San Jacinto Peak (The Middle Way) Trail

HARD 79 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

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.

2 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!!!

4 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.

4 months ago

10 months ago

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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Like trail description says, do not attempt this hike unless you are very comfortable outdoors and are confident in your physical ability. The elevation gain in going to peak cause many people altitude sickness, drink lots of water and ascend slowly to better get acclimatized. Do not attempt anytime before April without clamp on's and treking poles as ice and snow holes will be present. We began making our ascent 5am on the second day of the trip and reached the summit around 5pm (allowing our group to all move at the same pace)
There is a water source coming from a ranger out station about 3 miles south of Wellman's Divide.
Cromwell Peak offers great views of Tahiquitz and Little Round Valley and is a great place to set up rock climbing equipment for those who are trained.
(we had a glider fly 50 ft over our head! truly amazing up there!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

We started at about 6:15 on a Saturday morning. We stopped a lot because some of our hikers did not have a lot of endurance. The trail starts out as dessert-like and ascends to pine-shaded switch backs (that part is fairly steep). We returned to our car by 2:30 pm. Experienced, fit hikers could do this in much less time. Really enjoyed the scenic views of Lake Hemet and the plentiful manzanitas and some beautiful purple flowers which were in abundance near the top. There were only 3 hikers on the trail besides our group the whole day.Really a great day.

5 days ago

trail running
8 days ago

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