Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Nice views from top. Added this trail after I did the valley loop the same day. Enjoying the view for lunch was great.

Great trail. Views were amazing through the trail and breathtaking from the desert view points. Will be going back for several hikes and improve my stamina for longer hikes.

I was not expecting this peak to be so rocky, no wonder why people get hurt and rescued around here, specially if covered in snow. As of April 21, the trail is mostly clear with tiny patches of snow here and there, and the temperature is comfortable. The top was crowded already what makes it uncomfortable to walk and get pics with so many boulders where you have to keep your balance. The first and last thirds of the hike are steep mostly. The views are good. There is a source of water half way through the hike. The drive is long specially, after getting off the highway 15, you’ll encounter way too many red lights along 79, before entering the park area.

4/21/2018 Trail is in good condition. No problems as long as you are well conditioned, well prepared.
Trial is well marked with white blazes. Wild flowers in bloom. Saw a few deer.
Summit with scant snow in sections. No special equipment needed today. Water refill at ranger station. Easy 2nd peak bag Miller Peak 10400’ right off the trail near the summit. Look at your maps if you want some more peaks to play on. Great day, great trail, just be prepared.

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.

There is no snow left on this trail as of 4/17, only patchy bits off to the sides. I’m 50 and have been hiking for about 3 years. It took us 4 hours 56 minutes to summit. And 3 hours and 3 minutes to descend. The weather was chilly in the 40s with a little wind that changed to moderate wind at the top. Last year I did San Jacinto from the tram and it was my favorite of the Six Pack of Peaks. This year, I still love the San Jacinto wilderness but not sure if it will be my favorite this year!! Lol. It was a relentlessly steep but my hiking pals, meeting through hikers and the spectacular views made it all completely worth it. I highly recommend hiking poles. I, for some dumb reason, chose not to bring mine today. Lesson learned.

Intense! But worth it all the way.

Great trail with a beautiful view and meditation spot for the half of your day.

holy crap that was brutal! but so very beautiful! yes snow and ice. I used yaktrax and a pole and was fine. tough at altitude.

hiking
8 days ago

This is a moderate hike. The trail is marked by signs and white dots sprayed on rocks. Lots of lizards and various plants and shrubs. Make sure you get there early before it gets too hot. There is no shade!! Overall, a good trail.

I have been up to Mt. San Jacinto summit via different trails, including the C2C, half a dozen times. I enjoyed each and every hike there. The loop hike offers a different perspective for hiking the mountain. You get more views of the Palm Desert along the Willow Creek Trail, in addition to the 36- degree view at the summit.

on Round Valley Loop

10 days ago

Apparently one must take the tram to get to the trailhead. I’m not sure why the All Trails review failed to mention that. Would’ve been good to know. I had no interest in a tram ride so did not end up hiking this trail. Pretty disappointing.

Great day hike on a beautiful day.

Great Trail! Beautiful views and quite a workout for people like us that are still working on getting back in shape.

hiking
15 days ago

Great trail. Elevation wasn’t crazy. Good and steady. Trail is very well maintained. Lots of great spots for pictures. He views from the rock are outstanding. You could spend hours hanging around and checking all the spots. Would recommend this trail. Need a wilderness pass free at the ranger station. Free parking at the beginning of the trail but will get full pretty quick.

Beautiful trail, nice views, good hike for family

hiking
17 days ago

It was a great refreshing hike that got us out of the sun and heat. We didn’t buy a map and took a picture of the trail map at the bottom of the tram path as our guide. That worked well. Still some snow and ice in patches on the trail.

hiking
18 days ago

This was a great hike for all ages. We took our 6 yr old, 11 yr old and 17 yr. old and they all enjoyed it. It did not have very many long stretches of uphills that frustrate our youngest. The trail had a few slushy/icy patches but they weren’t big nor were they muddy. The trail was mostly clear walking over sandy dirt but it also had a few short areas that you walk over some boulders that are mostly underground. In terms of length, it was a bit long for our youngest so we gave him piggy back rides on and off throughout. The terrain is varied enough though that we could make believe we were American Ninja Warriors to keep him going.

The scenery is amazing! Huge trees, giant boulders of granite. Plenty of open areas plus areas where you’re weaving through the boulders. On this hike, there isn’t a place where you overlook all of Palm Desert/Springs but there are other trails in the same area that you can.

The time of day we hiked (11:30-1:30) wasn’t very busy on this particular hike. We saw 4 other groups of two people the whole time we were hiking. The ranger was very helpful in selecting a trail based on our skill levels and gear. He had a great knowledge base of the history, flora and fauna.

BE AWARE!!! you HAVE TO sign up for a FREE hiking permit to hike anywhere outside the two short hikes (Desert View Trail and Discovery Nature Trail) that are right behind the aerial tramway (see next paragraph). If you don’t, the ticket is $450. You stop at the white and red Ranger station that is west and downhill from the tram.

This hike is at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and I’m unsure if there is another easy rout right to this trail. The tram ride costs $25/adult and $17/child. You can get a discount on tickets365.com. The ride is amazing as is the history of the tram.

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

Great scenery along the trail, nice elevation gain and seemed clear of Poison Oak. It was a nice visit to Idyllwild.

Beautiful! did it on Sunday, March 18th with beautiful snow cover.

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?

What a great trail for experienced climbers.

trail running
24 days ago

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

hiking
24 days ago

Very nice hike! Went on March 14 and it was a bit challenging since it had some rain and cold winds near the top but worth it!

Absolutely beautiful hike! My husband and I took the tram up yesterday, camped at Round Valley for the night, and summited San Jacinto this morning. The camping was cold , apparently it got down to 22 degrees but we had the gear for it and stayed pretty warm. For the hike, we brought microspikes but didn't use them- we had grippy hiking boots and for us it was doable without the spikes. However I would definitely recommend bringing spikes because the trail was quite icy coming down -especially the part from round valley to the ranger station. It was okay without the spikes for us, but it might not be for other folks. All in all, the entire experience of staying the night and being the only ones on the mountain in the morning was just amazing. This trail is beautiful, the views are stunning, the quiet is rejuvinating. The tram ride was pretty cool too. Highly recommend.

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).

Go now its warmer and so much closer than you think 1.rst )its cool minûte changes to be temp.untill just before night fall be at site no later than 440 pm weather comes in fast in so cal belive 10803’ not everest never go to any hike https://www.trsrentelco.com/categories/recorders/instrumentation-tape-recorders alone pictures look great “ man one mountain publicity looks grear on mags but anything happes an your up kod by mother nature

I have not done this trek since 1981 the first time ffom the idlewile ville onto sumit that got me hooked that first time was 1976 betweennthen and 1980 i did it both finding the ranger station non existent at foot of trail i had to doublestep it to get legal by closing and if it sounds ominous dont worry is at 500 feet elavation that mosquitos end snd pradise starts till i remember at the summit a cairn for a tiny fire and klook out never recall eating lunch then. Down down the well marked trail all 10000 feet w

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