Explore To Try - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

To Try Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Awsome hike. After the second time I did it.

off road driving
20 hours ago

Followed the main trail all the way through with my stock Subaru Forester XT with no issues. Definitely will do again!

1 = Access
2 = What to wear
3 = The hike itself

1. The trailhead does NOT start from either of the parking lots. You have to walk through the area with the picnic tables at the far end of the large parking lot, and then across the road you'll the relatively nondescript trailhead. Just download the map and follow your dot directly to the trailhead, you'll think it's off but it'll take you there.

2. Easy, highly exposed first few miles, then a solid 1-1.5 miles uphill. They aren't switchbacks, and it's very loose gravel and sand, so go with good shoes. You would be fine in tennis shoes, but a lightweight pair of hiking boots would make the last stretch nicer. Also, WEAR PANTS. There is lots of sharper foliage and you will be glad you wore pants.

3. The overall hike has some very nice viewpoints and overall varied and interesting terrain. There are alot of false peaks so if you reach a vista and think its the top, look for the steel box and to see if there's a clear continuation of the trail. As people note, it probably is a little longer than 6.8 miles, but 2 hours up and 1 hour down is a reasonable estimate if you're moving steadily, not including time you spend chilling on the peak itself. Bring water if you're going in the summer because it will get hot!

Happy trails!

hiking
6 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.

Loved the hike! Easy trail up to Mt. Pinos from Nordic Base. We added the 3-2-1 Challenge to our hike and included Sawmill Mountain & Grouse Mountain so it was more of a moderate/hard hike. Beautiful trail past Mt. Pinos. They could use some trail markers as it is easy to get off trail. We had downloaded the gpx map to my watch so we didn't get lost. I'd do this one again. Loved it!

Bring treking poles, it is all up hill.

Loved the first few miles.
You'll know you've reached the peak when you see a strawberry shaped ornament.

off road driving
7 days ago

Did this after we hit Clark’s trail. This was a breeze compared to that. Heavily trafficked. Great beginners trail.

off road driving
7 days ago

This was technically our first trip up to big bear with using Clark’s grade. Very fun. And although marked easy, there are a couple of spots that are challenging. The people you encounter on the trail are so friendly. great for a beginner, Like myself. 2015 stock forester xl.

Great views at the top. 2.5 miles of easy hiking and views, then climbing starts. For us the round trip was 7.6 miles. We started late, about 9– dont go later. It was hot by the time we were heading back.

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

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!

off road driving
15 days ago

Did a night run with 5 Rigs a power wagon and a Tacoma. The last off shoot is the craziest, but what an adventure. Heavy moguls and drops. Took my JL first time on a heavy trail. Me and my son had a blast. Ride with the Sons of Thunder 4x4 club. Nice group of men and women. A night run to remember!!!

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.

off road driving
21 days ago

Fun drive and great scenery with plenty of places to stop and take pictures. Trail was easy terrain and never needed 4wd, but was in a lifted Jeep. Trail does get very rocky from 3N02 to the end. The end of the trail leads to a highway and does not require you to double back for exit.

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!

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

Great hike with a good elevation.
I will not do this hike in the summer

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!

Great for the sunrise. Amazing views from the top and on the way down (I went counterclockwise). For a stretch you hike down the gentle backbone of one of the mountains and get amazing views of LA and the canyons. Saw a bobcat in the am by the entrance/river. Followed Justin’s recording and didn’t end up straying from the path. On a weekday hike not very crowded. Not much shade. Trail is varied—some scattered rocks, some packed soil, some river runoff and fire trail. Overall a great hike

Reached this peak on the second try after taking a shortcut that led to Mt Lawlor instead...the views are definitely worth it but the last stretch is no joke! make sure to pack plenty of water...we brought strawberries as well as strawberry milkshake IPAs, perfect celebration for the top!

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.

great way up to big bear. we were doing AAT service, some spots were badly eroded and need some backfill

Very fun trail. I have a 2wd truck and had no problem. Just stay on the fire road. Off shoots are for 4wd vehicles. Nice views

Beautiful trail, 2 miles gradual uphill then back down. Chilly this time of year, should have brought a light sweater. Some lovely birds in the meadow near the top.

Enjoyed this hike. Pretty easy going until you start to actually climb the peak of which there are a few false ones.

Beautiful views at the top as well as along Crest Highway to the parking area (especially at sunset).

TIPS: could get hot if you get later - pretty exposed so plan accordingly: water, sunscreen, hat. Don't forget your Adventure Pass for the parking lot

off road driving
1 month ago

Fun trail, make sure you have ground clearance for rocks towards the end

hiking
1 month ago

Short and not as bad as they say. In the early morning you will start in the shade of Mt Lawlor, but after mile 2 it is fully exposed and hot. Lots of prickly Yucca, so were long pants. The views are generous, but you never really get away from the roaring motor cycles on the Hwy - minus one star for that.

fun trail. if you stay on the fire road it could be made in a suv or light truck. we took our lifted jeep and some of the off shots were pretty gnarly. All are passable with the right equipment. We will be back...

Load More