Black Mountain Trail

MODERATE 37 reviews

Black Mountain Trail is a 6.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Idyllwild, California that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from July until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.9 miles
2611 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly







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.

17 hours ago

1 day ago

11 days ago

I absolutely love this hike!! I bring my two dogs with me.. lots of shade and also lots of bugs. Bring bug spray, and extra water even some snacks. Definitely wanna hit it early! You always have a nice breeze, but the sun rays are super strong! There are several parts where the trail disappears, pay close attention. Many of them can mislead you. You'll reach a water tower, follow around it up to the fire tower. Take the bars up to the fire tower that you can actually go in. Amazing views!! You can literally see everything.. even Catilina Island on a clear day.

15 days ago

18 days ago

This hike is a butt kicker, literally! My legs were screaming by the end. I would call this more of a moderate/difficult hike due to the incline. But otherwise, it's very beautiful with good shade in the morning and no obstacles. The fire tower up on the top of black mountain was so worth it. You can see every mountain range of Southern California.

I would advise to go as early as possible to avoid the heat this time of year. It was a bit brutal on the way back down. And bring lots of water!

Also, an interesting fact. Keep your eyes open for trees you wouldn't expect to see in SoCal. The forestry dept planted some sequoias in this area in the 1970s. It's quite amazing that they actually have grown and survived!

19 days ago

We did this hike on a very hot day! Not much shade at times and a whole lot of bugs! Deceptively steep. No real summit and the "end" isn't well marked so you don't feel like you made it to they top. Lots of neat scenery changes as you get higher.

1 month ago

3 months ago

6 months ago

8 months ago

Hiked with my dog this morning. Well established trail, be prepared to climb and descend! The other reviews were right on, lots of shade, lots of bugs and varying terrain. Some sand, be careful of the rocks. Views are spectacular, bring lots of water. Parking is great, off the road up a little dirt trail. Enough for about 10 cars.

9 months ago

Nature's stairmaster! Definitely challenging at the beginning and at the switchbacks towards the end! I hiked it with my dog and really enjoyed most of it(minus the areas infested with bugs)
Pay attention because we lost the trail a couple of times, but were easily able to get back on track.
Be prepared with plenty of water for you and your dog and bring a snack to enjoy at the top!
Happy hiking:) PS-GPS clocked us at 9.75 miles and 2600 foot incline.

10 months ago

11 months ago

11 months ago

11 months ago

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Sunday, July 03, 2016

There is a ton of shade, and pretty much everywhere you stop to look there is a great view behind you. I would rate this as being difficult, as the trail is pretty relentlessly uphill. It's pretty dusty most of the way and slippery in some places. The small parking lot is easy to miss, as its up a little dirt driveway on the hill. We were coming from the Idyllwild direction so the driveway was in the right and took an awkward hairpin maneuver to get to on a blind corner. I would suggest either coming from Banning, or if you're coming from Idyllwild, pass the trail at first and make a u-turn at a safer place to approach with the driveway on the left. It looks like there was another way in at one time but it looks overgrown.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Ill start by saying it was a satisfying hike though incomplete. My wife and I, novice hikers, found this trail to be as described by others as Moderate-Difficult. I call it "challenging". We were unable to finish the hike because of some snow caps that covered the trail, making it difficult to find the trail. Several other groups of hikers were in the same predicament returning unfinished at the very end (we were all so close!).

I spoke to a guy who claimed he hiked all the way to the lookout station in the past. Some of the maps are vague to wether or not the trail truly does go all the way up or if they stop short and we were unable to verify this ourselves. Maybe we reached the end and it doesn't finish but that would be weird since your so close to the lookout tower.

The trail is well laid out for the most part. A small area of blown down trees covered some of the trail midway but nothing impassable. Its very steep going up and doesn't stop until your at the top. The first mile feels the worst and it does "level off" though, it never really does. Your mind and body will be happy for how "level" it feels later in the hike. ;)

There are no water sources, its very dry right now. Bring plenty of water for you and your pets! There is adequate canopy and shade for dogs, which are allowed. Parking is free (no adventure pass required) at the time of our visit. Check with the forrest service for current conditions.

The description above says its closed Jan-May but this may be conditional. Currently it was open (check FS website for current trail closures).

The entire trip took us 5 hrs with a stop for lunch midway. The first 4 hrs of the hike were all uphill. This including a lengthy lunch stop. Upon turning back, it took only 1 hour to hike down the hill just to give you an idea of how steep it is. Again, we are novice hikers so it may be shorter for some.

All in all, Its a pretty quiet trail. Ran into about a 14 people on a very pleasant Sunday. Id hazard to say that maybe 10 made it to the end. The last 4 I saw were starting the trail at 4pm and were ill equipped to go all the way, I suspect they turned around quickly.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Saturday, September 19, 2015