Marion Mountain to San Jacinto

HARD 245 reviews

Marion Mountain to San Jacinto is a 12.6 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
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4517 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.

1 day 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.

1 month 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
4 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
4 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
4 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
5 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.

5 months ago

Great hike. Gorgeous views

hiking
5 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.

6 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
6 months ago

Beautiful 360° view at the summit!

hiking
6 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.

hiking
7 months ago

It was tough and technical with rocks and roots throughout. A very tough downhill!! The view at the top is spectacularly sweeping. And yes you can see Catalina, desert, mountains and basically most of SoCal. There are lots of side trails so keep your bearings and route with checks especially at the junctions.

7 months ago

Very steep but pretty trail. Lots of rocks and tree roots,,, more like 12 miles

hiking
7 months ago

Tough hike but very doable. Pace yourself and you'll do fine. Poles helped a lot on the steep sections. One thing regarding wilderness permits, you don't have to go into Idyllwild ranger station. There is a kiosk at the Stone Creek Campground near the Campground station where you can fill one out and drop into the box. Saved me a half hour coming from I-10.

7 months ago

Exhilarating.

hiking
7 months ago

Probably one of the most grueling hikes I have done yet bagging peaks! From the first step its all incline. There are some parts that level out after a couple of miles but then it gets grueling again with never ending switchbacks to the top then a rock scramble that you must climb in order to make it to the very top of the peak. Coming down is grueling as well since parts of it is very steep. Overall hella hard hike but rewarding and beautiful scenery to look at.

hiking
7 months ago

Great training hike in beautiful mountain scenery. Love this place.

hiking
7 months ago

The parking lot to the first trail junction were brutal. Felt like we were going straight up. Be prepared to climb hard the first 1/3 of the trail. 5 hours up and 3 hours down.

hiking
9 months ago

Great tough hike! Not much to add as all the previous reviews are accurate. 13.5 miles hike starting at the parking lot, although the posted signs seems to be not very accurate with the distance, its longer than posted signs according to my gps. Most of the hike is in the shades. If you are mentally prepared, coming down wont seem as endless (thanks for one of the reviews). I consumed 2.5L of my 4L water. Enjoy this beautiful hike. Grab your permit, the ranger station is some 7-8 miles down the road on 243 highway. 6hrs going up and 4hrs coming down for us.

9 months ago

Did this yesterday. Beautiful awesome hike. trail sign says 5 1/4 miles, but my gps said 6.1 miles. hot at the bottom. cool and light rain at the top. such a beautiful alpine area.

hiking
9 months ago

Did the hike today, July 16. Started around 7am and reached the peak around 10:30am. Was certainly a tough hike, both up and down, but well worth it. The views up top and along the way were fantastic. Lightly traveled and the temps started in the low 70s and topped out in the mid 80s. There are 2 ways to go and the Tram start would be much easier for sure. The hike took up pretty much the whole day and I need all of my 3L of water. I will certainly do it again, but it will be awhile.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a great hike. It's about 14 miles starting at the parking lot. Good solid footing unlike Baldy. The sticker plants were not fun but the view is beautiful so it makes up for it. The water falls were nice to see and the campground is a great place to relax for a while. The next part of the trail gets a little tougher since the landscape changes and it gets rocky. Once you hit the junction it flattens out to get you ready for the rock climbing adventure at the end. Most beautiful views as noted in other reviews. It was ok coming down until about the last 2 miles I was tired and that what was difficult going up is also difficult coming down. Overall it was a wonderful day and I'd do it again.

hiking
9 months ago

Solid hike with amazing views at the top.
The board below (at beginning of the trail) says the trail is 5.25miles long, but it actually turned out to be longer than that - it sucks to realize that you have to walk more when you are hoping that you reached the peak. But a very rewarding hike indeed.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked this trail with my 11 year old son. It was his first summit hike. We started out of Marion Mt. Campground. It took us roughly 6 hours up and 3 1/2 down. All and all it was a great experience, we had to motivate each other to keep going. I am so happy we completed it and did it together. I am just glad he didn't know how hard it was, before we started. The views around each corner and over each ridge were awesome.

trail running
9 months ago

Did this on a day where the valley temp was > 100F but it was 60's at the peak! As advertised, tough going up and felt endless going down but variation in the surroundings, mostly canopied trail, and great views made it worthwhile. Used all 2 liters of water so make sure to bring enough or a filter for the streams.

9 months ago

We did it 2 days ago, 6/17, and luckily it was 15-20 degrees cooler in the mountains with this recent heat wave. Runkeeper app clocked it at 12.2 miles. Great views, tough incline (2nd mile 1,000 ft gain), and I felt the effects of the altitude...did get kinda crowded at the summit. great views in all directions from the top. It took almost 5 hrs up and to our surprise going down took longer than expected...nearly 4 hrs...just seemed to go on and on.

hiking
9 months ago

This is one of the best trails in Southern CA, in my opinion. It has some very steep and challenging sections but also provides good straightaways to give your legs a breather. My buddy and I completed the hike in 5 hours going up; 3.75 hours going down. We typically average 45 min - 1 hour miles on our hikes, which include multiple stops throughout our hikes for catching a breather and enjoying the scenery, as well as a halfway extended break and time at the top of the summit. The Marion Trail offered a variety of views which kept our interest, wondering what would be around the next bend. Multiple "waterfalls" were a bonus. The last 1/4 mile to the top is basically straight bouldering with no marked trail -- just get to the top somehow. While it wasn't incredibly hot, I did go through 2L of water before reaching the halfway mark heading down. My buddy filled up water from one of the streams going down and used his UV filter. He brought poles and found them very useful on the way down. I suggest wearing pants (even if it's hot) as a couple sections require a tight passage through some spiky plants. We hiked as part of Whitney training, but would honestly do this hike again just for fun.

Enjoy the journey!

hiking
10 months ago

Very steep incline for the first 2 miles. The next 2 aren't bad and the final mile is excruciating

hiking
10 months ago

Very scenic, but very difficult. The hike was definitely more than 11 miles, my gps recorded 12 while other people recorded 15 miles. Takes about 5 hours to summit

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