Summary: The topo and elevation profile for this trip are inaccurate. For some reason the trail does not appear on the topo map, I had to use an educated guess for most of it.
This is an interesting trail, you begin amongst desert chapparal and even cactus, then you gradually enter an oak and maple forest, and eventually reach a pine forest near the top. However, the neat thing is that the whole area is transitional, and you'll see parts of each climate system everywhere you go.
The trail is a steady cardio workout for the first 3 1/2 miles, then the real workout starts. You come into a series of steep switchbacks for the last mile and a half, but it evens out near the PCT whcih is 5 miles from the start.
The last mile to the top is normal peak mounting dificulty, but well worth the effort. You get a far reaching 360' view, desert to ocean.
Trailhead: Take the 74 or the 243 to Mountain Center, then travel East on the 74 for about 3 miles. You will see the turn for Apple Canyon Road and Hurkey Creek Park. Turn left and follow the road for 2-3 miles. You will see a turnout and a sign for the trail on your right. Park in the large area on your right just south of the trailhead.
The trail is well maintained for the first couple of miles, but later on it is a little overgrown - wear pants.
To get to Spitler Peak, you must take a side peak trail, just look for the cairn in the middle of the PCT when you get close and head up the mountain. (Lat:33.7022 Lon:-116.6223)
Trail Guides for Spitler Peak Trail:
San Bernardino Mountain Trails - 100 Hikes in Southern California
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: San Bernardino National Forest (909)382-2922
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 STEVE on 1/4/2012
HIKED ON 12/30/2011. THIS IS A GREAT HIKE WITH A DOG. TOOK MY 3 YEAR OLD BLACK LAB AND SHE HAD NO PROBLEM. THIN PATCHY SNOW NEAR JUNCTION WITH P.C.T., SIDE TRAIL TO SUMMIT 50% COVERED WITH 6-8" OF SNOW. DID NOT SEE ANYONE ON THE TRAIL OR PARKED AT TRAILHEAD. FANTASTIC VIEWS FROM PCT AND SUMMIT. HIGHLY RECCOMEND THIS TRAIL FOR WINTER.
Reviewed by SierraCJ on 12/2/2011
Great hike on the Spitler Peak trail to Apache Peak and Spitler Peak. Nice views of Garner Valley and the Desert Divide. Great place to camp. Definitely do again. Hiked on 5/31/2011.
Reviewed by tonya on 11/30/2010
What a pleasant surprise this hike was! This was our Thanksgiving day recovery hike and it did the job. It's a nice gradual climb for about 3 miles or so and then it's up up up. We encountered snow but nothing that required any equipment, well maybe a hard-hat due to the icicles breaking off of the trees above us as we hiked. The view is gorgeous all along the trail and especially at the top. It was somewhat quiet on the trail as we only met up with 7 other people, 2 of which were trail-runners, very impressive given the steepness in some areas.
Reviewed by Kenn D on 4/5/2009
Hiked Spitler on April 3, 2009. Good hike, 4.8 miles up a little grind. Took me exactly 2 hours to reach the PCT. No breaks, except one 3 minute stop for water. Good cardio workout. Once on top, you can walk along the PCT. Mabye not the best hike for a novice. Way down is steep, causing shorter steps so time down was nearly 2 hours also. Small spots of snow, but only made 1 single step into snow. Was 31 degrees at 0830 hours when I began the hike. Lots of shadows and wind, so it was chilly.
Reviewed by David O. on 8/8/2006
Nice views most of the way up. Lot's of knats half way up though. Lots of overgrowth last half of the way which prevented us from finding either of the side trails that are supposed to lead to Spitler Peak and Apache Peak. The view of Palm Springs is nice. Bring plenty of water because there is none to speak of for filtering.
Reviewed by mike on 6/18/2006
I did the peak today, but I went a different way - I started at Fobes trailhead, hiked to the saddle, then did the peak from that direction. It if wasn't so dang hot, I would have enjoyed it more. I think this is more of a fall or winter hike. Like I said, it was a very hot day - mid-80s when I started, with little breeze. As a result, the bugs were brutal! Great views at the top, but couldn't stay long because of the bugs. I wanted to do Apache Peak, too, but just too hot. Next time.
Reviewed by lt on 1/1/2005
This is one of my favorite running trails. I usually don't make it all the way to the top during the first couple of weeks of the season. But, during the summer it's about 1 hour up and about 45 minutes down. I have yet to run (no pun intended) into anyone on this trail -- very secluded.
Reviewed by scott on 3/14/2004
wow, if ever you can be offered it all, and all within a few thousand feet of elevation change. heading up you come across beautiful waterfalls falling from the snow fields above, once atop and cooling down from the switchbacks, the PCT runs either way, to your right is spitler peak, a quick side trip up the snowy peak, back at the saddle continue north just before the side trail up to apache peak, you can take a trail down to the springs, back up and on to the peak one can relax and enjoy the views from its 2 peaks. to make this a loop trip continue north on the PCT, you will come across some vertical carved out sections, that as i found out, is very sketchy with snow on it, continue down to the saddle where a trail leads to zen center
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