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

extreme but fun

We live in PSP so we are quite familiar with this trail. I really don't get why anyone would start this hike in the dark as its really not that hard to start at 6:00am and hit the ranger station by 1:00 pm leaving plenty of time to round trip Mt San J. We prefer to do the Museum to Tram Station part, hit the bar for a martini, and head down, all doable in broad daylight. Expect a good workout from the Museum or Ramon Rd to 4300, and long traverse to the base of the main ridge, and a slow grind up to the notch. April and May by far the best months to do this.

A grind for sure .. expect a 12 hour day .. we had trail finding last few miles with snow to top .. awesome views from summit .. don’t think I need to do this again but really glad we did it .. perfect weather with miles 7 to 10 testing your mettle

The following packlist and itinerary, combined with ideal conditions, led to a great overnight trip: - Essentials worn: trail-running shoes, wool socks, running tights/shorts, long-sleeve hooded sunshirt, hat, trekking poles. - Essentials carried: 30L fastpack, iphone/fuelrod/chargecord, 3.5L water+filter, 2000 calories, fleece beanie/gloves/pullover, down jacket, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, polycro groundsheet, kleenex go pack, first-aid kit, headlamp, dice. - Starting time/ location/ temperature: 7AM/ Museum/ 61F. - Arrived @ Tram Station: 1:30PM (bought 1 slice pizza for lunch and 1 for dinner in addition to 2000 cal carried) - Arrived @ Summit: 5PM - Arrived @ Round Valley Camp: 7PM - Descended first tram following morning

hiking
muddy
off trail
snow
9 days ago

When I checked in the ranger recommended spikes and water proof shoes. I did it without but he was right. My feet got wet after a few post holes in the snow crossings. Totally soaked by the time I got back to the team station. Bought a pair of new socks at the gift shop had an expensive ribeye dinner at the peak restaurant. Took the 11:30 tram. After orienting myself and checking in with ranger for permit I headed up at noon. Arrived on top at 2:42 pm. Past three people coming down. Had the peak to myself for twenty minutes then a group doing the pct showed up. Headed down 3:05. Made it to the tram store for socks at 4:50. So total trip for me was 4:50 minutes. With lots of snow obstacles and some route finding.

hiking
scramble
11 days ago

1 mile sneak preview

Great workout, with reward. Great views from the summit. There was lots of snow towards top, it took me all day to make it to summit and then back to the tram for a easy way downhill.

Great views from the summit. Steady uphill most of the hike, but only steep section is few hundred yards just before summit. It is not very well marked when covered with snow.

Still a fair amount of snow in places. Mini spikes were nice to have. It’s getting warmer and the snow is quickly melting.

Summit @ 1500, 4 May 2019. BOTTOMLINE: Before this hike, I considered our group above average fitness. After this hike, I now consider myself only very average. We (group of 6) drove 6.5 hours from northern California and arrived at the museum at 2359. We set off from the museum at about 0030. Typical load: headlamp, 6 liters of water, 2000-3000 calories, light clothing, microspikes, gps/phone *we used the alltrials app and gps track. The track was solid the whole route, highly recommend. We got to the ranger station at 0930. We took a deliberately leisurely pace. Our intent was to feel relatively fresh at 6000ft elevation in order to hedge altitude challenges. Maintained 1-2 mile/hour, took quick breaks at the top of the hour, and even took a couple long halts (20 min) at 4000ft and 6000ft. The last 1000ft of climb to the notch was super challenging. *quickly realized that trekking poles would have been more than valuable Condition at the ranger station: on a scale 1-10, 10 being fresh and 1 being zombie, we were probably at a 6. No significant cramping, dehydration, nor altitude sickness. Set off from the ranger station at about 1030. The thought of another 12 miles ahead of us (6 to summit and 6 rtb) was only a little daunting. About 3/4 mile from the ranger station the trail disappears under the snow. The snow was mostly hard pack with some slush. MICROSPIKES/CRAMPONS were critical to us reaching the peak. ALLTRAILS gps track was also critical. The last 1-3 miles to the summit, we ran into many hikers who turned around for various reasons (mostly fatigue, trail conditions and lack of traction solutions). The last 800m required a "one step at a time" approach. It was a bit of a scramble up the snowy mountain side. I carefully picked my route about 20m at a time, and drive each foot into the snow one after another. We (4 of 6) reached the summit at about 1500! Sliding down the snowy mountain side, cutting directly through switchbacks, was scary fun. The last few miles back to the ranger station was where I mentally checked out - I was at a 3 or 4 on my scale. The last set of hardball switchbacks to the tram is a little cruel (love it). Laughing at it now, definitely cursing it at the time. We then drove back to NorCal (6.5 hours)! Overall, it was a pretty gnarly experience. While mostly successful, not stoked that it kicked my butt so bad. Definitely planning on another C2C in the Fall to redeem myself (more training, better preparation, smarter planning). After Action notes: -gps and track are a must -microspikes/crampons were critical for current conditions -trekking poles would have been a game changer -plan more time for rest before and after event -fellow C2C hikers along the route were awesome human beings!

Hiked this on Saturday with the family. Quite a few snow patches around still but all soft and nothing a good pair of boots can't handle. Finding Hidden Lake was a bit of a challenge as there was no evidence of a path or signage so we overshot on Willow Creek Trail and had to come back, maybe it was the snow on the trail, I don't know. That wasn't too far out of the way though and it gave a nice viewpoint. My gps tracked the whole route at just under 7miles from the tram. Beautiful trail and Hidden Lake was a gem - we had the whole place to ourselves to eat our lunch - very idyllic :)

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
snow
21 days ago

A friend and myself did this hike in 7.5 hours with 4 liters of water between us. If you can do this faster or with less water lmk...u will most likely perish on the trail.

hiking
over grown
24 days ago

Date: 4/27/19 Start time: 2:48am Summit Time: 2:20pm Party size: 3 experienced hikers H20 carried each: 6Liters Calories carried each: 3200cal (roughly) Outrageously beautiful. Trail is currently in good shape. However there are downed trees, overgrown shrubs, and cacti before ranger station. Bring extra light for safety. At ranger station you can fill up water. Always call before your hike to be certain. The rest of the hike is straight forward until you reach the snow where you can get off path easily. Snow is packed but easily permeable. Once you summit, be aware when descending as you can slip. (Glissading down the summit is the greatest thing ever) Download the trail map and be aware. Bring micro spikes and you will be happy. You can purchase a ONE WAY Tram ticket to get down as a hiker for $12-$14. To end your day with the experience of the Tram ride is wild ;p

hiking
blowdown
scramble
25 days ago

Hiked this trail yesterday from Ramon to the tram. Started at 4:40 reached the top of Grubb’s Notch at 11 am. No snow on trail. Weather was warm all the way, but not bad. I’ve hiked this trail 3 times over the past 3 years, this year was easier. This hike requires a lot of training, know your limits, take plenty of water.

hiking
bugs
snow
26 days ago

Started at 330 am, was 70 degrees and didn't really get cooler as we went up (and had hoped). Trail is in good shape, gorgeous views, had to use GPS many times to make sure stayed on it. Hit Long Valley/Ranger station about 1030, and were advised NOT to summit as we were assured we would post hole and snow was melting fast, dangerous, and a storm was coming in. We had summit-ed from other side two weeks prior via Deer Springs trail-head in Idyllwild, so we took rangers advice. Will try for full hike again in November before next snow! Def bring lots of snacks and water, last few miles of lower portion are very steep and challenging. Great experience! Oh, and we encountered mosquitos, so bring bug spray!

Good hike!

Awesome hike, most difficult section is about an hour in and takes about an hour to reach the divide lookout. After that hike is very easy but long

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

4/20 summit hike. Started about 0820, hard packed snow with some ice on top most of the morning. Had Hillsound Trail Spikes and trekking poles, definitely made life easier; other hikers were slipping and falling the whole first half. Random foot print trails everywhere past the fork to the summit with little to no visible trail markers so use a GPS if you don't want to just climb straight up in random tracks. Very wet and slick snow/slush by afternoon, basically slid straight back down from the peak for a half mile and skipped tracing the ridge down. In the afternoon, some of the snow was washed out under the top layer in parts of the trail and not able to support weight, especially near water and flowing ice melt. Big holes opened up all over. Fun Hike!

We started a little after 10 PM Friday and reached the summit around 1 PM Saturday. The Skyline trail was in mostly good condition with some snow and downed trees towards the top. The trail from the tram to the peak was snowy so bring GPS because many of the footprints go off trail as well as micro spikes and poles. Overall a great, brutal day! Really nothing technical on the trial just a long, long hike and day. Views are gorgeous, and watching the sunrise made for a great morning. Also there’s WiFi at the tram station you can use for an Uber or Lyft if needed.

Hiked 4/14 with micro spikes and hiking poles and was still sliding everywhere. Would definitely recommend starting early to allow enough break times bc the elevation gain is insane. We started around 10/10:30 and turned back by 3 b/c we didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the snow after dark. Views are amazing!

Trial still has quite a bit of snow. Slippery, snow collapse conditions exist. Be ready for a tough hike and micro spikes/crampons recommended. Literally still feet of snow on the trail.

Such a great day on the mountain! Hiked Saturday April 13th with tio Arturo. Met so many awesome hikers. Shout out to Cindy, Carmen, Tina, Matt and Shirley. Challenging as always, but well worth it. See you again soon new friends and the mountain.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
washed out
1 month ago

Our first attempt at this hike. we started out at 12:30am on Saturday morning and made it to the Ranger station by 10:30am. Decided to cut it short based on descriptions of trail conditions to the peak. GPS was very helpful near the end of the skyline trail due to some snow drifts and storm damage obscuring the path.

Hiked to the peak on 4-13-19. Still lots of snow from the stream crossing just past the ranger station all the way to the peak. Microspikes and treking poles required as a minimum but with the varying snow conditioins crampons with ice axe is recommended. Snow pack in some areas is still 3-5 feet so expect to do a lot of bushwacking to find you way to the top especially past Wellmans Divide. The peak is still completely covered in snow so no boulders at all for the last 200 yards up to the peak. Conditions still not for the faint of heart so casual hikers with not much alpine treking experience might want to wait at least 2-3 weeks till more snow melts.

hiking
blowdown
over grown
rocky
scramble
snow
1 month ago

Just finished the C2C this evening, April 10 2019. Started at 3:00 am and reached the TRAM by 4:20pm. Conditions through the first 6500’ or so were great , a little bit of wind in the early morning but temperatures were perfect throughout. After 6500’ the trail became difficult to navigate with multiple downed trees and snow patches covering the trail until long valley. From there is got worse. The snow after the ranger station completely covered the trail up to the top. I ended up going off the only trail of footsteps noticeable when my gps showed we were veering far off the dedicated trail. After some frustration trying to find the actual trail,I ended up terrain associating and making my own trail up to the top. Snow was hard packed inmost locations but started to punch through as the sun warmed the snow. Reached the peak in just under 12 hours total. The best part was glissading down from the top a good 1500 vertical feet or so. Allowed me to complete the decent in almost exactly an hour! Recommend hiking poles and micro cleats if you plan to do this with the snow. Also should be comfortable enough with navigation skill to blaze your own path after the ranger station.

I hiked from the Tram to the top with a combination of micro spikes and snowshoes. The snow gets very soft by mid day and is slippery coming down. Poles are recommended.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

I recently went up the Tram on a beautiful day right after lots of snow fall. I was not able to scale to the peak but we definitely had lots of fun at the top of the mountain after the tram ride! There was lots of snow! About 6 inches of fresh snow! I plan on actually doing this hike to the peak when all the snow melts. I made a youtube video of our experience! Please check it out and subscribe for hiking vids :) The link is below. My youtube channel is "Magana Ventures" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhDMD026AG0

This was incredibly difficult. I would not recommend this hike unless you go with a group that is familiar with the hike. Make sure you take extra food and water. I will say it was definitely worth it! Just be prepared for a long steep hike.

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