Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Mountain Center with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Went Oct 24th, 2018 with hiking buddy. Trail was easy to follow. Passes an old Dolomite Mining operation and old mining hoppers still scattered nearby. The trail has switchbacks and meanders near canyons making for up and down elevation changes. My Fitbit put it about 1200' total. Lots of Sagebrush, Juniper, Pine trees in the area. Beautiful views of the San Bernardino National Forest and Santa Rosa Mountains. Saw lots of mule deer tracks, a few Mountain Lion tracks. Heard a coyote howling in the distance, but only saw a few birds. We may have been pushing the wildlife in our heading in because we found tracks that were there on the out hike, but not on the in hike. Leaves were changing colors, pretty yellow and orange colors on two tall Ash trees near a small stream running down the canyon that was easily passable without a problem. Take enough water and be careful of, Skat on the trail.

off road driving
1 month ago

Such a super easy, fun trail with amazing views. There is also a cool area on top for camping.

Trailhead difficult to find, completely exposed the whole way up, first three miles moderate, last 2 miles strenuous.

Currently closed due to fire damage

off road driving
3 months ago

Very nice scenery, but the trail was super easy not moderate. A motorhome can easily make it through! I was expecting a few challenges for the jeep, but it was a dusty fire road with lots of ruts and bumps that made 5 miles seem like 10 miles.

hiking
4 months ago

It was hard to tell the difference between this hike and Apache but from what it appears on the trail they are the same hike that leads to a plateau- you can choose to go Left and hike Apache or Right and hike Spilter. We went up to the fork and stopped for lunch and our GPS gave us 11.3 miles. Went on 6/9/18 and it was a nice hike. One review stated there was a waterfall which is really a trickle of drops and hardly a waterfall. The beginning of the hike starts fairly mild and without shade, trail is sandy and not much incline. At the stream which is around 4 miles in it begins to incline steeply and there is a lot of brush and shade as the foliage is thicker here. The trail gets much more narrow and rocky. Excellent views at the top. Much of the trees were burned so the underbrush is thriving now. Great hike.

5 months ago

Not too challenging. Moderate is a fair assessment . View doesn’t change much and oh, keep an eye out for snakes. Saw a few..

off road driving
5 months ago

Well maintained truck trail to the top. If you want a real adventure continue driving to Rouse Hill and beyond, down the mountain following a steep ridge. You'll end up driving through a citrus orchard on the way down to the 74. The road from Rouse Ridge to Rouse Hill is a little bumpy but everywhere else is really nice. The section from Rouse Hill to the 74 is the most scenic part of the drive. (Thomas Mountain Truck Trail to Forest route 5S15 to Forest Route 6S13 to the 74)

Never seen such a variety of flowers, plants and trees in one area. Purples and yellows and reds. Just gorgeous. For a couple miles, I wondered why it was rated hard....once you hit the small lovely waterfalls it inclines steeply. Wonderful hike!!

hiking
5 months ago

One of my family's favorite hikes! It's beautiful, and we only ever see a few people.

I just love this trail!!!! Haven't hiked it since the fire but, from what I am reading It seems to be open! I am beyond excited!

hiking
8 months ago

That past review was today 3/19 and a perfect day temperature round trip from pinyon 6 plus hours We were retracting where my sister took the wrong turn. Could happen to anyone. Happy trails

Beautiful yet markers are not always clear especially in washes be careful and aware of your trail. My sister got lost and we live in this area and it can easily be as dangerous if not paying attention. Otherwise absolutely worth wild. Spectacular for locals as well as visitors

hiking
8 months ago

Fantastic hike and easy with beautiful views

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike with great views with some steep inclines toward the top. Most of the trees sadly have been burned down from the recent fires. But still worth the views.

backpacking
8 months ago

Fantastic hike with Onyx I will be comming back many more times

hiking
8 months ago

Abundance of colors, clearly marked trail, very pleasant hike. There are a few heart pumping stretches but for the most part, a nice steady hike on gravelly surfaces, with plenty of plant life and rewarding vistas. The sign for Horse Thief Creek seems to have been removed, but I followed signage for the Cactus Springs signs trail and just stopped at the Creek. There weren’t many birds or flowers early March, even at the Creek. The drive up and back down from Palm Desert offers stunning view of the valley and distant mountains.

hiking
9 months ago

We were a group of 7 adults who hiked this trail Feb. 1st. They charge $6 per person to enter the park for day use, which was fine, we just weren't expecting it, so be sure to bring some cash to get in. It's a large campground with many camping spots, but the park was virtually empty the day we were there. The hikes go off the campground and into the mountains. It's a lovely area but the trails are very, very poorly marked and in many places not marked at all. The map they give you is not useful for the hike. We wandered off the trail a few times and were only saved by our All Trails app. Of the 3 cell phone service providers between us, only one of them got cell service in the area to access the app. The trail was a steady but very gradual incline up. We did not go to the end of the trail as we were encountering lots of deep ruts likely from recent rain. The trail was not wet, but the ruts were fairly deep in spots. We enjoyed our day and the scenery is really lovely. For the price to get in, they need to do a much better job marking the trails and then you wouldn't need an app, or map.

hiking
9 months ago

Did this hike on 1/26/18 for the first time since the Mountain fire. Have done it a few times in the past including a shuttle starting at the Zen trail and over Apache. Always have loved the Spitler trail for the variety of foliage and views, especially from the PCT into the desert. The burn was devastating. Almost nothing left behind. The only living trees were on the upper east slopes of Spitler
A little looking about to find the use trail to the top.
Still a worthwhile hike that I would recommend. PCT closed toward Apache.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful trail, watch out for bulls! On our way back to the road, we encountered a herd of cattle grazing in the oaks between the 2nd and 3rd gates. The majority had HUGE horns on them. We heard cowbells on a couple, so we figured they were at least somewhat familiar with seeing people, and we calmly and quietly continued on trying not to startle them. They gave us some pretty solid stares as we walked by, but we made it through without upsetting any of them. So keep an eye out, and make sure to abide by the signs and close the gates as you go.

on Hurkey Creek Trail

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful day, after two days of rain. The sound of Hurley Creek bubbling over the rocks for the first 1/2 mile invited exploration. Not that I left the trail to walk across on rocks, or a felled tree bridge. Went about two miles up, then turned back. Paid $6 to park at Hurley Creek Campground. I was given a map that didn’t give much info of the trail. I felt it was well worth the money and time. Glad I treated myself.

We loved this trail, I wouldn’t classify it as easy, but we did the trail with our dog and loved its remoteness and peace

11 months ago

Hiked 12/2/17. Weather was perfect. Would not want to do this hike in the middle of summer. We hiked up Spitler Trail , to PCT, then south on PCT and down to our shuttle parked at Cedar Springs Trailhead. A little more than 14 miles. It took us about 7 hours to complete.
The PCT is currently closed North of where Spitler Peak and the PCT meet.
I would consider this a hard hike (seemed most of Trail was uphill) for someone not working out regularly.

hiking
11 months ago

The Spitler Peak Trail is now open as of Thanksgiving week. I hiked 3.13 miles of the trail on Thanksgiving day. The trail itself is in excellent condition but the loss of all the red shanks and trees means even less shade than before the Mountain Fire. Still great views and lots of interesting plants for botanists.

hiking
Monday, November 13, 2017

Nice views of the desert cities once you cross the PCT, and nice vistas to the south on the way back down the switchbacks. Lots of mosquitoes and flies once you're at Cedar Springs. 6.6 miles out and back.

6.4 total up and back. nice variety of terrain. Switchbacks made the elevation gain easy. Continue over the top on Cedar Springs trail through burn area, desert views, cedar Grove and spring. Just didn't expect to see big cedars there. Nice prize at the end.

backpacking
Monday, July 17, 2017

I bagged this peak while section hiking the PCT. Nice views!

backpacking
Monday, July 17, 2017

A nice secluded place to camp. Lots of trees and shade at the remote campsites. The spring was still flowing mid July. I'm not sure if it flows year round but it's nice to not have to carry all your water in. The source of the spring isn't very easy to get to. It's in a ditch and there are hundreds of flies, bees, and probably mosquitoes in there with you. It was however the best tasting water and it was cold! I'd recommend filtering it before you drink it.

hiking
Monday, April 17, 2017

I've never seen so many butterflies and such a great variety as well!!!! Beautiful hike!

hiking
Monday, April 17, 2017

Just did this one on 4/15/17. It was a beautiful day and the views were awesome. There are quite a few switch backs on the way up but the incline was gradual. It is worth it to continue on to the springs. We didn't see much water but the cedar grove was awesome and made it worth it. Would be nice to take a hammock and rest in the shade of the cedar grove.

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