PCT: CA Section C - Highway 10 to Highway 15 (Cajon Pass)

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Mount San Jacinto State Park

PCT: CA Section C - Highway 10 to Highway 15 (Cajon Pass) is a 197.3 kilometer lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Whitewater, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 197.3 km Elevation Gain: 5,848 m Route Type: Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

8.8mi, 1752ft. I started on Canyon View Loop with the intention of making it to Rainbow Cayon and Red Dome in Whiteater Preserve. The visitor center and amenities in it are closed due the pandemic but the website said foot travel in was permissible via this trail and the PCT north. This doesn't seem to appear to be the case. At the junction signage suggests returning to your car or taking the PCT south, asking people only access the preserve in emergency conditions. It didn't seem like a legal notice not to enter but went sb anyway. Rolling, grassy hills with wildflowers and succulents in full bloom. Some switchbacking going up the steeper hills, but they tend to be on the shielded sides around here, helped on a windy day like today. Lots of small wildlife. Wear masks when passing, be safe!

hiking
5 months ago

I love this trail. Many thru hikers in the Spring. I’ve hiked it in the summer and spring, and winter; and each season offers its unique challenges. In the summer, bring lots of water as almost every spot is dry. In te spring and fall, bring a camera as the beautiful colors are amazing (and water, but you might find some running water at high elevations) and winter, layer up! Temperatures can drop to the twenties! I see more hikers in the Spring and Fall than any other season.

hiking
7 months ago

I parked off the 15 Freeway near McDonalds and enjoyed a taste of PCT! I have no plans of serious long distance hikes along this famous trail, but it was nice to spend the whole morning taking in a piece of it. Great views of the Cajon Pass and the freight trains weaving their way through this historic area.

hiking
Thu Apr 18 2019

Hiked to whitewater preserve and back from the start of section C. 6 hours total after taking 30 minutes for lunch at the water. Several pct thru hikers were out in force on this gorgeous day. Lots of color, lots of elevation in this part. Awesome views.

hiking
rocky
washed out
Sat Mar 09 2019

Went with my dog for a weekend and had a great time. Out and back about 7 miles into the trail, just past the preserve. There IS WATER in March running down multiple streams, so you can fill up along the way. Would definitely like to finish the rest.

backpacking
Wed Sep 26 2018

Hiked it in sections on the weekends. It took 8.5 days, 2 3-day trips, 1 2 day trip and a half day to Cajon Pass from the 138. The highlight was seeing a bear just before we dropped down to White Water Preserve. Water is scarce on the North side of Big Bear Lake. We did a water drop at our half way point. It was sad to see Deep Creek so full of trash and graffiti.

hiking
Thu Aug 30 2018

Not sure if this is the right forum for this or not but I'm curious about water supply. I'm going to be hiking the first 70ish miles of section C (getting off in Big Bear) in late October. Any tips on how much to bring at first?

hiking
no shade
Sun Apr 15 2018

PCT 2018er. Got injured around Mt. Laguna but hiked until Wrightwood. Amazing. Highly recommend. It was a very hot and dry year but the hike out of Scissors was one of my favorites! And Idyllwild to Big Bear!!

backpacking
Tue Jul 11 2017

Got it class of 2017. That McDonalds to Guffy campground part is for real if you do it all in one day. Bring a LOT of water.

Wed Nov 16 2016

Some light graffiti.. but it's not distasteful enough to discourage the beauty in nature.. the fall colors were amazing and the trail is nice.. tougher when you go off trail and down by the creek.. great place to go with another person or group..

hiking
Wed Oct 05 2016

What a great hike hiked from the highway173 to freeway 15 loved it

Sun Oct 02 2016

It's so over grown and full of thousands of bees. You can't get to the trail from the dam.

Sun Jun 05 2016

Yhe trail through here has been groomed. very nice.

Mon Apr 18 2016

Update: Beware of snakes right now. I've hiked 10-mile stretches of this trail all around Silverwood lake lately and have encountered rattlesnakes twice in the last 3 weeks. The first one gave warning. The snake today did not, I was on top of it before it moved and then it coiled and only rattled about 5-10 seconds. Still don't know how I wasn't bit. I hike with poles and am very cautious. Two other hikers we passed had gone by there within 5 minutes without seeing it. There are parts of this trail that are very narrow, 6-10 inches wide because of the new spring growth. Please be aware!

Wed Apr 13 2016

Love this trail, looking forward to some long distance hikes in the future

Sun Apr 03 2016

I began this trail at the Saddle Dike. It's about a mile walk along a restricted paved road. The trail winds up the side of the mountain at the end of the dike. You can also go down to the creek but be prepared to cross the creek, more than once. The water is cold and I was lucky to have a change of clothes. I walked about a mile along the trail before taking an off trail down to the creek. There are a lot of wildflowers blooming and it was very serene. The trail is very high and narrow, and was even washed out in some areas. The parking area along the road is sketchy. There was broken glass everywhere where cars had been broken into. I went on a Tuesday though so it was mostly deserted.

Thu Feb 25 2016

Read the book "wild" so when we came to visit I had to hike it. Only did part of the trail at the time. I couldn't find any info on it and didn't allow enough to time. It was a nice moderate hike.

Sun Feb 07 2016

I picked up the trail at the Silverwood Recreational Park where there is a free paved parking lot off of Pilot Rock Trail road. You have to head down the paved road about 1/8 of a mile to get onto the trail. Do not take the first trail as that is for off road vehicles, you know you're on the wrong trail when you see tire marks. I headed south on the trail. The PCT trail from here is very narrow and was a little washed out in spots due to recent rain. The trail runs parallel to the 173 highway for 2.5 miles so it's a lot of car noise and not very scenic, unless you enjoy wide dirt plains and cows. Just after 2.5 miles the trail heads into the canyons where it's very quiet and we didn't see any other hikers. After 3.5 miles we got to a peak where we turned around. If we head kept heading south we would have made it to the Dike and the creek side PCT trail where the famous bridge and hot springs are. Overall it was OK. I prefer trails that are far away from roads so it was kind of a disappointment. On the plus side there was very little gain in elevation so it was a leisurely walk in and out. Also, there were still patches of snow in shady areas. Hiked 2/6/16.

running
Mon May 25 2015

We intented to run the Canyon View Loop but couldn't find the loop. So, we ran out and back from the Whitewater Ranger Station to Red Dome. It was a nice easy trail run. It was mostly flat with a slight up-hill on the way to the dome. The creek was running. It was Memorial Day weekend so there were some people out and a couple of backpackers hiking the PCT. There's a lot of sun, so hit the sunscreen. Much of the trail is rock and sand.

hiking
Fri May 15 2015

On the day I decided to hike this part of the pct it was actually raining, but I only was doing a day hike. I can see how it could be insanely hot during the summer. I drove up an old dirt road (seemed like a high clearance vehicle would be needed) and parked in a dirt parking area. From there I wasn't terribly thrilled cuz at first all you see is the energy windmills and the eerie noises they make. Not much to look at and no wildlife. However I did end up hiking with a small group of guys who were thru hiking. We all kind of bottlenecked at the pass through the mountains. You then take switchbacks all the way down the other side. This was a challenge in cool weather I can't imagine it in hot weather! I went about 6 miles in and 6 miles back out. Once you start to get some views on the other side it is very breathtaking. Overall it was a good hike, good people and some good sights, but I don't think I would do this on a hot day unless I was thru hiking.

hiking
Sun Dec 14 2014

I hiked PCT with a group of 20 people entering off the 15fwy. I would consider the trail moderate in some areas but also strenuous. I went about one year ago around late fall early winter where the weather was about 17 degrees according to the car thermostat at 7am. There are amazing views, a few water streams, a bridge, an old dam and much wilderness beauty. My group was heading towards the deep hot springs, but I later found out we took the long way in. Although, I did not go completely to the hot springs with the group due to time constraints it is indeed a lovely place to hike. I only did 10 miles round trip, 2.5 hrs each way at moderate to slow pace in some areas and stopping for photos.

hiking
Wed Nov 26 2014

We chose to start @ Whitewater Preserve & were quite impressed with amazing scenery as well as great facilities. Loved the visitor center, trout ponds, picnic areas, free ample parking, & well marked trails. Many choices of distance & difficulty levels. Easy to reach PCT. We opted for the 6.5 mile route to Mission Creek Stone House & were so pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Did not expect to find such a well preserved building complete with picnic tables & even clean, flush toilets! We had to return the way we came since we did not plan a car shuttle, but could've gone rest of the way to Mission Creek Preserve making it about an 8 mile one way hike. The return trip seemed long because it was....13 miles but it was a beautiful day so very enjoyable!

hiking
Wed Feb 05 2014

My sister and I Just did this tail from the 15fwy to Silverwood although we didn't make it all the way the scenery was amazing

hiking
Sun Apr 01 2012

I've hiked PCT from Holcomb Valley near Fawnskin in Big Bear to the Spillway in Hesperia. Great trail for serious hikers, we estimated 32-36 miles. There's a great camping site about 10 miles in, Holcomb Crossing, which features fire pits and an outhouse of sorts, not to mention great smelling sugar pines. A must do for a serious hiking trip. Passes thru the Deep Creek Hot Springs, where we took 2 days off to rest our weary bodies... Just don't let the Rangers catch you camping there!

hiking
Thu Dec 29 2011

ive hike this trail many times, from the dam up to the deep creek hot springs, its a must do

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