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    Justin Barnes reviewed San Jacinto Peak via Fuller Ridge Trail

    about 2 years ago

    My new favorite hike in the San Jacinto area. What I especially like about this one is that there are great views in every direction - San Jacinto to the east, Coachella Valley to the north, and Orange and San Diego counties to the South and West. There are also great views of San Gorgonio and Baldy on occasion as well. We hiked just the first 4 or so miles, and even the first 2 miles give you all the views described above. I would definitely recommend this even if you have no plans to climb all the way to the top of San Jacinto.

    Justin Barnes completed Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

    almost 3 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

    almost 3 years ago

    Nice enough trail, but it basically tracks the roads in Idyllwild, and you're walking behind houses (hidden a decent amount, and far away, but still), always aware you're in town. Compared to other hikes in the area, it is mostly flat, so if you don't want much up and down, this is a nice easy hike. But it would not be at the forefront of my list for any active hikers, especially given all of the other hikes in the area. We hiked this as the first part of the Devil's Slide/South Ridge Loop, and for that, I highly recommend.

    Justin Barnes completed Honopu Ridge

    almost 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Honopu Ridge

    almost 5 years ago

    Very similar sort of hike to the Nualolo and Awaawapuhi trails - walking from the highway out along the ridgeline until the ridge gets sufficiently thin that it's not safe to walk any more. The difference, of course, is that each of these are on a different ridgeline. The Honopu trail offers something a little different, because at the end you can see down to Honopu beach, which is difficult (not to mention illegal) to get to any way other than swimming. So your only options for seeing it (and the ridge that splits the beach in two) is from a helicopter, a boat, or this hike. Looking down on the beach (and the helicopters) well beneath you is fascinating, and gives a great idea of scale. The view from Awaawapuhi is a bit wider (i.e., you can see a bit more side-to-side), but I liked this hike just as well because of the addition of the beach view.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Awa'awapuhi trail

    almost 5 years ago

    Absolutely great hike. Because you start from (relatively) high elevation, the temperature is much more comfortable, and there are few if any mosquitoes. This can be combined with Nualolo and Nualolo Cliffs, but we just went up and back. The views at the edge are spectacular - well above the helicopters you see flying around. Be aware that the walk out to the edge is actually down, so the walk back will be a bit more strenuous than the walk out.

    Justin Barnes completed Awa'awapuhi Trail

    almost 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Tahquitz Peak via Devils Slide Trail

    almost 5 years ago

    We walked this the day after it re-opened after the wildfires came through. We had previously hiked South Ridge and Deer Springs, so this was interesting because we were seeing a lot of the same things, just from a different vantage point. While South Ridge has incredible views to the south (and some to the west) the entire hike up, and Deer Springs has great views to the east much of the hike up, Devil's slide is much more varied. You are basically meandering up the valley between Suicide Rock and Tahquitz, going up a very good gradient without it ever being too steep. The views are in multiple directions, depending on which way the trail is meandering at any given time. Then, at around Saddle Junction, the forest becomes much more open, which is a nice change of pace. Walking southwards on the PCT part of the trail, it opens up even more, with good views to the north (including the burned areas of San Jacinto) and of Mt San Jacinto itself. Once at Tahquitz, the unobstructed views to the south are amazing. I definitely liked this better than Deer Springs (which was very nice, don't get me wrong), but am unsure whether I liked it better than South Ridge. Basically the tradeoff is multiple views and multiple vantage points, plus more varied habitat, on Devil's Slide, versus outstanding views (albeit in only one direction) the whole way up on South Ridge. You can of course do both by making a loop and combining with the Ernie Maxwell trail - if doing that, I would recommend going up Devil's Slide and down South Ridge.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Deer Springs Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes completed Deer Springs Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Devil's Backbone Trail

    about 5 years ago

    We walked up and back from the top of the chair lift. As an FYI, if you purchase the lift tickets in advance on the web, they cost less. The first part of the hike is up one of the ski runs, very steep. It is about 800 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile. Once passing the end (beginning) of the ski run, you get out on the ridge, with views of the high desert (Palmdale, Lancaster, etc) on the north, and views of the Claremont and Pomona area on the south. This middle part is the most enjoyable, both in terms of scenery and also being (relatively) flatter. The last mile, give or take, is up the scree of Mount Baldy, with multiple alternative paths. I would recommend the least steep way, it'll be easiest on your legs. The peak is very flat, and there is room for dozens of people to mill around up there. The walk down is much easier, but not easy, because the first part and the last part are very steep, and you need to be careful. The views of the devil's backbone are better coming back than heading up. This is definitely a butt-kicker, which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. 2300 feet of gain in 3 miles is quite a grade.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Monserate Mountain Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Not sure why this has two black diamonds. It's very steep, don't get me wrong, but it's not THAT difficult, especially because it isn't that long. There are lots of people on the mountain, and all of the issues that come along with that (noise, dog poop, etc.). There is also a constant hum from I-15, which is there the whole time, even at the top. But it's a good workout hike, and the trail is in fine shape. It reminds me a fair amount of the Iron Mountain hike, but with the I-15 being significantly louder than Highway 67.

    Justin Barnes completed Monserate Mountain Trail Loop

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Mauna Kea-Humu'ula Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Five stars for the amazing scenery and the sense of accomplishment. Something less than that for the trail itself, which while impeccably maintained, is an absolute a$$-kicker. The first couple miles is on a 40 percent grade of loose cinder (almost like walking up a hill made of sand). For every 3 steps you walk up, you probably lose one of those from slippage. There are no switchbacks on this hike - just straight up. With a heavy pack, we usually average 2-3 miles an hour, here we were at just a shade under 1.5 an hour. You'll need a lot of water, because there isn't any cover, and you'll be sucking wind the whole time, but you won't mind because of the amazing views. We came from the Hilo side, and were in the clouds all the way until we turned off onto the Mauna Kea access road. While we couldn't see anything to the east because of the clouds, all of Mauna Loa and Hualalai were clear as day, and the panorama was spectacular. We started at 6:40 in the morning, and since we hand to be in Waimea by noon, we turned around at 9:10 after about 3.5 miles, so only halfway to the top. We could tell on our way down that a lot of people started around 7:00 (or perhaps they were just walking much faster than us). The walk down is MUCH faster, although you're likely to get cinder in your shoes, so consider bringing gaiters.

    Justin Barnes completed Mauna Kea-Humu'ula Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Mauna Loa Observatory Road Trail

    about 5 years ago

    This hike will give you an appreciation for how gargantuan "Long Mountain" really is. First, the drive up to the observatory is a long one. It is 18 miles, and aside from being in poor shape the first couple hundred feet, is nice and smooth. But since it is a single lane with a fair amount of corners and dips, you'd be crazy to drive any more than 30 miles an hour on the road. So because of that, you'll probably be driving 30-45 minutes once you turn off of the Saddle Road. Once you start the hike, you'll be at around 11,000 feet, which is almost certainly a minimum of 7,000 feet (and more likely 11,000 feet) higher than where you slept the night before. Because of that, start slow, trying not to set any land speed records. Fortunately, the terrain almost prevents you from going fast. Most of the first two miles is pahoehoe, but still not too easy to walk on because of ups and downs. There is a fair amount of a'a, but the ahus (cairns) seem to have been set up to avoid the a'a wherever possible. Sometimes it's just not possible. Somewhere between mile 2 and mile 3, the trail becomes "sandy" for lack of a better description - tiny olivine lava particles. It was a welcome change, with padded steps instead of solid rock that may or may not move under your feet. Also between mile 2 and 3, there are quite a bit more lava types, with more than just black a'a and black pahoehoe - there are reds, olivines, some blue (yes, blue), and lots of shiny particles - just an amazing sight. From mile 3 to the crater edge, the trail isn't as good as the third mile, but much better than the first two miles. The crater edge is impressive in its sheer magnitude - looking out to the other side. We did not hike the last 1.9 miles to the actual peak, as we had gotten a "late" (9:30 am) start and the weather was turning. As a general rule, the mountain is clear first thing in the morning, and gets cloudier throughout the day. So for that reason, get as early a start as possible. While some would say this is not a "scenic" hike because of the lack of vegetation, the sheer size of the mountain, the various lava types, and the views of Mauna Kea and beyond are phenomenal. There's almost no place like this on Earth - well, besides nearby Mauna Kea. ;-) We hiked both, and thought this one was more interesting, but with worse footing.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Iron Mountain Summit Trail - Short

    about 5 years ago

    Nice hike, good trail, but because of that lots of people. If the parking lot (right at Poway Rd and the 67) is full, you can park on the 67. [Not saying that's technically allowed, just saying that dozens of cars did it.] In the summer, the temperature is comfortable if it is foggy, although that means you won't be able to see anything at the top. Mount Woodson is just to the northwest. While very convenient for people in San Diego, we much prefer the solitude of hikes a little further afield, even if that means a longer drive.

    Justin Barnes completed Iron Mountain Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Tahquitz Peak Trail

    about 5 years ago

    This hike was a beast, but well worth it. It's somewhere between 7 and 8 miles roundtrip (I think it's hard for GPS to track all the switchbacks), and goes up around 2000 feet in elevation. Except for one short area around 1.75 miles in, and another exceedingly short area around 3 miles in, the entire hike is uphill. But the views are amazing, the trail is in excellent condition, and the rock formations are very interesting as well. There were very few people on the trail (far fewer than we encountered the week before on the way to Mt San Jacinto). The views are better than we've had on any of our other hikes (including Mt San Jacinto, Mt Woodson, Hot Springs Mtn, Mt Cuyamaca), with views mostly the southwest but also the southeast (and eventually the north and east) as you get to the top. From the top it is easy to make out Thomas Mtn, Hot Springs Mtn, Palomar Mtn, and Mt Cuyamaca. The Salton Sea was viewable, but hard to distinguish in the morning light. And, of course, the various peaks around Mt San Jacinto are easy to make out the entire hike. All in all, this was one of our favorites.

    Justin Barnes followed David Schlegel

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed San Jacinto Peak from The Tramway

    about 5 years ago

    The paths are easy to follow, and there are signs at every "intersection," so there's minimal risk of getting lost. Additionally, at least on weekends, there are a substantial amount of folks climbing, so you can just ask someone. The tram rides start at 8am, so you can start the hike at 8:30. It took us until about noon to get to the top, and we got back to the tram station around 2:30 or 2:45. We weren't setting any land speed records, but we weren't getting passed by very many people either, so I think our pace was probably about average. To give an idea of temperature, when we came up from the Palm Springs Valley it was already above 80 (at 7am) and was over 100 when we got back to our car at 4pm. But the whole time up top, we were in the 60s, with long sleeve shirt and long pants feeling just about right. There's a million reviews for this hike, so no need to repeat all of that, but I will say that we saw a TON of people with walking sticks, and those seemed completely unnecessary, if not counterproductive, to us. The trail is in excellent condition, and the only parts of the trail that are uneven are because of big granite boulders, so a walking stick isn't going to help one iota. What would help is having your hands free to grab onto a rock (or two) as you take a big step up or down.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Pacific Coast Trail Combs Peak Section

    about 5 years ago

    This is a very nice, very uncrowded hike, with excellent views. There are two reasons I gave 4 instead of 5 stars. The first is that the road leading to the trailhead (Lost Valley Road) isn't paved, and unless you have a 4x4, it's not a lot of fun driving. [Note: This shouldn't dissuade anyone from driving here, we did just fine in a Volkswagen, but I wouldn't try something with a very low clearance.] The second is that while the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) part of the hike is in excellent shape and well-maintained, the "climber's trail" up to Combs Peak is a bit hard to find and a bit hard to follow. We passed the turnoff while walking the PCT, and had to back-track a bit. I didn't measure exactly where the turn-off is, but it's definitely between 1.75 and 2.00 miles from the trailhead, with 1.85 being my best guess. It's marked by a rock formation ("duck"), which leads to the climber's trail that zig-zags up the mountain. We were able to follow the ducks all the way up the mountain without any problems - there were a ton of ducks. Coming down, we lost the trail (it's harder to see going downhill than up because of the vegetation), but it wasn't a huge deal because we could see the PCT the whole time and just angled our descent towards the PCT. Walking up the footing was fine, but coming down there were a couple places where I wish the footing would have been better, as there are many smallish rocks that move around under your feet. All of this was well worth it, however, as the view from the top was spectacular, with views in all directions. Hot Springs Mountain and Lake Henshaw were easily viewable to the South, and many mountains including Mt San Jacinto were right there to the North. I thought the view from Combs Peak was better than that of Hot Springs Mountain, as it has less impediments. Also, assuming you don't get lost, the hike is fairly short (5 miles roundtrip, with just about 4 on the PCT), and very uncrowded (we saw nobody on the trail).

    Justin Barnes completed Combs Peak via the PCT

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Red Route Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes completed Red Route Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Double Peak Trail

    about 5 years ago

    This used to be a much nicer hike, when it wasn't going through neighborhoods and parallel to new roads. It's still a decent workout, but there are much nicer hikes in the area that give you more of a truly outdoorsy feel.

    Justin Barnes completed Double Peak Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Elfin Forest Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes completed Lake Hodges Overlook Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Palomar Observatory Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Our hike from the campground to the observatory and back was 5.1 miles, and took just over two hours. The hike was pleasant, mostly in the shade. There were some people, but not very many. We did come across a very angry rattlesnake, but avoided getting bitten. I'd rate the hike higher, but the drive to the campground was a pain, with numerous motorcycles on South Grade road flying up and down the road.

    Justin Barnes completed Palomar Observatory Trail

    about 5 years ago

    Justin Barnes reviewed Potato Chip Rock - Mt. Woodson Trail

    about 5 years ago

    This hike starts off relatively flat, going around the lake, and then starts going essentially straight uphill, with numerous switchbacks and steps. Our pace on this hike was much slower than others in the area, and that was on a relatively cool May day that started off in the fog. The trail is very crowded, and at the "potato chip" rock there were probably 25 or so people there at any given time. It's nice to have the crowds in case you need help, but all the people kind of kill the serenity, especially when 1 in 5 people are playing music through speakers and not headphones. This is a nice hike, but I don't quite see why it is so much more crowded than some of the other hikes in San Diego County.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Cuyamaca Peak Loop

    about 5 years ago

    For climbing up 1500' feet, this was much easier than we thought it would be. By heading up the Conejos trail - as opposed to just walking straight up the fire road - the grade is much less. There are also far fewer people; we didn't see anyone until the Conejos trail joined up with the fire road just below the summit. We did, however, see two groups of deer, plus a number of birds and wildflowers. Despite being a mile high, we didn't really notice any shortness of breath from the elevation. The trail is in good shape, and just sort of meanders about through the forest, which is coming back from fires a number of years back. Because of the elevation, the temperature was comfortable. Of the various hikes we've done in San Diego (Hot Springs Mtn, Palomar Mtn, Mt Woodson, etc.) this one was our favorite. And that was even without a view from the top (it was foggy and so the view to the west wasn't very far). We came back down the fire road, and the total length was 7.4 miles, and it took us right at 3 hours.

    Justin Barnes reviewed Hot Springs Mountain Trail

    about 5 years ago

    This is the tallest mountain in San Diego County. You start the hike from a campground on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. The day permit is around $15 for a couple, roughly on par with what some of the State Parks and National Forests charge. You pay at a building by a stop sign, and then drive for about 2.5 miles more down Camino San Ignacio before you reach the campground.

    From the campground, the first two miles are some fairly steep switchbacks on a road wide enough for vehicles. It is completely exposed, and the slope is unrelenting. After those two miles, there are three more miles in forested areas, with well-established signs on the various paths that lead off of the "main" path. The slope tapers off considerably, but is still nearly all uphill. At the top, there are two hills, one with a fire lookout and one without. At the top, the views are amazing, although it was very windy. The hike down was much better, and although the final two miles are very steep, the footing was fine. All told, it was right at 10 miles roundtrip. It took 4 hours total, and there was no one else on the mountain.

    Compared to other hikes in the area, I would rate this as good but not great. The trail itself is a dirt road as opposed to a narrow path, which has its pros and cons. The advantage is that you're not going to just happen upon a rattlesnake. The disadvantage is that it's harder to shade, and the two miles at the bottom are awfully exposed. It's nice having the area to yourself, as some trails (Mt Woodson especially) have tons of folks. The hike itself is not quite as strenuous as Mt Woodson, but is more difficult than the Conejos loop trail to the top of Cuyamaca Peak. But if you're training for something, this is a great workout. And the view at the top really is nice, with unimpeded views in 3 directions.

    Justin Barnes completed Hot Springs Mountain Trail

    about 5 years ago