Skyline Trail: Cactus to Clouds is a 18.7 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Palm Springs, 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 October.
The Cactus to Clouds Trail from Palm Springs to San Jacinto Peak has the greatest elevation gain of any trail in the United States. Also known as the Skyline Trail, it climbs 8000 feet from the desert to Long Valley, then joins with the main trail to gain another 2600 feet to the summit. The Cactus to Clouds hike is long. You start on the desert floor and climb to 10,804 feet. You gain over 8,000 feet in the first 12 miles and much of this is hiking in dry arid desert conditions. This trail is nearly always completed by returning from the peak to the upper station of the Aerial Tramway and taking it back into Palm Springs. Please note that there is a fee for using the tram.
Great trail. I chose it for the challenge but was surprised by the beauty. Animals and plants galore. Quit at Wellman's Divide but will be back
Grueling AND rewarding!
Epic Grinding Trail that'll bring out your inner Tourette's
Quite a trail!
Great hike, nice challenge. Backpacking in the snow.
Scared themselves indeed! Feel quite fortunate to be alive after unwisely crossing 30' snow traverse in hopes of finding snow free trail beyond icy bridge; unfortunately, this was not the case. Ergo, as Mr. Mihalynuk suggests, unless you are up for treking a very strenuous 20 mile up and back, give it another few weeks! Beautiful hike though; truly epic if opt for round trip alternative. . .
Mistake in review below: returned to trailhead 11.5 hours after departing, at 19:45.
Amazing vistas and a panoply of desert flora. Departed at 0715 and made it to the steep frozen snow slope just below the tram station. Hikers just ahead had tried to cross and scared themselves badly. Could probably have found a route around, but one of our group was ill and unsteady on their feet. Made an about face, returning to the trailhead at 0745. A strenuous day for sure. Snow may not be an issue in a few days, but right now you should carry crampons and/or ice axe and know how to use them in order to safely negotiate the last ~0.5 mile.
I read the information at the trail head and saw that this was a trail for intermediate-advanced hikers. I'm almost intermediate (hiked about 4 trails novice-intermediate prior) and I pushed myself for a total of 1.2 miles In and Out. Not much I know but it was a tedious trail on Skyline with some shifting shale and rocks going up an incline. I enjoyed the views over my new city and the wild flowers are in bloom. Abundance of different fragrances to entice your nose. I pushed myself to the top of the .5miles up and relished in my inactive bodies strains and pains...one small mountain at a time. I also met a couple of teachers with 4-5 children age 7-8 or so and a mom with her daughter around the same age of 8. I figured if they could I could too ✌️
I will do this hike again.
Climbed it yesterday. (Mar 18), started at 10am which was probably too late with the heat, made it to Long Valley / tram area around 5pm (that was pushing hard). The 2-3 miles before Long Valley are covered in significant snow. I'm not sure I was on the correct trail, followed footprints which involved some serious scrambling, very steep ice/snow sections. Crampons are a must, along with good trekking poles and gloves.
Edit: I now realize I ascended Notch 1 rather than the correct trail. Be careful following the footprints and stick to your GPS.