Black Mountain Trail is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idyllwild-Pine Cove, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from May until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 2,775 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

forest

views

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

Directions from Banning, CA: Travel southeast along Highway 243 into the Forest. The trailhead is located 1.3 miles south of the Vista Grande Fire Station. Trail begins on the uphill side of the road.

hiking
5 days ago

Overall great hike. Steep from the beginning with a few level brakes. The beginning is great. There are a couple of hidden springs of water for your four legged co-hikers. Near the end, at the top of the mountain, the trail app sends you downward, towards a fire road and campground, this sucks as you have to take the fire road back to the top again. There is another, less obvious trail that will take you straight to the top, past a water tower, thereby avoiding the campground and fireroad all together. At the top of the mountains, there is a split with signs. Go right, youll see the water tower. A less visible trail will put you at the top in minutes.

hiking
7 days ago

This is a good route. The track up from the car park is instantly steep and brutal and only relents for a few short durations near the top. Right now there are tons of flies which seem to always inhabit the most beautiful places but they are ok to deal with, especially if there is a light breeze to take them away. The track is fine gravel and rock. Some large boulders along the way are fun for stopping on and scrambling up for a good view or a place to stop for a break. When you reach the top you are greeted with an excellent panorama of the surrounding forests and mountain. Well worth the hard work.

hiking
bugs
8 days ago

The best unknown trail near Idyllwild. It’s beautiful the entire way and gives you great views of all of the surrounding peaks highways and towns. The campground at the top has bathrooms if you’re not into using nature, like I am.

hiking
9 days ago

This trail is a climb from the beginning but well worth the work. Around the 1.2 mile mark, there is a clearing with lots of boulders — great spot to look out on the IE and chill. Currently, lots of flies but a constant pace and a gentle breeze seems to help. The wildflowers are blooming, both sides of the trail speckled with their beauty. Didn’t hike to the top, will return with poles next time.

hiking
14 days ago

Amazing! Pretty up and back. Incredible views at the top. The uphill is a consistent challenge. Saw very few people (during covid lockdown). Enjoy!

hiking
bugs
icy
rocky
scramble
snow
washed out
1 month ago

Outstanding trail with amazing views, highly recommend it.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

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hiking
3 months ago

This is a great trail. If you’re not an avid hiker... I would not recommend. It’s not picnic. If picnics are your thing I definitely recommend it. The first couple miles are steep. It will wear you down and make to hike back to your car a little long.. but well worth it. I suppose the trail could be maintained a little better.. but what do you expect.. you’re outdoors. If going in the winter or spring I definitely recommend carrying a jacket. You’ll be glad you did when you get closer to the top. Have fun!

hiking
4 months ago

1/20/2020 -Such a nice trail! It’s pretty steep at first, but we didn’t get very far (maybe a mile up) because we had our dog. It would have been fine, but the trail changes from dirt to rock and if my baby slipped and hurt himself I couldn’t carry him back down. If you can trust your pup off leash or they behave well on the leash, l’d totally bring them. -the dirt road up to the parking lot is a little scary... enough room for ONE car and that is IT! If you have a super low car, I don’t recommend driving up to the lot, but parking at a close by turn out and walking up. (The parking lot is small anyways) Definitely going to try this trail again! (No doggie next time)

hiking
4 months ago

I agree with Samual below. Over half of the trail is in snow. It shouldn’t be hard to follow now. We did it with 5, leaving plenty of prints to follow. However, because the trail doesn’t appear to be well maintained, it does lead you thru a couple of spots where you do have to walk between branches that cover the trail. This trail offers some of the best views I’ve ever seen. It starts out steep, but the rewards are well worth it. 3 out of 5 of us used poles and none of us were prepared for snow. We all made it to the lookout tower and all agreed it was one of the best trail experiences we’ve had.

4 months ago

we finished the trail today. started around 10am to let snow and ice melt off the road. the first 3 miles up on the trail were not bad, had some snow to it. maybe about 3 inches. the last mile had deeper snow, about 10-15 inches. trecking poles were super helpful. there were 2 times we were following boot prints and ended up off the trail. just pay attention and you should be okay. it was a real kick in the butt the last mile up.

hiking
scramble
snow
4 months ago

Great hike on 1/3/20 - Started mid-morning and was the only one on the trail for half the trip. Snow in most places (prolly gone by now) Shout out to Greg & Abbey fur showing up when it started getting tough. Mostly ankle deep snow but the last 1/3 had some places that were thigh/waist high. Fortunately we were able cut at least half a mile off the last portion otherwise prolly wouldn’t have hit summit. Upper Platform at the tower was locked which was kinda a bummer. Came from Oklahoma for work in Irvine the following week and decided to come a few days early and hit a trail but couldn’t have asked for a better experience. So glad I did! Hope to hit it again sometime in another season.

hiking
bugs
over grown
8 months ago

So many bugs! Granted it’s mid September and pretty hot, but the overview at the top was so worth it! There’s a tower you can climb up and the volunteer there today, Miles, was very friendly and had all sorts of hiking and nature tidbits to share.

hiking
blowdown
rocky
snow
washed out
Sat Jun 01 2019

Thu Jul 19 2018

Fantastic hike. I was looking for a physical challenge and this trail delivered. No need to repeat what everyone's already said, I just have a couple of things to add. 1. I used the in-app "Directions" arrow icon + Google Maps which took me directly to the trailhead via 243 S towards Idyllwild (from the Banning area). The only error was Google saying the trailhead was on my right/west-ish when it was actually on my left/east-ish but it otherwise, it was on point. All you can see from 243 is a dirt road heading kind of south-east up the mountain. There is a small sign saying street-legal vehicles only allowed. Follow the dirt road a few yards up to the parking lot. 2. I stopped to catch my breath at one point and heard a distinct rattle. As I instinctively jumped away I spotted a rattlesnake, rattles and all, about 2 feet away. It was the same grayish color as a lot of the sticks on the ground. I would never have known it was there had he not been so kind as to warn me!

Sat Jul 07 2018

July 4th 2018, great sunny day. Lot sof bugs. I didn't bring bug off :( got better up about half way. Hard but don't be scared, challenge yourself. I was able to reach the watch tower in about 2 hrs with a pack, weight only about 16 oz water and snacks. The way down is rough on the knees, take your time. I got off the trail twice on the way down. Could be just me, either way pay attention. Great views and photo ops if that's your thing at the top. Top has overnight camping for a fee. Clean, fun, steep, beautiful vegitation. Def would try again with a weighted pack!

Thu Jul 05 2018

Hard it is. Step and constant going up but worth it. Nice views. Has some nice shade areAs and seemed like nice afternoon. Breeze on and off to help.

Mon Apr 02 2018

i went on this hike with my two dogs enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful scenery. After 3.5 miles up a steep trail i reached the summit. I was relaxing with my dogs admiring the scenery along with another hiker I've met along the trail. when approached by a man and woman with too little dogs. my dogs of course curious ran up to the man and woman in a none aggressive manner ( remember this is a dog friendly trail) they begin hitting my dogs and screaming bloody murder even after I had my dogs on leashes still screaming. ruining my hike. all in all very beautiful hike.

Mon Mar 19 2018

Hiked 3/18/2018. Beautiful route, plenty of snow next to the trail near the summit, but the trail itself was totally clear. The trail lists 6.6 miles but only goes to where it meets the truck trail. Round trip to the summit is closer to 8 miles. Driving in, there are TWO signs for black mountain on Highway 243, one for the truck road to the summit and one for the trailhead. Be sure to follow the FIRST sign you pass when coming from Banning. The trailhead is an immediate dead end with the parking lot. Don’t make the mistake we did of driving up the truck trail. Searching for black mountain in Google Maps will take you up the truck road.

hiking
Sun Feb 25 2018

Wow, this was an incredible hike! Let me start out by saying that my husband and I do a lot of hiking and I would rate this one as hard, not moderate. The SUPER steep climbing starts right at the beginning of the trail and really doesn’t let up at all until you get to the top, which happens to be about 7500 feet of altitude. That being said, it was a beautiful hike and I would highly recommend this as long as you’re in pretty good shape! There was lots of snow during the second half of the hike, which made it a lot harder, but all the more rewarding when we got to the top. Our dog had the time of her life running around off leash the entire time (leashes aren’t required on this one) so that made us so happy. We were also really thankful we brought our hiking poles, not only because they was really helpful in the snow, but they were necessary for descending the steep terrain.

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