Marion Mountain to San Jacinto

HARD 323 reviews

Marion Mountain to San Jacinto is a 13.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idyllwild, California that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

DISTANCE
13.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,494 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

no dogs

Full day hike! Definitely separates the avid from the casual hikers, this is one hike you want to be acclimated for, or allow extra time to reach the peak. If there's a hint of bad weather, make sure you are prepared for it with at least a windbreaker and 10 essentials. You need to get a permit to enter the San Jacinto Wilderness. Get it from the station in Idyllwild. Day permits are also available at the Stone Creek Campground for this hike. There is a kiosk to the right just before you enter the campground registration area. If you can't get a permit for the hike, Marion Mountain Campground might be a way to sideline the 9 to 5 type restriction on permitting. If you get a campsite pass, you are supposed to be able to hike the Forest as well. You will still need a State pass for the area after about a mile and a half on the trail going up the mountain... Get both, or just stay at a campground and then get the State pass. There are several routes up San Jacinto. Most people take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up from the desert floor and begin their journey in Long Valley. The lesser-travelled Marion Mountain trail skips the tram, beginning a few miles north of Idyllwild. It's the shortest route up Mt. San Jacinto. It's also steep, relentlessly climbing over 4,000 feet in under 6 miles.

hiking
14 days ago

Great place to start if you are camping in one of the spots nearby. You should start as early as possible and be prepared for some serious elevation gain. The top is pretty crowded so you may have to spend a good amount of time at the top.

hiking
25 days ago

it was a beautiful hike! I'm giving this trail 4 stars because the miles stated are not correct according to my GPS. I spoke with a few people on the trail and we all had the same amount of miles tracked. I got 15.26 miles and others got 16. I think the miles need to be reevaluated.
Aside from the miles, the weather was perfect!
The trail was easy to follow and beautiful, with a couple of natural springs for extra water.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike!!! Got to do it on an overcast day with cooler summer temps. So much to see on this hike. The views from the top are incredible. I recommend doing this hike on a week day to get some peak time by yourself.

hiking
1 month ago

It's a steep trail, and it's at elevation. So pace yourself and be ready for a climb. It's mostly shaded by giant, beautiful trees and there are great views. When we hiked in late June the creek was running, but not strong. We camped at the Marion Mountain campsite and turned it into a weekend. You can backpack it, which would breakup the ascent and might be worth it. Overall a great trail and a rewarding days work. Also, the top is just rocks, so just make your way up safely and you'll find a top with a sign.

1 month ago

Awesome hike with beautiful scenery, but definitely hard.

hiking
1 month ago

The key is LEAVE EARLY. Like IN THE DARK. With a headlamp, because the first couple of miles are not only incredibly steep at times they are also incredibly rugged and sometimes a bit hard to follow. But this gets you to the summit before the crowds - and has the benefit of you descending in the warming day rather than climbing!
7/4/2018 there was water up high in a few places.

hiking
1 month ago

What a great hike! We departed from the Trailhead at 8am this morning and arrived at the summit at 11:45am. The trail was well maintained throughout and we saw the occasional hiker on our ascent. The views from the top are incredible and well worth the effort! After spending 45 minutes at the top having lunch and taking in the views, we began our descent at 12:30. The trip down is a grind as the legs begin to wear down, but we made it back to the truck at 4:05. Would definitely recommend for seasoned hikers.
Total Hiking Time: 3:45 ascent + 3:35 descent = 7 hours and 20 minutes.

1 month ago

Love this hike, great escape if you live in the desert. Great views at the summit. And cool little shelter near the top with 2 bunk beds.

hiking
2 months ago

A beautiful torture! Next time i will most likely backpack it. The first 4 miles or so kicked my butt and I got my second wind on the last push. I loved the last mile switchbacks until the climb on the pile of rocks. Perfect weather this past Saturday. Bring 3 liters of water and refill at the spring.

backpacking
2 months ago

Took my 9 year old son up this weekend for his first backpacking trip. Chose this route because it was the shortest and it was the only route that had water along the trail. We started the hike around 10am and didn't get to Little Round Valley until almost 8 pm. It was incredibly steep so we went really really slow and took tons of breaks. Little Round Valley was really beautiful and a great place to camp. There was a really good flow of water to filter about 1/4 mile below the campground. The next morning we summit San Jacinto. I honestly liked the trail from Little Round Valley to San Jacinto peak the most.

This trail was really hard considering we are not athletic people to begin with. I hiked to the peak from Idyllwild two years ago and that was a much longer but easier trail. If I had to do it again I may start at the tram but still camp at Little Round Valley. But as my son says we definitely challenged ourselves.

I'm giving it 4 stars because there are sections that were so had for us that it was a little difficult to enjoy. But that's based on our level of fitness.

2 months ago

Tough hike, relentless climb. Definitely going back!

hiking
2 months ago

We summited in 3.5; stopped for about a half hour lunch and it took us about 2.5 hours to get down. Zero snow. If you follow the signs for the marion mountain campground, there is eventually a sign for the marion mountain trailhead. The trail is an upward push for the first 2.4 miles and the last 1.3 miles. Zero snow.

2 months ago

Good gps

2 months ago

signage was pretty good, this is a tough one. seems to be just a relentless climb and remember, you are starting the trail at 6000 feet so air gets pretty thin as you near the top.
For an old guy like me (62) it was rough and I took alot of short breaks, but finished, which is all that matters.
Great forest to walk through, very peaceful.

2 months ago

epic^3

hiking
3 months ago

Wasn't into the section where you bump into all the people strolling off the tram for a leisurely walk.

3 months ago

This hike took us 5 hours and 44 mins total. Our GPS said it was 13.2 miles long from where we parked at the trail head and back down. We used this as a training hike for the Grand Canyon. It is definitely one of the hardest hikes my husband and I have done, both physical and mentally. The first two miles are the steepest, and the last mile up is pretty steep as well. Pretty hard on the knees coming back down. Take hiking poles/sticks, they will help out a lot! There is an area with bushes that brush your legs. I wore shorts with long socks and came out fine. We will definitely do this hike again because the views at the top is worth it!

3 months ago

Took on the challenge and summit via marion mt trail. it was good to see plenty of hikers and pct trailheads on this lovely sunny day. completed on 04/29/2018 (bleedingumz.3y3)

hiking
3 months ago

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 months ago

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.

5 months ago

Very beautiful snow hike. The last two miles to the top required alot of physical and mental effort, but the views from the peak made it worth it!

backpacking
8 months ago

Very beautiful. Not too much wildlife at this time of year, just lots of ground squirrels that I saw anyhow. Spent the night in round Valley and complete solitude, I was the only one in camp, it was beautiful. Strong winds picked up Saturday night carried through all night until the next day after My descend to a lower elevation.

hiking
8 months ago

Decently shaded. Stunning views. It is steep with bunches of roots and rocks, but it's not too crazy because it is well maintained. Well worth the time!

It looks as if they may be planning a trail change near the bottom soon, probably because water washes over the Marion trail at points. There's a water pipe that feeds a well which runs along the trail during the first mile or so, but it's not too obnoxious.

hiking
8 months ago

This was a stunning hike, I have hiked the peak from the Deer Springs Trailhead and done the loop before, and this hike shares some of that trail, but I had much more fun with this route. Its pretty steep for the first miles, but nothing too bad, the views are amazing towards Baldy and Gorgonio and the sunrise this morning made it spectacular. The air was clear and I found shade from the wind at the peak and spent almost two hours at the top exploring with my binoculars, could even identify peaks as far away as Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. I met only a very few people on this sunday after thanksgiving and it felt like I had the trail to myself. Deff my favourite route to the San Jacinto Peak so far.
PS....And oh, you can get your permit at the at the Stone Creek Campground, there is a kiosk to the right just before you enter the registration area. No need to go to Idyllwild Ranger Station, time saver in the morning.

hiking
9 months ago

If you're looking for more of a challenge than the normal route from the tram, this is for YOU! The elevation gain is insane but its well worth it. There is a prickly and brushy area that sweeps your legs so wear long hiking pants.

9 months ago

Great hike. Gorgeous views

hiking
9 months ago

hiked this with a a couple of friends last weekend and had a great time. perfect weather. trail ended up being closer to 13 miles than the 11.2 listed here. Marion Mt trail and the rest of hike up offers great views. trekking polls and plenty of water recommended. there a small Creek about half way up but nothing potable.

10 months ago

My boyfriend and I started hiking being of this year, February 2017. so we weren't the most experienced hikers. We started hiking this trail as a way to get physically ready to go to Yosemite national park. I have to say that this Trail had changed the way I see hiking forever. Our first attempts, we were only able to go a little more than a mile in. But we came back every weekend and now we are physically able to make it to the summit.
Info on the trail:
There are many switchbacks the whole trail, so you will get a decent workout. The trail will often give way to beautiful lookout points where many hikers will stop to take a break and take in the amazing scenery! This trail is well shaded and is especially cool in the summer months compared to the surrounding desert areas. It is a well known trail and if you hike it often enough you will get to see the same dedicated people each week. So a happy and fun community of hikers will be present here. be sure to bundle up and stay warm if you come anytime in the fall or winter. The best time to hike this area is from June to October but even now in September it gets rather cold in the mornings. of you can bring trekking poles with you, pls do. They can really help you during the elevation gain. All in all though, my boyfriend and I absolutely love this trail. It has made hiking a lifestyle for us. I will forever say this place is near to our hearts.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful 360° view at the summit!

hiking
10 months ago

I completed this trail as my first peak of the SoCal Triple Crown in 24 hours. A friend and I started at about 1:30 AM and went slow and steady pace which took us 5h33m to complete. We measured the total distance from the parking lot to the summit and back to be 12.5 miles with EG to be 4,423'.

We had never been on this trail before so we drove to the trailhead at first but realized it was a campground so we drove back down and found the hiker's parking lot.

When hiking this trail it is possible to lose track and go down the wrong path at junctions. Have a good map and GPS handy to save yourself time and energy. Enjoy the view and the hike.

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