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San Jacinto Peak Middle Route Trail

HARD 171 reviews
#5 of 22 trails in

San Jacinto Peak Middle Route Trail is a 16 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idyllwild-Pine Cove, 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 March until November.

Distance: 16.0 miles Elevation Gain: 4,343 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

fee

no dogs

The route begins at Humber Park in Idyllwild. A parking permit is required at a fee of $5 and can be obtained at the parking area or at the ranger station. A wilderness pass is also required between Memorial Day and Labor Day as there is a trail quota for the Devil Slide Trail. There is not a fee for the wilderness pass but they are limited in number so arrive early at the ranger station. They typically open at 8am on most weekdays and weekends (check their website). If you're a dog person, take note. Dogs are allowed on a number of the trails but are not allowed on State Park Land (which is about the top third of this route and includes the peak). This is a long hike- place for about 10 hours at a brisk pace.

hiking
12 days ago

Love this one. I'm too cheap to pay for the tram! Views when you start from Humber are lovely. Two things I don't like about San Jacinto are 1)Crowds because of the tram. 2)The actual peak is not a spot where you can hang out and enjoy. Which, when I think about it, is probably a good thing considering the crowds that converge on it. But the hike itself is awesome.

That was a great hike! Rangers were checking for permits.

Great 16miles our and back up to the top of Mount San Jacinto. I prefer it to the ascent from Deer Creak/Strawberry Junction - Devils Slide Trail winds up through the valley between Suicide Rock and Tahquitz rock giving great views on the way. Crowds are moderate until Wellmans Divide right near the end when you join the Arial Tramway route. I climbed on a day when the tramway was closed for maintenance and saw maybe 5 or 6 people the whole day. Beautiful trail. Bugs below 7500ft bring bug spray.

I changed plans and did Devils slide to Saddle Junction then instead of going to Tahquitz peak, I took a left and went to San Jacinto Peak. Great hike uphill nearly all the way so be ready for a smoker!

hiking
bugs
scramble
1 month ago

more like 19.5 miles according to under armor and garmin. very challenging.

backpacking
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

The trail was long and hard. Camped near the PCT and there was water about 4 miles in when you start walking through ferns.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in southern california. I am not sure why the above description reports crossing a river - I suppose as I have only done this (multiple times) in the summer I have never seen a river. Water sources to easily step over yes, but no rivers. This year was the first year I was hounded by bugs at the saddle - I've never gotten so many (actually any) bug bites like this in the past! Bring bug spray. Despite heat below, there was a wonderful breeze the whole time. If you plan ahead, you can get your permit via snail mail and not have to wait for the 8am ranger station to open. Agree with prior reviewer - this is actually 16mi total.

Just hit the peak and back via Devils Slide. This was a great up and back trail and was very challenging at points. Be sure to bring plenty of water I brought 4 litters and ran out with over two miles two go and I was being conservative with consumption. I would definitely recommend this trail for someone looking for a good challenging trail with great views that are worth the effort.

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite hiking trails. The only thing I might warn is that we followed this trail exactly as marked, and it’s actually 8 miles up and 8 miles back, for a total of 16 rather than 14. Still enjoyable, but when you’re expecting to hit the summit, only to find out there’s a mile to go, it can be disheartening.

hiking
3 months ago

Started this hike at 6 and summiteers at 12:15. Back to the car by 4:30. Tough hike. Used this as my first longer training hike for Whitney this year. Nobody on the trail till I exited towards the bottom. Small patch of snow towards the top. Overall a great day with few tram hikers on a Monday.

hiking
3 months ago

Great training hike for Whitney. Lots of elevation gain and the mental tenacity required to summit a second peak after doing San Jacinto. Lots of water on the trail in late spring/early summer found along the south side of san jacinto before wellman divide.

hiking
rocky
snow
4 months ago

Great day for a hike! Still some snow on the trail. Microspikes were helpful. Especially going from the shelter to the peak. It even snowed at the peak. In JUNE!

hiking
4 months ago

This trail was great a butt kicker for sure. The trail on May 17th was mostly snow free except the north/east facing slopes. Highly recommend micro spikes until all melted which should be about three weeks from the 17th. As the trail is well traveled by people taking the tram up. It became a slippery mess but no post holing. Get an early start as the mileage is more the 14 miles more like 15.5.

hiking
snow
5 months ago

This should be a bucket list hike, definitely one of the best of my life. Amazing scenery and views throughout. Current trail conditions (may 3) was snow above 8700 ft. Microspikes and poles for sure for the top 1.5 miles or so, but I put them on intermittently below that—the whole middle half was a bit slow going. The last half mile after the U turn in the trail was a bit sketchy, sidehilling over slush/bushes and no clear trail—just several footprint tracks to follow all going the same place at least. Also for sure longer than 14, my gps usually reads about 5-10% short and I got 15.2 miles with 7.5h moving time. I’d do this hike again in a heartbeat, can’t recommend more!

hiking
snow
5 months ago

I did this hike on April 27. Due to the snowy conditions starting at about the half way point this hike took me 10+ hours, more than I was planning on. Made it back to the parking lot just after dark (started the hike around 9:45am). Also, be weary of the mileage. I logged 18 miles on my iPhone. Not sure if this is due to the snowy trails diverging from the actual trails... but 2 extra miles each way? I don’t think so. I think it’s longer than 14. That said the view from the peak is incredible, as well as the views when you are ascending. This is a definite challenge with the current snow pack and I would say micro spikes and poles are a must — miles of this hike are on snow that will get slushy in the warm spring afternoons. I brought 3.5 liters of water and needed about every last drop.

hiking
9 months ago

Had to turn back about a mile and a half from the top due to a late start, but oh my, what an amazing hike. Awesome views, no crowds, perfect conditions. Temps were in the upper 40s at the trailhead when I parked at 9:30am. Parking lot was nearly empty. I stopped by the ranger station in town to pick up a permit just in case, but there were none available in the outdoor kiosk and the station itself was closed. Not sure anyone’s checking during the govt shutdown. Lots of snow and ice. I had on micro spikes for most of the hike. Snow was over the ankles for a good bit. Made for a fun trip.

hiking
9 months ago

This was my first ascent of San Jacinto peak from the west side and my first visit to Idyllwild and surrounding area. While I was not prepared for the slippery conditions where center sole crampons would have been ideal, I found the trail, forest and views to be absolutely spectacular. I'm in the process of moving to San Jacinto from a lifetime in CT and I look forward to many more day and backpacking trips to this region. The gradual climb from Humber park to the peak was moderate and very easy to follow. The few intersections are market with trail signs and distances. I hike at a comfortable pace but I also like a workout. Alone I left the car at 6:30am and was on the peak by 10:45am. This left ample time for lunch, pictures and the return trip with plenty of daylight remaining. Total hike time 8 1/4 hours. Next time I go in December I will be sure to bring along my crampons and trekking poles.

hiking
11 months ago

While I think San Bernadino still has my pick for favorite peak around here I really enjoyed this lovely trek up to San Jacinto. While a tough trail it's not particularly technical and has a similar gradual elevation gain to the previous hill. It's definitely one of the quieter options to hit the peak...for a near perfect Sunday to be making the trek the parking lot had tons of spots when I arrived right before 8 AM and I had the trail to myself for long stretches until the Wellman divide. After Wellman it's a tough 2.3 miles (for me and my asthma the elevation was really taking its toll for some reason this time) to the top including bouldering if you want to achieve that coveted sign pic. The trail also got markedly more busy as those who took the tram up joined the trail as well as those coming up the more well known Marion Mountain trail. For late October there was some running water for filtration if you need it and spectacular views to reward you. The weather was also a little deceptive...I was worried it would be cold like Bernadino had been two weeks earlier but the lack of wind and bright sun made it actually pretty warm, I only donned layers when I stopped at the summit to eat and relax before heading down. Adventure pass or similar is REQUIRED for parking as well as a hiking permit which you can pick up 24 hours a day at the ranger station in town before you climb to the trailhead. I did meet some lovely rangers who checked mine as I made the ascent. Personally I think I might try to find a place to camp for the night when I inevitably go back...driving from Glendale was fine in the super early morning but traffic on the trip back made the drive seem interminable and almost an hour longer.

hiking
11 months ago

To summarize this trail it is a difficult one. Im a fit guy and i cant say that it is extreme, but the distance and elevation does make it hard. Absolutely amazing views all around and the different landscape makes it just an outstanding hike to enjoy. Looking at other people hiking i would say- if you have bad knees then it is not for you. My app got me to 15.2 miles from the Humber trail parking lot to the top and back in 7hours plus half hour break at the top. Hiked it on 10/20 was 60 degrees half way up and at the top had put my jacket on. Some snow was still seen. Great experience.

hiking
Monday, October 15, 2018

This is a gorgeous and well maintained trail. The elevation gain was gradual, which is always nice. It happened to rain and hail on me for much of the hike, and I was SO COLD despite my fast pace. Bring layers, and definitely gloves! I had no adventure pass, so had to wait until 8 am for the ranger station to open. It turns out I could have purchased one at the grocery store as well.

hiking
Saturday, October 13, 2018

I use this trail for backpacking training. It usually takes me 10 to 12 hours round trip, depending on how I feel. Its long and intense, ideal for PCT, CDT or AT training. Bring plenty of water and food

hiking
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I started at 8.00am from Humber Park and this trip took a total of 10 hours taking it easy. I carried 4 liters of water and was well hydrated at the start. My pack weighed fifteen pounds. Note that the trail signs assert a round trip fo 15.6 miles. This is an awesome hike with the most spectacular views you could wish for. If you are reasonably fit this hike should not be difficult for you - slow and easy wins the day. The epic stuff begins at Wellman’s Divide. I was fortunate to see in the meadow below two Deer; stationary and staring at me the way they do. The foliage becomes dense and lush and the fall colors were starting to fire up. I was surprised to see that Wellman’s Cienega still had water though it was a divided, wide, weak stream but enough to gather if patient and use. It was perfect weather for hiking; cloudless, clear and warm and the perception was that you could see forever. I met only three hikers. It amazes me that on such a beautiful day the trail would be so deserted. To cap off a perfect day I drove highway 243 from Idyllwild as the sun was setting. Absolutely stunning landscape.

running
Sunday, August 19, 2018

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Beautiful, well-maintained trail. Stunning views! It feels like you’re on top of the world. Nice patches of shade through wooded areas. I brought 3 liters of water with me, and I was ok, but more would’ve been better (personal preference). I was glad to have my trekking poles at certain points. The last few miles were pretty intense with the altitude and relentless climb, but so worth it. There’s a boulder scramble to the top. Remember to stop at the ranger station in Idyllwild to get your permit (free) and adventure/parking pass ($5) if you plan to park in Humber park. Rangers are out and check your permit. I definitely recommend this hike.

hiking
Monday, May 21, 2018

We really enjoyed this hike! Parking at Humber Point, by the vault toilets at the trailhead and hiking to the peak and back got us 15.88 miles logged. If you want to avoid the $5.00 parking, you can park at Earnie Maxwell and hike to Humber Park, but this will add a total of 5 miles onto your nearly 16 mile hike. Maybe that sounds fun? Maybe it doesn't. There was no notable snow left, and a small stream of snow melt about 3/4 of the way up. I would think that water source will be gone in the next week or so. This was a long hike, but not particularly difficult. The slope was manageable. We went on a Thursday and there were only 5 other people at the peak! Such a treat!!!

hiking
Friday, April 06, 2018

Completed hike on March 31 2018. Still quite some snow for about 2 miles, but managed to get through it without problems. Great view on the top, it is worth the effort. Bring trekking poles, makes it easier to navigate through the snow and helps at higher altitude.

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