Summary: For some reason this hike felt longer than 8 miles and seemed to gain more elevation than 2900 feet. It could be due to the fact that I summitted in wintry conditions and had to tromp through some snow to get there.
I only caught a few glimpses backwards at San Gorgonio before the weather turned bad, so I can't comment for certain on how magnificent the view from the top is - I didn't see it, but I can imagine on a clear day, it would rival Cucamonga or Ontario Peak for mountain/city views.
The hike itself follows beautiful Millard Canyon through pine, maple and oak along a wonderful stream that gradually builds to a chapparal covered slope and purely oaken forest. You catch some great views of Joshua Tree and Morongo along with the high country of San Gorgonio.
When you reach the saddle, go right, it's two miles to the peak. I had trouble finding the trail for the summit. It was unclear and covered in snow. After much searching and backtracking, I made it.
Trailhead: Take the 10 East past the town of Banning. Exit Fields Road, turn left toward the mountains. Turn left again (the road T's after the overpass.) Make a right onto Fields Road. Make a right onto Morongo. Follow it until it stops and becomes Millard Canyon road with a left turn.
Stay on the main road and follow it to the signed junction, make a right for the Kitching Peak trail - follow this road for about 2 miles.
Note: If you do not have a four wheel drive vehicle, you will need to park in a turnout along the road one half mile to a mile before the trail - there are a couple of sections you wont be able to pass, along with a stream crossing.
Park at the sign and follow the well maintained trail.
Sections of the trail are steep and parts are not for the faint of heart. (Lat:33.9986 Lon:-116.74048)
Trail Guides for Kitching Peak:
San Bernardino Mountain Trails - 100 Hikes in Southern California
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Mill Creek Ranger Station (909)794-1123
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Diana on 11/9/2010
Got special permission with a group to hike from Millard TH (sometimes listed as Kitching TH) to Kitching Peak summit. East Millard Canyon is beautiful, full of autumn color. However, the trail has not been maintained for quite some time and is almost non-existent in some areas. Duff cover has made the trail very hard to find. From the Sink/Whitewater River/Kitching Peak trail junction, go right (in case the sign is knocked down like it was for us). Pass a manzanita grove and across a very exposed sandy ridge. Continue along the saddle. The last section is a short steep trail to the peak. The peak is a broad area. We had to crawl on our hands and knees under thick brush to get to the summit register. The views were spectacular.
Reviewed by Larry on 6/8/2006
I went all the way to the exit on Fields Road and wasn't allowed access because I am not an Indian that lives there. They say I have to know someone there who will let me go up. So I would'nt waste my time again unless someone knows an alternate route. They just recently closed the reservation to the general public.
Reviewed by A. Riedel on 11/16/2004
Just hiked this again, and the directions given are incorrect. The Morongo Indians have closed the road. Instead follow the 10 east to Fields Road, left under the underpass, left at the stop. Right onto Fields road. Then make an immediate right onto Martin road. Follow it to the cattle guard and make a leftish turn onto the dirt road. Follow the main road until you see the sign for the turn to Kitching Peak Trail.
Reviewed by GKITCHING on 5/6/2004
access is to the trail head is restricted by the Morongoan's. The road I used to take is closed. Now get off at Apache Trail and turn up Millard Pass Road in the new outlets. This is a straigher shot to the trailhead than the Field Road entrance anyway. The harder part of route finding was NOT passing Kitching Creek as you start up the canyon. Second part is bearing left so that you traverse left above the canyon past the entrance of Kitching Creek into the canyon. This puts you above the cul-de-sac of the canyon. From there it is straightforward to the sign saying Kitching Peak 2 miles. I was a little confused about the route from there is that there is some elevation loss. Who is Kitching-don't know.
Reviewed by scott on 3/11/2004
try this hike in the spring, as most of the snow will have melted,a breeze should be present, and the canyon will be flowing with refreshing waterfalls for the way down, and a splendid meditative sound for the hike up.seems to be a bit longer than 8 miles, a good alpine trainer. the last bit requires self navigation, follow the ridge up and through a hole in the bushes, atop the sights extend from the salton sea to the palos verdes penisula, and a grand showing of the majestic San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains. an area of solitude, here is where we discover are ownselves, have you been found?
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Riverside County Hiking, Riverside County Trails, Riverside County Hikes