Explore the most popular trail running trails in Mount San Jacinto State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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!

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.

I use this trail for backpacking training. It usually takes me 10 to 12 hours round trip, depending on how I feel. Its long and intense, ideal for PCT, CDT or AT training. Bring plenty of water and food

Beautiful views, though physically challenging. Hiked the trail last Saturday. Went through five liters of water.

This is known as the shortcut to the cactus to clouds but it’s still pretty intense. I loved the scenery on this hike. I did this one about a month ago (early September) and it was about 100 degrees in Palm Springs but it’s about 30 degrees cooler at the top of the tram in the park so pack accordingly. I tried to get a ticket for the tram on the website but they were out so I just showed up 30 mins before the first tram at 8am and was able to get a ticket no problem. The hike is pretty easy to follow and shaded most of the way so it helps. The last 10th of a mile requires some scrambling but nothing too crazy.

Overall a good experience.

hiking
21 days ago

This hike is quite challenging. It is challenging because of its distance of over 18 miles and the over 5000 feet of elevation gain. We did it as a group hike at a moderate pace and it took us 9.5 hours to complete it. We did take a very long break at the summit and another good one at the PCT & Wellman's Divide junction. It is definitely not for a beginner hiker.

Great hike, very worth it. The climb to Little Round Valley is the hardest part. After the valley, the final assent isn’t much farther or as hard.

If you approach the highest point from directly below, there’s an easy boulder problem ;)

First off, here’s what my GPS (Garmin GPSMAP 64st) gave for distance and elevation gain... twice.

Mileage Round Trip: 15.49 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,876 feet

The reason the elevation gain’s so high is because the hike is a geographically anomaly described by grandparents as their walk to school... uphill both ways. Joking aside the ridge dips and gains a lot so be prepared for ups.

Spectacular trail with a bomb view of San Jacinto Peak a few miles in. This was my third time to the summit and definitely not my last. Enjoy!

We started at the museum and ran into a couple of people coming back down. One said that if we chose the left fork just a little ahead, it was an easier ascent, so we did. Unfortunately, the blazes petered out, and we ended up following what looked like a trail but clearly wasn't. Got badly lost and finally made our way down the side into someone's driveway. The views were great, though, and I'd love to try it again when it's cooler.

Hiked it in sections on the weekends. It took 8.5 days, 2 3-day trips, 1 2 day trip and a half day to Cajon Pass from the 138. The highlight was seeing a bear just before we dropped down to White Water Preserve. Water is scarce on the North side of Big Bear Lake. We did a water drop at our half way point. It was sad to see Deep Creek so full of trash and graffiti.

New favorite peak in Southern California. Took seven hours round trip including 45 m. at the peak. Beautiful.

Amazing hike. Super windy and cold at the top, so dress in layers!

hiking
1 month ago

Good hike and great training for other big hikes like Mt. Whitney or the Grand Canyon. The trail was in pretty good condition though a few places could use some trail work as the brush made the trail a bit tight in spots. The majority of the trail is good and was not hard to follow. There were also numerous signs at trail junctions to help keep you on the correct trail.

hiking
1 month ago

I started at 8.00am from Humber Park and this trip took a total of 10 hours taking it easy. I carried 4 liters of water and was well hydrated at the start. My pack weighed fifteen pounds. Note that the trail signs assert a round trip fo 15.6 miles. This is an awesome hike with the most spectacular views you could wish for. If you are reasonably fit this hike should not be difficult for you - slow and easy wins the day. The epic stuff begins at Wellman’s Divide. I was fortunate to see in the meadow below two Deer; stationary and staring at me the way they do. The foliage becomes dense and lush and the fall colors were starting to fire up. I was surprised to see that Wellman’s Cienega still had water though it was a divided, wide, weak stream but enough to gather if patient and use. It was perfect weather for hiking; cloudless, clear and warm and the perception was that you could see forever. I met only three hikers. It amazes me that on such a beautiful day the trail would be so deserted. To cap off a perfect day I drove highway 243 from Idyllwild as the sun was setting. Absolutely stunning landscape.

1 month ago

Midweek hike. Had a late start up the trail and had the summit peak all to myself! Beautiful views, enjoyed the late afternoon sun glowing through the forest trees on the way back down.

Awesome. Definitely not a hike if you’re looking for solitude, but beautiful and not too strenuous. Nice views from the peak.

1 month ago

Really great! Training for Whitney!

I’ve done this hike to the peak of Mt San Jac three times. I always enjoy it. Great views. Bring at least 3 liters of water and food to keep your engine running. At altitude above 6,000 feet, I typically drink about a cup of water every 45 minutes. I got altitude sickness on the Mt. Whitney trail once...This hydration schedule has worked for me!

love it. beautiful view. cool weather.

#5 of our six pack. Perfect weather. Beautiful hike. Distance 12 miles Elevation 3110. Departed from the tram at 9:30. Peaked at 2:00. Back at the tram by 7. Took Hiking guy's advice and left our backpacks by the hut to make it easier to scramble up the rocks at the peak. Incredible views - contrasting desert vs forested mountains. Got off trail on the way back which added an extra mile. Thank goodness for Alltrails!

We saw 5 squirrels on this hike! 10/10 would definitely recommend!

Great hike! Very long and tiring

Not sure if this is the right forum for this or not but I'm curious about water supply. I'm going to be hiking the first 70ish miles of section C (getting off in Big Bear) in late October. Any tips on how much to bring at first?

hiked a few weeks ago. great trail, managed to go up and back to the car in about 5 1/2 hours.

first part of the trail was the most brutal for me, although this may have been on account of the pace.

views were unfortunately terrible this time because of all the smoke by San gorgonio. what little I could see of the vast expanse of desert from the top was awe inspiring, and I hope for clear skies on my next visit!

a must for any serious socal hiker

Great hike! Great views! Not too tough as a day hike with a day pack. Might like to overnight on the summit some day, but a full pack would make this one tougher.

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