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Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is a 5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Idyllwild-Pine Cove, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.0 mi Elevation gain 859 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Rock climbing

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

Scramble

Off trail

Description
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Getting There

Easy family hike, lovely forested trail, great views of Tahquitz/Suicide Rock This is a perfect setting for a leasurly family hike. The trail acends very gently from the south end of Idyllwild to Humber Park, passing through a wonderful dense forest of pines. As you approach Humber Park, spectacular views of Suicide and Tahquitz rocks come in to view. Once you reach Humber Park, walk up the road a few hundred yards to the Devil's Slide Trail head and find a peaceful spot for a picnic lunch. If you still have some energy left, hike a half mile or so up the Devil's Slide trail for unbelievable views of both Tahquitz and Suicide rock. Return the way you came. Adventure Pass is required.

Make sure you have an Adventure Pass for parking and some trails require a Wilderness Permit for day hiking.

USDA Forest Service (909) 659-2177

From the 10 near Banning, take highway 243 to the town of Idyllwild. On the south edge of Idyllwild, take Saunders Meadow Road past Desert Sun School, turning left on Pine Avenue, then right on Tahquitz View Drive. Drive past the South Fork Trail junction to the start of the Ernie Maxwell trail. There will be a trailhead marker on the right side of the dirt road. Note that you can also start the hike from the opposite end just below Humber park, but you wind up walking uphill on the way back (not my preference!)

Weather
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Reviews (839)
Photos (653)
Recordings (684)
Completed (1477)
R & A G.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

Agree with those that said it’s easy-moderate. I’m in ok shape and did it in two hours without stopping. Definitely a bit buggy but it was very pleasant and had some nice introductory views.

View R & A's Recording
Thien-Y Hoang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!

This trail is definitely more like 6.5 miles and I would account the constant slow incline and length into consideration. So I’d say it’s more like easy-moderate. There’s shade from the trees along the way and we didn’t see too many people out on a Friday during COVID which was nice. Most people wore masks but often weren’t super respectful of standing off to the side. Kind of just breezed by like all was normal. Once we got to Suicide Rock, it was nice being alone up there and taking in the views. We took quite a few breaks as we thought it’d be a shorter and easier hike so took us like 3 hours of active hiking. But only 1.5 hour going back down.

Anna Eliopoulos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking
View Anna's Recording
Anna Eliopoulos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking
View Anna's Recording
D T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Clean, shady, most people wearing masks or pulling them up (masks saves lives, please wear one) Parking lot full so parked on the road and walked up to trail head. Nice hike to break in new boots.

View D's Recording
Ty Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail with lots of trees and shade. Relatively easy hiking if you are a regular hiker. We started at the bottom and it’s uphill at the start and downhill on the way day which is nice. Highly recommended!

View Ty's Recording
Adam Manthei
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Keith Reel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking

Nice warm up hike. Not very busy today

View Keith's Recording
Kristin Grulke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Nice fairly flat trail. If you go early, bring bug spray! It took me 2 hours 15 min to complete. Gave the hike 3 stars because you can hear civilization the entire time (dogs barking, cars, construction).

View Kristin's Recording
Ali Ali
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!

Beautiful, scenic trail, I actually completed it the other way around so the way back was uphill for us. Started at 5:30pm on a Saturday, not crowded and sunset views as reward at the end.

Nayan Halankar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Excellent easy hike if you start early

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Denise Montagne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful easy clean trail. Would recommend to go early and avoid crowds

View Denise's Recording
Clinton Cressy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020

Nice trail, but it seems mountain biking is not allowed on this trail. There is a no bikes sign at the trailhead at Humber park.

justin stanfield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020

really enjoyed. me and my brother started at 7:30 got back down when it started to get hot around 10:30 if out of shape just take it slow and drink water. with some rest. :) enjoy

Tiffers Kolstad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

This was a nice easy hike that goes from one parking lot to the next. It was beautiful and shaded.

David Jackson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

This was a perfect, beautiful, good workout but not hard, dog-friendly hike. We stumbled upon it and are so glad we did. Super fun! If you time the return trip with the sunset the ridgeline that the sun sets over keeps getting lower as you hike so you get a permanent sunset the whole way.

View David's Recording
Jess Earley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 18, 2020
Hiking

Perfect easy hike for us and our dogs! Plenty of shade and lots of pretty views.

View Jess's Recording
Shelley Streeby
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike with no difficult portions except for some uphill and rocky stretches. Pretty quiet at 8/30 am then pretty busy by 10:30 or so. Nice mix of trees, good shade, acorns, flowers, a little waterfall. Many nice people on trail but many younger folks maskless going too fast and never stepping aside for the old folks. My husband and I scrambled up or down hill 6 feet to the side about 30 times while no one did that for us, though some thanked us. We are late 50s people who do wish sometimes the young folks would show more consideration and not bear in on you obviously ready to pass within inches if you don’t act. Young men running together with no masks or intention of looking out for others or stepping aside. Young families need to be more thoughtful about this, as a maskless dad walking on the side of the trail nearest the old folks precariously holding onto the side of the hill 6 feet away who had shouted out to look out for them ahead is not a good example for his kids, and the children who saw said old people precariously dangling had obviously not been told any lessons about staying distant and decided to stop for a while inches away from where we were precariously hanging on. Wish young families would show more care looking out for the older ones and teach their children the same. In terms of the dude Conor’s comment below, ironically the horrible Karen was actually calling the cops on the poor guy because he complained about her dog not being on a leash in an area that requires it. So it’s the opposite of what you are saying below about Karens—Karen got mad when the guy told her her dog should be on a leash and wigged out and called the police. So actually the person mad about having to have their dog on a leash is the Karen.

Connor Galloway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

Avoid if you are a serious hiker. Always, always crowded with Karens who will yell at locals for not having their dogs on a leash, but then have absolutely zero trail etiquette. Least favorite trail in the area, BUT super duper easy with decent views - so if you wanted to get a quick walk in with the kids, just do so in the early morning. Otherwise pick something else.

Chelsea Clyde-Brockway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingRocky
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Miranda Whitworth Munoz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020
Hiking

If you want to do it right (in my humble opinion) park on the dirt road at the bottom and hike the 2.5 miles up. I’m not in great shape and I did take a couple of breaks to catch my breath, but we made it to the full, official parking lot at the top relatively unscathed. The bottom (end) of the trail is empty, but as you get within a half mile of the top trailhead you’ll run into plenty of groups. It was nice knowing it was all downhill once we hit the paved parking and turned around, watching people just starting from the top skip downhill fresh and happy was a bit amusing. When we passed them on their way back up they looked less enthused. Other than some mishaps with my 13 year old who was NOT prepared emotionally or physically for a five mile round trip, the trail was great.

Andrew Dunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 7, 2020
Hiking

Great trail with some beautiful views. I brought my camera along and took some great photos while I was hiking along. The trail is overall pretty casual, with small sections where it's a bit steep or technical, but not a lot.

Nicole Ginther
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingBugs

Beautiful hike! A couple little streams along the way. Not hard to cross them. Great for those of us who like to take nature walks - not a hard hike but not flat either. We parked at the bottom so that the first half was uphill. Very limited parking. We started around 7:15am and for the first 90 min people were great about masks and social distancing. Very polite. As we got further into the hike and later into the morning more careless groups started to show up (no masks, not stepping aside).

KEN SENG
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 2, 2020
Running

Very crowded! I guess summer is here.

View KEN's Recording
RikRask(Eric Richard Lasko)
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 23, 2020
Hiking

(Hiked on 6/20) Decent family friendly trail. Very crowded but it was a Saturday after all..... Great alpine smells - enjoy!

Tracey McFarland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail. I’m glad I did uphill first. Beautiful views and flowers, and a nice amount of shade. About 40 different people on the trail up and down. Half considerate in yielding, social distancing, masks; half not. Still enjoyed the hike.

Stanislav Zakharin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020
Running

Beautiful trail for a nice and easy walk. Great for people of all ages and abilities. Great for kids. It is a very gradual downhill from Humber Park. This trail does not allow Mountain Biking!

Clint Syverson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020
Hiking

Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. Tuesday, June 16, 2020. The trail is aptly named. It is very scenic and popular. Around 20 other groups of one to six people passed me during my weekday afternoon visit. The elevation is just right for lots of large trees to thrive. The scenery included flowers, butterflies, a few squirrels, the seemingly ever-present cute little lizards (we don’t have those back in Michigan), as well as two streams and what could be best described as a trickle across the trail, in addition to the fore mentioned large trees and the enormous boulders so common around here. Bugs were not a problem and there is a goodly amount of shade on the trail. The very basic restrooms at the upper end at Humber Park were open. Although there is official parking for the trail at Humber Park, it is also popular to hike up from the lower end so the return is downhill. You have to be observant to see the simple sign identifying the trail at its lower end on Tahquitz View Drive. There is no official parking although there is some room along the narrow dirt road for a few cars to park. The trail elevation difference is 860 feet over its 2.5 mile length which makes for an average grade of 6.5%. The steepest section is close to the top of the trail where you also have to carefully balance yourself on some rocks to cross a shallow stream.

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