Skyline Trail to Aerial Tramway Top Station

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Mount San Jacinto State Park

Skyline Trail to Aerial Tramway Top Station is a 9.4 mile heavily 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 is primarily used for hiking and is best used from October until May.

Length9.4 miElevation gain8,195 ftRoute typePoint to point
HikingViewsWildflowersWildlifeRockyScrambleNo shadeFeeNo dogs
Description
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There are free day-use permits required that are available at the Park Headquarters in Idyllwild or Long Valley Ranger Station on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway side. For more information, please visit https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=636 Timing for this hike is essential. In the winter months, the top of the hike can be icy and/or snowy and foot traction is necessary. After recent heavy snowfall, it may be very difficult to reach the reach the tram, so this hike becomes a much longer out and back. In the summer, temperatures will be very high, and the heat can be deadly. Use caution and you will have a challenging but rewarding hike. Read the reviews for more info on timing and the challenges you will face! Taking the tram down is $13 per person. Note that the tram typically closes 2-3 weeks in September for annual maintenance.

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Reviews (249)
Photos (1,770)
Activities (297)
Completed (754)
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Mark Krstich
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Hiking

Maximum OOOOOOOOOF!!

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Susan Fricke
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Hiking

if you're looking for a kick in the butt super steep hike this is 5 stars;however if you're looking for beauty with changing scenery then this is a bust compared to other hikes. one massive benefit is you can hike to the top of San jacinto with very little downhill because you can seamlessly take the tram down. and if you have bad knees you can just hike to the top to link up with the team with virtually no downhill

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zhang jinlan
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HikingGreat!
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Tony allen
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HikingNo shadeOff trailSnow

It’s a great hike but strenuous. Take micro spikes and trekking poles. They were definitely needed the final mile or so to the top. Could not have gotten through the snowy sections without them. Also take some kind of a GPS app to follow the trail. The trail is not well marked and it’s very easy to get off of it as I did many times. Ran into another hike who had similar experience. It’s particularly difficult navigating the final mile through the snowy sections. I found myself referring back to the trail app frequently to ensure I was on the correct trail. And it goes without saying to take plenty of water - at a minimum 1 L per hour you think you’ll be out there. Took me 6 1/2 hours to do the hike and I took 6 L of water and started to run out toward the end.

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S W
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HikingGreat!Snow

A great, grueling, and rewarding hike that transitions from desert to alpine vegetation. Not only high altitude views of Palm Springs but also the Salton Sea and the layering of distant mountain ranges. For two males in their early thirties, this hike took six hours with a few breaks. It was definitely a little over 10 miles (not sure where 9.4 comes from). In late March, there was snow for the last mile which slowed us down quite a bit (we managed just fine in tennis shoes via prior hikers footprints). Even with COVID going on, hikers can purchase $13 one way DOWN tickets on the tram without reservation (but we emailed the aerial tram people ahead of time just to be sure). I could not imagine doing this trail down/backwards because of how slippery the snow was and just how annoying going down something so steep for so long would be.

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Bryan Deel
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Hiking

It’s a workout!! Still need microspikes at least. Logged 12 miles. I started with little rest, a little dehydrated, and little beat from 15 miles yesterday. I definitely would do this fresh nextime.

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r f
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Hiking
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Daniel Wintroub
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Hiking

Great workout. Start before 7am. Snow for last couple miles. Brings krampons!

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Dena H
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HikingIcyNo shadeSnow

Wow! This trail is a blast (and as hard as they say!) The changing elevation brings new foliage and views. I left a little before 6 am and got to the tram at 4:45. I’ve been conditioning for this but I’m still slow. Very easy to get off the trail; recommend checking your coords frequently. There is snow starting around 7.5 miles and the last mile is basically straight up hill following foot prints in the snow. Micro spikes and poles a MUST. Crampons may have been better but I didn’t have them with me. I used about 5 liters of water. Highly recommend reading hikingguy.com reviews and warnings for the C2C trail and the art museum trail (first mile or so). Hikers can buy a $13 tram ticket down upon arrival despite the website saying all tickets must be pre purchased. Check tram website to make sure it’s running (it was closed for a bit due to covid) and to determine time for last tram down. Have fun!

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Alex Benjamen
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HikingGreat!

It was icy last 1000 ft and need crampons to climb. weather was excellent all day. recommend leaving 5am!

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thibault Dauprat
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Sai Venky
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Heidi Fearn
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Hiking

very hot today - ran low on water had to turn back

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Eric Lozick
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HikingIcyNo shadeOff trailOver grownRockyScrambleSnow

One of the most difficult trails I’ve done. As of January 7th 2020, snow covers the trail at mile 7, started to get slippery at mile 8 and was knee deep at mile 9. Using trekking poles I fell several times in the snow near the peak. Due to the extreme danger the snow posed I turned back shortly after mile 9. Most of the trail contains sharp cactus and I was cut everywhere on my body running down. Note that as of Dec 12, 2020 the tramway is temporarily closed and you must descend on your own.

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Pavel Afonine
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Wendy Cyffka
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Hiking

Great hike! Got some snow starting at about 5 miles, but we were fine in hiking sneakers.

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Conor Kennedy
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Jomi Krobb
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HikingRocky

Great climb, drastically changing habitats, loads of wildlife and insane views. If unsure about which trail to take, follow the shoe tracks! Otherwise easy enough to find. A lot of water and food needed, it’s a proper energy burner. Saw mountain lion tracks close to the top.

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Jamie Bennett
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Hiking

Beautiful day 73° clear skies great workout hike

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