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San Jacinto Peak via Palm Springs Tram

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Best mountain view in SoCal, meadows, pine forests, granite formations, awesome!
Near:Palm Springs, CA
Distance:11 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:2300 ft
Hike Time:6 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This moderate all day outing is as good as it gets. The trip starts out by taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway almost a mile straight up into the San Jacinto wilderness. The first 2 miles of trail traverses a lovely pine forest, passing through Round Valley. The trail then begins a 1 mile accent to Wellman Divide, a great spot for lunch with breathtaking views. At this point the trail heads north towards the peak. The forest is somewhat open with the ground covered in lush vegetation, and ever more stunning views of the desert below. Near the summit you will encounter a small stone cabin, and after a easy rock scramble up a 100 yards or so, you will be at the peak.

John Muir considered the view from San Jacinto peak one of the most sublime on earth. It is a great hike!

Trailhead: From Interstate 10, take the Palm Springs exit (hwy 111) and drive 9 miles to Tramway road. Turn right and follow the road 3.5 miles to its end at the Tramway parking lot. The tram takes you from palm springs to the 8500 foot level near Long Valley in a short, but spectacular 12 minute ride. The cost was about twenty bucks round trip. (Lat:33.81308 Lon:-116.63841)
Trail Guides for San Jacinto Peak via Palm Springs Tram:
100 Great hikes in and near Palm Springs
by Philip Ferranti  (Westcliffe Publishers)

San Bernardino Mountain Trails
by John W. Robinson  (Wilderness Press)

California Hiking
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown  (Foghorn Press)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: US Forest Service
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 14   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Pasadena Hiker on 5/28/2013
This is one of the best hikes I've done. The altitude takes some getting used to but not impossible. Even though I went on Memorial Weekend, the traffic was not bad at all. I recommend starting early. I took the 8:15 tram up and made it down in 7 hours with a 1 hour lunch break at the top. Bring a plenty of water. I had filled my 3 litter camelback and it was 2/3 gone by the time I finished with the hike. It could get pretty windy and chilly at the summit. A light jacket is recommended even in the summer.

Reviewed by Robin on 8/20/2012
Hiked this trail on 8/18/12. Stopped at Wellman Divide to snack and enjoy the view. My home is in La Quinta and I enjoyed the cooler temperature. Got caught in a downpour on the way down and slipped on wet rocks several times, scraping and brusing my legs. Even so, this is a hike I plan to do again. The views are amazing!

Reviewed by sj on 7/27/2012
This is a great hike. Can be a very busy trail. Be prepared and understand you are gaining 8000' + in a very short time. Take aspirin, water, snacks, flashlight. Don't be another rescued hiker. Don't take it lightly and you'll have a great day. I personally think the view from San Gorgonio is better because you get to look at San Jacinto, Big Bear, High and Low desert. Guess John Muir didn't agree.

Reviewed by Nagan on 7/22/2012
I had to use the tram to go up. The guy at the parking lot said there was no trail to go up, and has been for years. Started my hike at the Mt. SJ State Park at 2pm, and got to the peak. It started to be too dark for me at 8:30pm on my way back. Foretunately right then I saw the lights from the ranger's station at the beginning of the trail. Nice view going up, but the peak is kind of anti-climatic, since you have to "boulder" up, and it kind of gave me some daze/headache due to altitude, I guess.

Reviewed by Susie on 7/19/2012
Hiked this trail on 7/13/12. The sky was cloudy, the temperature was around 60. I enjoyed the temperature. Hiked this trail in about 5 hours. Moderate hike. No bugs. No snow.

Reviewed by JF on 6/23/2012
Hiked this trail today. Weather was great - only 70 degrees. All the snow has melted. Highly recommend hiking this trail with this great weather. It took us 3 hours to summit and 2 to get back to the tram station. We got on the 8:30am tram ride.

Reviewed by KBW on 7/18/2011
Hiked 7/17/2011. Our group had a mix of ages and fitness levels, so it took us 8 hrs hiking plus rest time, but everyone made it to the top to enjoy the 360 degree views on a mild sunny day. Just past the stone house near the summit, the trail disappears - stick to the lefthand side of the peak as you choose a route to scramble up - boulders a little smaller and more earth there.

Reviewed by MVR on 7/2/2011
Hiked on weekend of 6/25/11. Clear skies all the way up and down from Deer Springs trailhead to the peak. It was very hot in Idyllwild on the last day coming down. The were bugs galore (flies, gnats, mosquitos, etc.) making breaks and meals uncomfortable. An insect net may be required to keep the pests from going in your ear, nose, and mouth. They seem to swarm all the way to about the 10,000 ft line where the winds helped dissipate them from swarming. It was worth the trek to see the views and the scenic boulders and landscape along the way. There was hardly any snow. Patches were seen in Little Round Valley and at the junction to the peak. Trails are clearly visible. However, one 20 ft stretch had overgrown thorn bushes.

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

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