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Trained like mad at 20% incline on treadmill - did a couple of 11,000 vertical feet weeks and one 22,000 foot week. And then ran this with my 22 year old son. Took off at 7:11 AM, got to ranger station at 10:30 refilled water and filled out registration left the station at 10:50 and got to top at 12:20. Ouch. It was so funny, my son's hip flexers stopped working and he ran like Charlie Chaplin the last five miles. It was my I T bands that were killing. Weather was perfect. Cool and dry. Salt encrusted completely by the end. What I would do differently - take moister snacks. The cliff bars were gag dry and hard to eat while running, and test your hydration pack. Mine was leaking air by the mouth piece and so I was drinking mostly air. Had not used this in a few years and it had lost its seal. November - but far the best time to do this if it has not snowed yet.

All incline so be ready to up hill it - it ends meeting up with several trail junctions so there are options to keep on with another trail with less incline. Beautiful views! And close to town center.

hiking
1 day ago

Went on this hike with my parents and their three little dogs. The hike is pretty easy if you’re an active person but was tough for the pups. The elevation changes aren’t extreme and you can take breaks every 10 minutes for another view of the valley below. Nice views and definitely cool looking at the old Bob Hope house. The restricted dog area occurs after 45 min or so (moderate pace), id estimate around 2/3 of the trail, maybe 1.5 miles in or so right around when you get to Bob Hope’s house.

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful longer hike, through pine forests with scattered boulders. There was plenty of shaded areas and not too hot in November. We brought layers for the top and were glad we had them. As we hiked with a child, we all made sure to bring plenty of water and snacks as well, and of course our own garbage bag.

It is easy to end up off trail if you’re not paying close attention, especially with the sometimes rocky terrain. Make sure you plan your in and out time so you have daylight for your exit. It took us just over 5 hours with a child who needed many rests on the way up, actual hiking time was closer to 4 hours and just over 1.5hrs downhill.

No dogs allowed, and MUST GET A DAY PERMIT from the ranger station before you go. They’re located right in town in Idyllwild but closed Wednesday and Thursday so plan accordingly. Easy parking along highway. Not too crowded but there were definitely a lot of enthusiasts out so you’ll cross paths now and then.

Distance is a bit inaccurate, I measured on my Apple Watch, Strava, and here, and got 7.8mi, 8.4mi and 8.0mi here respectively. We wore our hiking boots which was very much appreciated in the rocky areas but tiring compared to lighter Merrell light hiking shoes. We’re accustomed to steep hiking at Runyon (West Loop the thigh and butt burner) but found this hike tiring towards the end as we normally do a little more than 3mi in and outs, and had to stop a lot for the kid, legs were definitely getting sore by the end although the hike itself is really quite easy-moderate for the most part.

Views at the top are definitely worth it and breathtaking! Watch your step if you’re going out on the ledges and not a climber, and for the love of god and your safety don’t take selfies standing on the edges in case of loss of balance.

...pretty much what everyone else said. Yes, the first mile can be a little much but really only because you’re just getting started. Yes, the last two miles (the traverse) to Long Valley are the most difficult. Yes, the blazes (white dots) that mark the trail can be missed real easily, so definitely get the Pro version if only for this hike. Once you pass 4300’, keep going. If you turn around you’ll walk into a furnace and chances are you’ll hurt yourself more than if you just keep going up.
Take the chance to enjoy the sunrise on the way up. The views are really what make this hike so epic — enjoy them while you’re up there. When you hit the summit, take a look at the cabin but don’t be a douche and trash it. If you have extra food consider leaving it here for other hikers in emergency situations. When you’re done, have a beer. Chances are you’ve never deserved it more.

The rest is all just my technical notes, so don’t read on if you’re not interested.
Do not read the following and think that you can do what I did. It was somewhat stupid, and I’m extremely lucky NOTHING happened on my hike. I am an experienced hiker, but definitely not at such high altitudes. Maybe train a little before this one, it’s a doozy.

Unfortunately, I have a problem stopping once I start. Fortunately, I don’t know how to quit once I start. I started this hike at midnight, but had no intention of going as quickly as I did. I went through 2L of water on the way up. I hit Long Valley Ranger Station at 7:45am. Once I got there I had 3 kid-sized oatmeal bars, and a handful of jerky. I refilled my reservoir to 3L, and stretched a little.
Started towards the peak around 8, but went much slower on the second half. I hit the summit exactly at noon. I took a break in the Peak Shelter where I changed out of some of my layers, and ate some more jerky. I left a few oatmeal bars in the emergency locker...
...started down to the tram around 12:30, and went slowly, again. I ran out of water one mile from the tram, but it was shaded and just knowing I was about to finish kept me going. Hit the tram at 3:30, and then I hit the bar for a beer.

I started the hike in two wool shirts, longjohns, heavy wool socks, zip-off pants, a hoodie, gloves, and a beanie. A headlamp (the brighter the better) is an absolute if you’re hiking at night. I had my rain gear as well as a tarp in case a storm blew in suddenly. Hiking poles are a lifesaver, and maybe invest in some athletic knee braces. A wide hat and sunscreen will be used the second half of the hike and you’ll be glad for them.
I took 12 kid-sizes oatmeal bars, two big bags of jerky, a small bag of jerky, two pro-bars, and a bag of pistachios. I had 3L of half water/half Gatorade and carried two extra bottles of each with me. I seriously only had four of the oatmeal bars and didn’t even finish the small bag of jerky, but I’m glad I had more than enough in case it was needed. I killed the drinks, and wish I had taken just one extra water bottle.

If you read this far, nice. Again, don’t do what I did. Take it slow-ish. Stop every once in a while to rest your legs, and eat a little. Take goo with you if you’re like me and have a hard time eating solids while hiking. Refill at the ranger station, and use your common sense. If you get to Long Valley and you’re tired, or hurting, take the tram. It’s an awesome hike, but it’s not awesome enough to hurt yourself or risk others safety saving you.

Not an avid hiker but in good shape. This hike is no joke. Started at 2am and it was such a blessing finally seeing the ranger station after the continuous vertical slope. Did this without poles and that’s the one thing I regret not using. Bring lots or water and gel packs. Started cramping on the last vertical stretch before the ranger station. I wouldn’t recommend doing this hike unless you have trained for it. I won’t be doing this hike again for a long time!

Goes without saying, this hike is beyond intense and belongs on any serious hiker's bucket list. We did C2C in November which is a little late but there was no snow yet so we actually had a 40 - 60 degree range the whole time. Just to state the obvious - headlamps, layers, gloves and at least 6L of water/Gatorade, calories (plus emergency supplies). Super awesome hike though, beautiful scenery throughout and a huge sense of accomplishment once you finally hit that tram. Be safe!

P.S. this fortunately did not end up being the case for us, but if you end up missing the last tram at night, the ranger recommended sleeping in the bathroom of the ranger station which is heated and protected from the elements. Just throwing that out there!

The vegetation, trail, and dramatic view point are all impressive. I enjoyed this better than Devil's Slide across the canyon.

Awsome hike. After the second time I did it.

Beautiful hike, Nov 9/18
I would rate as easy right now due to lack of water in the creek. I will definitely do this hike again in the winter. We took Coffman trail on the way back and that gave us a bit of a climb and some great views! it didn't make the hike any longer

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing hike experienced with my five experienced hikers. Started 2:30am at the bottom in palm spring and reach to the summit by 1pm then heading down to the tram exactly 6pm to catch up our ride down. We finished 23.3 miles total. Most challenging hike so far. Stick pole is a must and good headlights. When you reach to the rangers station dont forget to refuel yourself and rest. heading to the summit is strenuous due to some thin air because of the high elevation. hydrate enough and eat energy bars will help. Recommended for advance and serious hikers.

Fantastic hike!!!! One of the best that I have accomplished this year. It is 11.4 miles, not 13, but if you don't like going down hill, the last 2.5 miles will feel like 5 miles. As others have said it is that first (and last) 2.5 miles that are the steepest. The middle is relatively easy (if you are used to big hikes) while the switchbacks make the last mile quite doable. Very pretty, no steep drop offs, lots to look at, the rock and tree formations are fantastic. The Forest Service office in Idyllwild opens at 8 but you can also get a permit in the outdoor kiosk.

Bring treking poles, it is all up hill.

The view from the top is well worth the effort! I didn’t think the trail was too difficult, but you can feel the incline and the altitude may be bothersome if you aren’t accustomed to it. Parking wasn’t an issue for me around 3:30 on a Saturday although earlier in the day, it seemed to be pretty full. I did get off trail once, but it wasn’t that far before I realized my mistake and backtracked to the correct direction.

I did this hike solo on a Tuesday and it was exactly what I needed to get away from my busy and tiresome mom life! There were maybe 15 other hikers so not crowded at all. The climb was steady but not steep. As another reviewer pointed out, there are a few places where it might be easy to miss the trail but only if you don’t have a trained eye. Just keep following the footprints!

There’s a beautiful open, flatter area with big, tall pines near the top of the ridge before you turn off for Suicide Rock. This was probably my favorite part but the entire trail is just gorgeous.

Definitely bring water, snacks, and good shoes!

Also, the ranger station in Idyllwild is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays per the sign in their window so plan ahead to get a permit. Although I was not stopped, they do make it very clear you need one.

Blows your mind. Tough cookie. Train Hard. Carry lots of Water. Start as early as 1 am.

hiking
22 days ago

This hike was fantastic! I consider myself a novice hiker and found the length and altitude a bit strenuous. However, the views at the top were well worth the trip!! My husband I started the hike at the Deer Springs Trailhead at 1:08pm, made it to Suicide Rock at 3:33pm (after multiple breaks) and completed our descent at 5:18pm this past weekend. Here are few takeaways that I’d tell anyone looking to do the hike:

1. First and foremost, you’ll need a wilderness permit to complete the hike. I ran into 2 park rangers who asked for our permits (safety reasons apparently). You’ll need to stop by the ranger station in town before heading up the mountain.
2. I had a hard time locating this trail on my GPS. The easiest place to locate is the Deer Springs Trailhead that takes you to Suicide Rock. There’s free parking along the highway.
3. Wear hiking boots!! My husband completed the hike in Nikes and he was sliding everywhere. You’ll thank me later.
4. Bring enough water and snacks to get you through the hike, especially during the Summer months.
5. Don’t forget your camera because the views (and even the hike up) are stunning.

This is definitely a hike you need to complete if you’re ever in Idyllwild! Happy hiking!

Went cactus to tram and left at 2am. Got to tram about 10:40. Got lost once. Thank goodness for all trails gps to get us back on track. Read the hiking guys directions and have his landmark pictures ready. Easy to get lost in the dark. Had 6L of water and used all of them. Absolutely hardest hike I’ve done. You are climbing for 8 hours straight and the first mile and last 2 are brutal. Make sure you are properly fueled before you go. I crashed a bit in the first mile because I had nothing before we left. The valley is a beautiful sight when you get there!! Good luck!

Incredible hike! Extremely challenging and not for the faint of heart. October is the perfect time of year weather wise - cool at the bottom and no snow on the top. I recommend starting long before the sun rises to allow ample time to gain altitude before the desert floor begins getting hot.

Packing list

Hiking boots or trail runners (trail is in great condition and has excellent surface)

All Trails Premium Version with GPS map tracker (it is challenging to navigate the first 4-5 miles at night and the turn by turn nav makes all the difference)

Headlamp with extra batteries just in case

1G of water (Minimum amount. I drank 1.5G before the ranger station where there is a refill tap. This water is heavily chlorinated but potable) Camelbak will make your life much easier along with extra bottled water to refill it.

Food (This hike is extremely challenging and requires you to keep your caloric intake up to make sure you don’t bonk before the top)

Wind jacket or shell (The peak can be quite cool and windy. If starting later in the year Dec/Jan I’d recommend a light down jacket as well)

Activity tracker to monitor distance

Hiking poles (I did not use these nor did I bring them during the hike. I felt they weren’t required for the ascent and there is minimal descending to the tram station and therefore not really required.

Pack as light as possible. It is 17 miles to the peak from Palm Springs Art Museum the majority of which is straight up! Any extra weight is a huge disadvantage.

Amazing hike. We got a late start and camped halfway up the mountain in some random spot. Went to the top on day 2 and took the tram down. This hike is an aggressive workout, especially if you're carrying gear. No water on trail in February. Not for the faint of heart. I would recommend.

While I think San Bernadino still has my pick for favorite peak around here I really enjoyed this lovely trek up to San Jacinto. While a tough trail it's not particularly technical and has a similar gradual elevation gain to the previous hill. It's definitely one of the quieter options to hit the peak...for a near perfect Sunday to be making the trek the parking lot had tons of spots when I arrived right before 8 AM and I had the trail to myself for long stretches until the Wellman divide. After Wellman it's a tough 2.3 miles (for me and my asthma the elevation was really taking its toll for some reason this time) to the top including bouldering if you want to achieve that coveted sign pic. The trail also got markedly more busy as those who took the tram up joined the trail as well as those coming up the more well known Marion Mountain trail. For late October there was some running water for filtration if you need it and spectacular views to reward you. The weather was also a little deceptive...I was worried it would be cold like Bernadino had been two weeks earlier but the lack of wind and bright sun made it actually pretty warm, I only donned layers when I stopped at the summit to eat and relax before heading down.

Adventure pass or similar is REQUIRED for parking as well as a hiking permit which you can pick up 24 hours a day at the ranger station in town before you climb to the trailhead. I did meet some lovely rangers who checked mine as I made the ascent. Personally I think I might try to find a place to camp for the night when I inevitably go back...driving from Glendale was fine in the super early morning but traffic on the trip back made the drive seem interminable and almost an hour longer.

Loved this hike! It had great views! Well worth the hike.

To summarize this trail it is a difficult one. Im a fit guy and i cant say that it is extreme, but the distance and elevation does make it hard. Absolutely amazing views all around and the different landscape makes it just an outstanding hike to enjoy. Looking at other people hiking i would say- if you have bad knees then it is not for you. My app got me to 15.2 miles from the Humber trail parking lot to the top and back in 7hours plus half hour break at the top. Hiked it on 10/20 was 60 degrees half way up and at the top had put my jacket on. Some snow was still seen. Great experience.

Completed Cactus to Clouds.. Beautiful views and sunrise, also super intense elevation gain and temperature change. Bring layers for the top, there was already snow on the ground. First 8,000 feet climb on Skyline was unbelievably difficult. Next 6 to the top peak was all about keeping going. I would recommend eating every few thousand feet at least, we did every 4,000, with water hydration backpacks for water throughout, and trekking poles are a must. Took us 11.5 hours from the bottom to the top back down to the tram. Brought 1 gallon of water, 1 liter of Gatorade, 2 cookies, trail mix and 2 sandwiches, for each of us, was perfect amount. Have fun! Enjoy the views and the success of summiting!

Dope trail dope views dope! there was snow towards the end but didn’t bring micro spikes so it was kind of sketchy.

killer hike. GPS map of trail and trekking poles were a game changer.

Great hike! Did it to the ranger station as a training hike for GC r2r2r. The first couple and last couple miles are tough and easy to lose the trail....especially the last couple. Started at 4:47 am....finished 10:39 am. Would come to do the full Cactus to Cloud. Wouldn't hike back down. Much easier too lose the trail and risk injury going down!

This is a gorgeous and well maintained trail. The elevation gain was gradual, which is always nice. It happened to rain and hail on me for much of the hike, and I was SO COLD despite my fast pace. Bring layers, and definitely gloves!

I had no adventure pass, so had to wait until 8 am for the ranger station to open. It turns out I could have purchased one at the grocery store as well.

I did this trail on October 12th which seemed like the ideal time of year to tackle this hike. The average high in Palm Springs is 91 in October, but it doesn’t get that hot until around noon, and since you’ll be climbing, you never really have to worry about the heat.

I got off to a later start than I had originally planned and left the trailhead at 6:45am, right at sunrise. No headlamp hiking for me. And honestly, it was so much better than hiking in the dark. Even with the white dots lining the trail to the picnic tables, I still made a couple of wrong turns and used my Garmin GPS to get back on track. And then, after the picnic tables, the white dots pretty much disappear. There are a lot of tangents and spur trails that can easily take you off course if you aren’t paying attention to a GPS unit. I can’t imagine how much longer the hike would take in the dark. Also, the best thing about hiking in daylight are the views. When the sun is rising over the Coachella Valley, it’s a gorgeous sight to behold.

It took me 6 hours to get to Long Valley, and like everybody says, the last 2 miles up are brutal. When you combine the steepness of the trail with the fact that you’re now at elevations of 6,000 to 8,000 feet, the exhaustion really affects you. My legs felt heavy, and I felt like my entire body was moving in slow motion. When you finally reach Long Valley, it’s a huge relief, not only because the worst part of the hike is over, but also because you know you won’t die. The throngs of day hikers and school children on field trips are actually a welcome sight.

That said, you still have another 11 miles to hike. My biggest mistake was not refilling my water at the ranger station. By the time I had finished my lunch at Long Valley, I had 2 liters left and figured that would be enough to finish the hike. But even though the last 5.5 miles to the summit aren’t steep at all—at least compared to the 9 miles you’ve already done—the elevation and the exhaustion really take over. I was really dragging on those last few miles to the top—I could tell because the day hikers who saw me were like, “Almost there, dude. Keep going.” By the time I reached the summit, my 2 liters of water were almost gone. I feel like another liter or two would have helped out enormously.

But the euphoria of reaching the summit gave me the shot of adrenaline I needed to finish the hike. It’s an amazing 360 degree view. And because it was late in the day, I had it all to myself. The views on the entire trail are great, but the summit really is the cherry on top, and it makes the entire 10,500 foot climb worth it.

The remaining 5.5 miles back to the tram will take a couple of hours, but it’s on a very nice downhill grade—you won’t be killing your feet or your knees. Because it’s an official park trail that is heavily trafficked and well-defined, it is very easy to follow. Honestly, I would save the night hiking for the evening hours when you’re coming down the mountain because the San Jacinto Park trails are much easier to follow than the Skyline Trail—just be mindful that the final tram ride down the mountain is at 9:45pm (non-summer hours). Upon your arrival at the tram station, treat yourself to a beer... or two... or three... or four at the bar on the third floor. You’ve earned it.

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