I think it is moderate not easy. There are times you have to climb rocks or go under. Crossing the stream requires balancing on rocks. Trekking poles and hiking shoes are definitely helpful. We live the sound of the water. We definitely recommend this place.

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