San Jacinto Peak (The Middle Way) Trail

HARD 73 reviews

San Jacinto Peak (The Middle Way) Trail is a 14 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idyllwild, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

14.0 miles
4,343 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


no dogs

1 month 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.

1 month 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.

2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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

2 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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.

6 months ago

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!!!

8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

Monday, September 18, 2017

Magnific views

Sunday, April 16, 2017

I love hiking this area.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Completed on 3/11/17 after a very snowy winter. Still lots of snow and ice. The route isn't really that difficult in terms of distance and elevation change. But it's quite challenging in snow/ice conditions. I did not bring snowshoes and it was a huge mistake. Devil's Slide portion (lower 2,000ish ft), I would advise having mirco-spikes as the trail crosses several steep icy slopes, slipping would not end well. Once at Saddle Junction, it's all deep snow from there on. Once you cross into the state park area, it gets most demoralizing without snow-shoes. The trail is not visible (unless you find tracks) and very deep. Me and several others bypassed the large NE-pointed switchback near the top to ascend straight up onto the ridge and directly access the summit, mountaineering style. On the return trip, I ditched the "trail" and followed the ridge-line south (around the west side of the fist couple peaks), then turned SE and followed the ridge down to where the trail crosses into the state park. It was much better, and provided amazing views down into Idylwild. Check in with Ranger Station before doing this in snow, have proper gear, and start early. But the summit is worth it!

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Best hike so far of the six packs of peak (this was number 5). Highly recommend this route over deer springs and the steeper 11 mile route. Scenic, challenging but doable, and well marked.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

This was a very challenging trail. If you do this hike make sure you are conditioned. The trail had amazing views throughout the entire trail. The peak's view was amazing. Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

excellent trail. well maintained. looks like some recent maintenance on some of the over growth area's along acouple different sections along the trail. arrived at devils slide at 6:30 am. took the two of us just about seven hours which included acouple breaks and about a 45 minute rest at the san jacinto peak. Beautiful views with clear skys.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Heavy traffic from Wellman's Divide to the summit
All the streams dry
Trail maintenance was good in federal but a little overgrown in parts of state
Saw one rattlesnake on Devils Slide

Friday, July 15, 2016

my favorite trail

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This is a great trip for people living in southern California that don't want to drive up to the Sierras.

We hiked up to Round Valley and camped there for the night. The next morning we went to the summit(we hid our packs near the trail junction) and hiked back out afterwards.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beautiful trail into the backcountry. Left Humber Park at 7:15, only saw 3 other people on the trail on the way up. Had to stop when I got to Wellman's Divide. Next time, I'll make it all the way to the top. Be prepared, the incline is relentless on this trail.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

This is my 5th hike of the So Cal Six Pack, and maybe my favorite hike. We did this hike on 30 August 2015.

I hiked with two other friends, we got permits at the Idyllwild Ranger Station and headed back to the Marion Mountain Trail head, pretty easy to find and it had semi shaded parking which was a plus.

We probably didn't get on the trial till almost 8:00 am which was at least an hour too late in my opinion, an earlier start would have been better. The trial is pretty well established for the most part, but there were several spots that we got a little turned around and wandered off trail a bit before finding the main trail again. The trail is a lot more covered than I expected and provided several stretches with nice shade to hike in and the scenery was absolutely beautiful.

Towards the top you have to scramble across rocks in the general vicinity of what appears to be (and is) the top, but once at the summit the views from every angle are quite spectacular. We hiked on a warm but breezy day and it was clear and sunny so you could see San Gorgonio, Palm Springs and the rest of the inland empire, truly a beautiful view of most of Southern California.

I'll definitely do this hike again.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Started at 620 just before sunrise on the Devil's Slide, Tahquitz Rock looms over you and is an impressive sight. While on the Devil's Slide you are shielded from the sun by the mountain and under the cover of trees until the top of the slide at the junction. Suicide Rock and Tahquitz Rock are impressive sights and beg to be visited at later time. The trail continues gradually up through the forest until the next junction. At the next junction the topography changes somewhat and provides new features to admire and great views of the surrounding valleys and peaks. The Hut is unexpected sight that tells you, you are about to summit the mountain (.3 miles left). The boulder scramble to the top is marked somewhat by Cairn (small stacks of rocks), the summit is marked by a sign and the USGS medallion, the adjacent rock is the highest point so must be climbed (reached summit at 1000hrs). The views are incredible! The Salton Sea, is easily seen and looks impressive.....but San G is what catches your eye, it is the next summit to be climbed naturally, it begs you too. Hopefully my pics do it more justice, great hike.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Great hike, the views are amazing!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fantastic in every way. If you are fit for it, consider this a must-do hike. This is really three moderate hikes, back to back to back, but all together and coupled with the elevation change and altitude, is worthy of its rating: Devil's Slide, Wellman's Divide via PCT/Wellman's Cienaga, then on up to the hut and rock-pile summit. Reaching the top is worth the effort, but the views and surprising amount of foliage along the way really make this hike special - pics just don't do it justice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Conquered this trail in a day hike in Apr. 1985. Good thing this was done on a clear, sunny day because at the top I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the desert floor surrounding Palm Springs to the east and of the Inland Empire to the west.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Did this hike 4/11/14. Nice day not many people. Small sections of snow on upper north facing aspects. Easy to follow trail thru snow without extra equipment. Elevation was easier going up than coming down, I would recommend poles to take some of the shock off your tired feet and knees. Took 10 hours but I was slowed by acl replacement from 6 months ago. Can't wait to explore the area more!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The route from Idyllwild includes part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Very peaceful until you get to the merge with the trail from the tram, then it gets a little crowded, still beautiful.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Great hike! The hike itself is not bad but when you account for the thin air at the elevation it slows you down. Would do again.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Great trail. Lots of shade and plenty of good photo opportunities. It can get a little crowded at the top (many take the arial tram up and do a short hike to the peak) but well worth it.

Friday, November 09, 2012

This looks like an awesome route. I've hiked San Jacinto many times but not this route. I look forward to it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Strenuous, high altitude hiking. Great views from the top. Plan for sufficient time. Carry at least 2 - 3 l of water. Requires wilderness permits.

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