Explore the most popular forest 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.

I love this trail and I love this mountain. I work at the ranger station as a park aide and have done most of the trails on Mt. San Jac. If you're coming to summit just make sure get a permit and have 3 liters of water on you as well as plenty of food. Make sure to check the weather and water reports at the ranger station. For hikers of average fitness this hike is not to bad. the hardest section of the hike is from Round Valley Meadow up to Wellman's Divide. At the top you're met with a rock scramble to get to peak sign. Remember to take in the view!

"The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!" - John Muir

hiking
15 hours ago

Great refreshing hike. Escape the heat of the desert with a fun tram ride experience.

They weren't kidding. This is a serious trail. I couldn't get there at 0100 because I had to work Friday and I'm in 29 Palms. I hit the trailhead at 0300, temperature was 91 in Palm Springs. This trail is tough to follow in the dark, and there are some very dangerous drop-offs and narrow ledges. I highly recommend downloading the trail through the Pro version and following the GPS. I could have saved myself some wasted time and energy.

The first couple of miles and the last 3 before you reach the tramway are very steep. there are some portions before the tram that were legit 40% inclines. I was down on all fours many times.

I didn't manage to finish. Reaching the tramway was all I had. I took 4 liters of water and a liter of Body Armor and it barely lasted me to the Ranger Station. I wish I could have started at 0100, it might have let me get to SJ Mountain. As it was, I was proud of the effort.

I only saw 2 other people on the trail. You have to be a bit nuts to try this one in July, I guess.

Mid July, air temp was great all day. Humidity in Socal has been high this year and it was quite apparent up there too. Beautiful views almost all the way up and down. Very crowded on the weekends and BE WARNED, the tram does not run until 8:00 AM. This trail is rated moderate, but the upper half is quite rocky and my knees and ankles were sore by the end. Trekking poles would be a big help on the way down.

Round valley is very easy and flat. then the last few steps to the divide is more uphill and a challenge. great weather up there compared to the desert floor. Save the peak for a bigger challenge from the other side ;)

This was an amazing hike although there are parts that I would consider to be rated more than moderate. The altitude change can be an issue at first but if you keep a short, slower stride you will be fine. It was 74 last weekend up there and 118 in Palm Springs below. Couldn't have picked a better day to go. Didn't see much wildlife, only a few birds and lizards but the scenery is delightful. Water is important even with the cooler temps.

Amazing and brutal. I recommend starting at 1:00am.

hiking
15 days ago

Easy but beautiful hike at the aerial tramway.

This was a really beautiful hike and a great way to escape the 114 degree weather in Palm Springs. It was about 70 degrees on the trail and a welcome change from the heat!

Trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Make sure you sign in at the station as you begin the trail after the paved pathway. This is to keep track of people on the mountain and to make sure they return.

This took about 5.5 hours which included a break at the top and a sandwich. Took the first 10am train and had no issues with lines on the ascent or descent

I almost died.
don't do this hike on 3 hours sleep.
I think most people can do this. there is no real steep part, it just zigzags a lot. it's really long though so make sure you can handle walking for 12 hours.

This was my first trek above 8,000 feet, so the altitude’s physiological effects were a concern. We were fine though. Just stay hydrated and take your time. The air was extremely dry which adds to the difficulty, but overall I’d rate this trail as moderate. 5.5 hours out and back.

Temps today: 105° in Palm Springs, 70° at the trailhead, 60° at the summit. It can get quite cold up there though, layer accordingly.

Trail very easy to navigate, well marked, not too many surprises here. Steep in a few spots, but nothing too savage.

Killer, outstanding views from about mile 3 onwards. Worth the effort 100%, you wont be disappointed. There’s a treatable water source about midway, but not to be relied on in the summer months. Pack 3 liters and you’ll be solid.

This is an outstanding training hike to prepare for the SoCal 6 Pack. Go get em’!

backpacking
20 days ago

Got an early start on a Sunday. Rode the tram up to the trailhead. Fair amount of day hikers and rock climbers. But after I got to Round Valley the crowd thinned out. Nice uphill hike. Not too bad. I went counterclockwise and had about 45lb pack. Took plenty of rests and enjoyed the scenery. Glad there was a trickle of water at RV ranger station. I climbed the trail to Lotus campsite. Nice ridge to camp. About 4 nice level spots. Cool breeze too. But the wind died down at dusk. Very peaceful sleeping that time of year (July). Nice views east towards the desert and Salton Sea. Very relaxing and some nice areas to explore too. Broke camp Tuesday morning. Very nice hike back to the tram, all down hill, until you get to the tram station. That last hump on the pavement to the station was kinda tuff. Nice facilities at the station, restaurant, bar, snacks, good way to end the trip. Ranger Bill and Jerry were so helpful and friendly.

Another peak off the bucket list. The tram definitely helps but still a hard hike. Great views and amazing scenery. The view from the top is unforgettable.Amazing hike!

This trail is HARD... but so worth it! Bring your layers, as there are some temperature changes along the way. It was a sunny day and I don't burn easy so I was fine in a tank top and shorts, with a hat and sunglasses. It's a rocky trail and easy to roll your ankles as you tire so take it easy on the descent. As far as checking in on All Trails, you cannot do so from the tram. Your check-in point is actually close to 2mi in at the first sign mentioning San Jacinto Peak. I started recording from the Ranger Station, where we filled out our FREE permit, and then was able to check in at the sign without losing the recorded progress that I had just traveled. Bring lots of water and a comprehensive day pack... Enjoy!

Done on November 5th, 2017. Started sharp at 1am with full moon. We made to the top around 1pm. Last 2-3 miles where way less steep, but tiredness and elevation made us slow down a lot (big lunch break at ranger station). There was frost on top. With full moon and cool weather, I think is any serious hiker can do it. Easier than Iron Mountain!
Once you get at the Tram (bottom one) go to the cafeteria/coffee area (even if is close) to the back on the left side of the room there some multi-charging phone cables to charge phone (in case need to call a ride to go back to the museum)

hiking
23 days ago

Lovely loop that lets you hike the Mt. San Jacinto area yet stay relatively close to the Tram station. The trail head begins at the sign behind the ranger's station where you must fill out a permit. The permit is free, but be sure to get one. The fine, if you're caught without one, is expensive ($450). At the sign, you have to choose if your going to go left (clockwise) or right (counter clockwise). Going clockwise will be steeper, yet shorter ascent to the High Country trail. It will be a tough climb if you're not in shape. Plenty of rocks and boulders to sit and rest if needed. Counter clockwise the hike to the High Country trail will be about twice as long, but the ascent not nearly as steep. You can also explore the surrounding area off this trail such as Round Valley and the Willow Creek Trail. Be sure to drop off the copy of your permit before heading back up to the the Tram station.

Excellent signage and awesome views.

Started at the Tram up to camping spot then continued up to the Peak with great views 360. You see everything and the weather was perfect. Hope to do this again later in the year

This hike was so pretty! We spread this trip to the peak up over three days. After coming up the tram, we lugged our water-heavy backpacks up to Round Valley Campground where we set up a home base.. After a peaceful night we woke up and headed to the peak with lighter day packs that we had included with our gear. The hike to the peak was a visual stunner. After reaching the emergency hut near the end, we quickly found where some scrambling skills were required. We scaled some decent sized boulders to get up to the top...a little tricky, but do-able. We got back to camp and rested up. We left the campground and headed for the tram on day three. If your new to backpacking or to mountain peaking...or like me, just a slower hiker, I recommend tackling this great mountain in easier pieces. There were plenty of people going straight up from the tram, so if your a faster hiker, you will definitely find yourself in good company that way too. A must do hike, the views west of MSJ as well as those over Palm Springs are big rewards for your efforts.

Fantastic hike. Some of my favorite scenic views EVER. The trail is never too steep, but the gradual incline still requires short breaks. There is a scramble at the very top and I felt the elevation most while here. Met some great people at the top. Will definitely do this hike again!

Second time I’ve done this hike, I’m ten years older now and felt every bit of it. This hike is relentless. It’s not too difficult or technical, but it does take planning and tenacity. All in all,I went through 5 liters of water, 4 Cliff Bars, 1 protein bar, 2 goos, and a pack of rehydration salts. Started shortly after midnight and summitted around 1 pm with a large group moving at a slow pace. Started with 3 liters of water and still had about half a liter when I refilled at the ranger station. The key to this hike is timing, you have to get out of the valley long before the sun comes up.

We did the hike on May 27, 2018. We started from the trailhead near the museum at 4 am, reached Long Valley just past 10. After long break and lunch at Long Valley, we arrived the peak at 2 pm. We were back to Long Valley about 4 pm. The changing views along the way and the view at the summit is impressive. But the challenge is not as great as we feared before the hike. I think it is slightly difficult than the Rim to Rim Hike in Grand Canyon. But it is well easy than the R3, which we did last year.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent, easy hike with great views.

Awesome hike, we did this on memorial day weekend. Here are pros and cons.
pros:
1) My 13 year old was able to do it. Nothing to difficult except distance and rock scramble at summit.
2) Tram is a fun way to get started on hike.
3) great scenery along the way
cons:
1) busy weekend so the lines for the tram were 1.5 hours both ways. Painful wait after a long hike.
2) Tram is $26

Great hike on 5/27/18. Bummed that I was not able to record it on AllTrails.
Perfect day. Nice cool temperatures. Love the smell of pine.

Amazingly beautiful with a ridiculous view at the top. Hard hike but definitely not as hard as the mythology behind it would have you believe. Mostly requires the right prep. Both me and my buddy were in ok shape and trained for a few months. Did Iron Mt. one week out to test ourselves and parts of that we're actually tougher than C2C. Lucked out with amazing 85f weather on memorial day. Started at 2am, hit long valley by 10a, the peak by 2:30 (I was dragging from elevation nausea), back the tram at 6. 16 hours total but we took LOTS of breaks. Brought 5.5 L of water (didn't need it all on the skyline but best to be safe), 1 gatorade with extra salt in it (my buddy did salt pills), ate 9 GU gels, 3 clif bars and a banana. The biggest thing is just to keep fueling/hydrating yourself and taking the GUs almost hourly was a huge help I think. I got a Charley Horse in my quad pretty early on but was able to work through it. Used a GPX on our phone and had a Sat beacon for emergencies. GPS is huge help for the first 3rd of the skyline which you will prob do in the dark and has a lot of splitting. After that the trail is impressively well maintained and clear, and the notch at the top of the skyline trail is all switchbacks so it's hard but not awful. The push to the summit was the worst part for me. It's not steep but it just takes forever (lots of traversing) and by that point you are exhausted. Def need warm clothes for the summit. Hooded windbreaker and gloves were lifesavers.

BTW, as we were cresting the notch at 10am 2 trail runners ran past us the opposite direction having already summited mid-C2C2C. We had seen lights ahead of us early so they prob started just before 2a and looked fresh as hell 22 miles in at 10. So yeah... goals.

We started C2C on Saturday morning at 3am. We hadn’t done any similar hikes before. It is the hardest hike we’ve done so far. It was consistently steep from the start until you reached Long Valley. The view at the peak was worth it. For us, there were three essentials for completing this hike (aside from food and water): hiking shoes, offline map, and a phone charger if you are using your phone for the offline map. It is easy to get lost so a gps is a must. Per person, we brought 1 gallon of water, 32 oz of Gatorade, 3 GU gels, 5 granola bars, and 2 sandwiches. We didn’t have to refill our water at the ranger station since we had plenty of supply left when we got there. It was so cold and windy at the peak so I’m glad I brought a sweater. Overall, this is an awesome hike for experienced hikers. Plan ahead and check the weather.

Started at 3 am made it to the tram at noon and after grabbing lunch at Peaks restaurant and wandering around made the peak at 4 pm.. Alllllll day hike, the majority of your pack weight should be water. In case you get hung up in lower elevation. You’ll need salts too. Great hike all in all.I had to turn off GPS though because I didn’t want to drain my battery life for pictures and such.

beautiful hike the the signs are a little confusing but we figured it out thecamp sit was a little confusing but the fellow hikers help us out ..... the trail was Rocky but amazing view all the way up saw some wild deer in the morning weather was great no bugs just super coold up at the top did not stay long but I'm happy the sign is up now to take pic with

Hiked this yesterday and it was a beautiful and scenic hike! Even though it was about 87*F in palm springs, it was in the high 30s low 40s at the summit. Definitely a tough hike because of the elevation but the view of San Gorgonio and overlooking the desert was definitely worth it!

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