Mount San Jacinto State Park

California, United States
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 (19 votes, 19 reviews)
The deeply weathered summit of Mount San Jacinto stands 10,834 feet above sea level, and is the second highest mountain range in Southern California. No more than a two hour drive from either Los Angeles or San Diego, the mountain's magnificent granite peaks, subalpine forests, and fern-bordered mountain meadows offer a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy a scenic, high-country wilderness area. The park offers two drive-in campgrounds near the town of Idyllwild. Most of the park is a designated wilderness area enjoyed by hikers and backpackers

When you enter Mount San Jacinto State Park, you come into the heart of the wilderness, high in the San Jacinto Mountains. This 14,000-acre park can be reached via Highway 243 from Idyllwild or by tram from Palm Springs. Granite peaks, subalpine forests and mountain meadows offer the best opportunity to enjoy a primitive high-country experience south of the Sierra Nevada range.

San Jacinto Peak - a giant, often snowcapped crag marked by great upthrusts of weathered granite - rises almost 11,000 feet above sea level. It is the highest peak in the San Jacinto Range and in the California State Park system, and the second-highest point in southern California. Several other peaks within the park are over 10,000 feet, and much of the rest of the park, standing at more than 6,000 feet in elevation, is cool and comfortable in the summer.

From the Tramway Mountain Station, you can see Palm Springs, green with golf courses and agriculture made possible through irrigation of the Coachella Valley. The vistas from the park sweep into the desert beyond Palm Springs for more than a hundred miles, extending southeast to the Salton Sea and beyond into the Imperial Valley. The northeast face of the San Jacinto Range plunges down 9,000 feet in less than four miles, making it one of the steepest and most spectacular escarpments in North America.

Starting in Chino Canyon near Palm Springs, the tram takes passengers from Valley Station at 2,643 feet elevation to Mountain Station on the edge of the wilderness, elevation 8,516 feet. The Mountain Station features a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, and the state park visitor center. In Long Valley, a short walk from the station, you will find the Long Valley Ranger Station, a picnic area with barbecue stoves and restrooms, a ski center, a self-guiding nature trail, and Desert View Trail which offers panoramas of the high country including several peaks over 10,000 feet in elevation. You can also enter the hiking trail system from this point. The tram closure for maintenance in 2010 is from September 13th through October 1st.
Park News Alert
Service Reduction Closures:

In order to help meet a portion of the Department wide $11 million reduction this 2011/12 fiscal year, and a $22 million reduction in fiscal year 2012/13 as outlined in AB 95, which was passed by the Legislation and signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in March 2011, Idyllwild Campground, Day Use, and Sector Office will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday October 1st, 2011 through May 1st, 2012 with the exception of Thanksgiving week.

Day hiking permits will remain available for self-issue at the Sector Office in Idyllwild or Long Valley during the closure period. Backcountry camping permits will continue to be processed by mail. This closure does not currently affect backpack camping in Round Valley, Tamarack, Little Round Valley, or Strawberry Junction.
Getting There
-Idyllwild and Stone Creek campgrounds: 25905 Hwy 243, Idyllwild CA 92549

From Riverside, take Interstate 10 East to Hwy 243 South to the park. From San Diego, take Interstate 15 North to 215 North, exit Hwy 74 east to Hwy 243 north to the park.

-Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: One Tramway Rd, Palm Springs CA 92262. Visit pstramway.com for tram fees and hours

The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at the Idyllwild location only
Seasons/Climate
Expect summertime highs in the mid-70s with occasional hot spells reaching the low 90s. Evening temperatures generally fall into the mid-50s. Winter is cold with sudden snowfalls and temperatures dropping near zero at times.
Operating Hours & Contact
Office Hours: 8am-4pm, daily

Campground Hours:
Idyllwild: Open year-round; Stone Creek: Open mid-May through mid-September

Telephone: 951-659-2607

25905 Hwy 243 (P.O. Box 308), Idyllwild CA 92549
Wilderness Permit Information
Mount San Jacinto is located at a high altitude where the growing season is short. Plant life has little opportunity to recover from overuse from one season to the next, and unless we take the steps to protect these areas they could be lost to us forever.

To ensure the preservation of the natural environment and assure the visitor of a quality visitor experience, the Department of Parks and Recreation has instituted a Wilderness Permit system; everyone entering the wilderness area for the day or for camping must have a permit in their possession. Day-use wilderness permits are free and are available at the State Park Headquarters in Idyllwild or at the Long Valley Ranger Station. Applications for overnight permits will be accepted up to 56 days (8 weeks) in advance; if you apply by mail, send your request in at least 10 days in advance. Sorry, no telephone or FAX requests can be accepted.

Groups must be limited to 15 people, and juvenile groups must have at least one adult leader for each 14 juveniles. Dogs are not permitted in wilderness areas of the State Park System.

For groups camping, access is limited to prevent overuse and provide everyone an opportunity for solitude. Carrying capacities have been established for the wilderness area campgrounds. These campgrounds are Round Valley, Tamarack Valley, Little Round Valley, and Strawberry Junction. On summer weekends these campgrounds fill to capacity four or more weeks in advance. It is essential that campers plan ahead to avoid being turned away on these weekends.

The United States Forest Service (USFS) has a similar permit system in effect for wilderness areas in national forests; these permits are issued at U.S.F.S. Headquarters, P.O. Box 518, Idyllwild, California 92549. The U.S.F.S. phone number is: (951) 659-2117.
Wilderness Camping (Backpackers)
A short walk from the tram station takes you into Long Valley, with a ranger station, a picnic area with restrooms, an adventure center, a self-guided nature trail, and the Desert View Trail overlooking Coachella Valley.

Carrying capacities have been established for the wilderness area campgrounds. These campgrounds are Round Valley, Tamarack Valley, Little Round Valley, and Strawberry Junction. On summer weekends these campgrounds fill to capacity four or more weeks in advance. It is essential that campers plan ahead to avoid being turned away on these weekends.

Applications for overnight permits will be accepted up to 56 days (8 weeks) in advance; if you apply by mail, send your request in at least 10 days in advance. Sorry, no telephone or FAX requests can be accepted. There is a $5 per person fee.

Groups must be limited to 15 people, and juvenile groups must have at least one adult leader for each 14 juveniles. Dogs are not permitted in wilderness areas of the State Park System.

The United States Forest Service (USFS) has a separate permit system in effect for wilderness areas in national forests; these permits are issued at U.S.F.S. Headquarters, P.O. Box 518, Idyllwild, California 92549. The U.S.F.S. phone number is: (951) 659-2117.

Developed campsites are available in Mount San Jacinto State Park at Idyllwild and Stone Creek campgrounds. Reservations are recommended; summer weekends fill up quickly. Sites accommodate motor homes or trailers up to 24 feet long. Winter camping demands preparation and good equipment.

Make Campground Reservations

USFS developed campsites may be reserved by calling (877) 444-6777.
Hike-In Camping
A Wilderness Camping Permit is required. The USFS and California State Parks manage the two areas of wilderness in the San Jacinto Mountains. Camping permits must be obtained from the agency that administers the area where you plan to camp. Overnight permits issued by either agency are honored for daytime travel through the other agency’s lands. See above for more information on acquiring permits.

In the state wilderness areas, camping is permitted in designated sites only. Only chemical or backpack stoves are permitted. Fires are NOT allowed at any time.
Group Camping
Group size in the wilderness is limited to a maximum of 15 people (12 for USFS), and only one permit is issued for each group. Please be aware that snow normally covers the wilderness from December through April. High winds and temperatures below zero are common.
Day Hiking
For the visitor with time and energy, the park offers an extensive trail system designed and developed over the years to minimize the impact on scenic and wilderness values. Popular hikes start from the tram’s Mountain Station. See Round Valley in a moderate loop of 4.5 miles through a luscious green meadow with a 700-foot elevation gain. You can also hike from Long Valley to San Jacinto Peak, a strenuous round-trip of 12 miles with a 2,400-foot elevation gain. All day-hikers must have permits to enter the wilderness. Obtain day-use permits on the day of your trip by visiting one of the ranger stations. These permits are honored by both agencies except during the summer, when day-use permits to enter the wilderness via Devil’s Slide Trail can only be obtained from the USFS ranger station in Idyllwild.

The Pacific Crest Trail is the jewel in the crown of America's scenic trails, spanning 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada through three western states. The trail passes through five California State Parks: Castle Crags and McArthur-Burney Falls in Northern California; and Silverwood Lake, Anza Borrego Desert and Mt San Jacinto in Southern California.
Tips & Rules
• You must have a permit to enter the wilderness.
• Pack out all trash and garbage.
• In USFS areas, bury human waste at least eight inches deep and at least 200 feet from the nearest drainage, trail or camp. In the state wilderness, use the pit toilets in camp areas.
• Wash dishes and dispose of waste water at least 100 feet from any stream, spring or faucet.
• Stay on trails. Help preserve plants and prevent erosion by not making shortcuts.
• Equestrians must pack in weed-free feed; grazing in the meadows is prohibited.
• No smoking in the wilderness.
• The wilderness is a state game refuge; possession of firearms, bows and arrows, or slingshots is prohibited.
• Dogs are prohibited in the state wilderness. U.S. Forest Service wilderness allows dogs, but they must be on leash at all times. A USFS permit does not allow you to pass through the state wilderness with your dog.
• Fires are prohibited in the state wilderness. Backpacking stoves are permitted.
• Motor vehicles, bicycles, strollers and all wheeled devices are prohibited in both the state and USFS wilderness.
Landscape
Similar to the Sierra Nevada, the San Jacinto Mountains rest on a major fault block with a distinct westward tilt. The entire San Jacinto region – bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Fault and on the north and east by the San Andreas Fault - is seismically active and slowly rising in elevation.

In 2002, 255 acres of Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness were designated as the Hidden Divide Natural Preserve. This classification provides the highest level of protection possible to the sensitive wildlife, plant species and distinctive natural features found in the Hidden Divide area. Park visitors may see white-headed woodpeckers, Steller's jays or yellow-rumped warblers. Raptors include peregrine falcons and golden eagles. Noisy Clark's nutcrackers feed on the seeds of the forest's pine species - Jeffrey, sugar and lodgepole pines.
Park History
Cahuilla, native Californians, used the area for seasonal hunting. They traversed its wooded canyons and protected valleys gathering food and other resources. Their trails still cross the mountain, and several bedrock mortars can be seen in or near the park. The mortars date back hundreds and perhaps thousands of years, giving evidence of long-term human habitation.

European settlers at first used the high country in much the same ways as the native people had, hunting the abundant deer and bighorn sheep. Later, loggers began to harvest the hillsides of pine while domestic sheep and cattle grazed the fragile mountain meadows. In 1897 President Grover Cleveland created the San Jacinto Forest Reserve to help contain and control these practices. The Reserve became the San Jacinto National Forest in 1907.

When the California State Park System was established in 1927, a San Jacinto state park became a priority. The first 12,695 acres were acquired for the park in 1930 and became a unit of the State Park System in 1963.

In 1945 the California legislature passed a bill authorizing construction of the aerial tramway, which was finally completed in 1963. Visitors to the park can now take a tram ride of less than 15 minutes and experience a series of biotic communities equivalent to a trip from desert scrub at 2,640 feet elevation to a mixed conifer forest dotted with wildflowers at 8,516 feet near the top.
Accessible Features
Camping
Idyllwild Campground: Accessible campsites are available. A restroom with showers is accessible and offers adjacent accessible parking. The campfire center includes spaces for wheelchairs.
Stone Creek Campground: Accessible campsites and no-flush restrooms are available at this campground. No showers are available. The campfire center permits wheelchair access.

Trails
Panorama Point Interpretive Trail: This is a one-mile loop trail winding through a lovely mixed conifer forest to a panoramic overlook point. The trailhead is in the Stone Creek Campground area of the park near campsite #14, off State Route 243. This trail has panels with many touchable elements and an audio tour (downloadable) that should make it more useful to persons with low vision and others. The audio tour is available for download here. There are two accessible parking spaces available at the trail entrance and accessible restrooms in the campground.

Trails

Summary
Difficulty
Distance
San Jacinto Peak via Marion Mountain
"The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!” - John Muir
Difficult
11.8 mi/
19.0 km
Guides
San Jacinto Peak via Marion Mountain
San Jacinto Peak via Marion Mountain
Banning, California, United States
 
Difficult: 11.8 miles, Full day
"The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!” - John Muir
Community Trips
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Mt. San Jacinto from the Tram
by Mikey. on Jul 09, 2012
Palm Springs, California, United States
9.8 miles
Distance: 11 miles     Elevation gain/loss: 2945 ft / 2477 ft     Moving time: 4:20     Moving speed: 2.3 mph               absolutely perfect day to hike the most beautiful mountain top in southern california. we had the summit and the hut all to ourselves for awhile which is amazing in itself.  took our sweet time and many photos of all the unparalleled views. incredible feeling of love flowing all around while up there! 10 stars!
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San Jacinto - Marion Trail
by Dlloydj on Sep 19, 2009
Pine Wood, California, United States
11.8 miles
Despite all the reports that this is a difficult trail it was very straightforward, taking 3h15m up and 2h20m down. It is not that scenic as you're mostly in trees, and there are no difficult areas (would grade class 1) with 100ft of boulder hopping at top (class 2). Nonetheless the peak offers some of the best views around.
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2007-05-29 Red Taquitz 0006a (Fern Valley, California, United States) Photo
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Red Tahquitz Peak via South Ridge Trail
by melonman on May 29, 2007
Fern Valley, California, United States
12.9 miles
Here's a bunch of geotagged photos that I took on a walk up to Tahquitz Peak and Red Tahquitz from the South Ridge Trailhead in Idyllwild, Calif. I've been up to both peaks before, but never via the South Ridge trail. I'm glad we went that way because the south ridge trail is a quiet and beautiful trail that winds up a steep boulder-strewn ridge to the summit with awesome views all...
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San Jacinto from Humber Park 15.3 Mi
by temec92592 on Jul 07, 2012
Fern Valley, California, United States
15.3 miles
The route begins at Humber Park in Idyllwild.  A parking permit is required at a fee of $5 and can be obtained at the parking area or at the ranger station.  A wilderness pass is also required between Memorial Day and Labor Day as there is a trail quota for the Devil Slide Trail.  There is not a fee for the wilderness pass but they are limited in number so arrive early...
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Palm Springs Tram Station to San Jacinto Peak
by jar0000 on Jun 26, 2010
Desert View, California, United States
8.9 miles
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Tahquitz Peak and Red Tahquitz Peak
by Mikey. on Aug 05, 2012
Idyllwild, California, United States
11.7 miles
approximately 3300 ft of gain. awesome hike up devils slide and pct to tahquitz peak with benchmark lois, then across the pct and along the bottom of the ridge line then up to red tahquitz, finally returning through the beautiful tahquitz valley to saddle junction and back down devils slide. incredible views all along the way!
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Humber Park (Devil's Slide Trail) to San Jacinto Peak
by mljonson on Oct 23, 2011
Idyllwild-Pine Cove, California, United States
14.3 miles
Gary, Ty and Mark--representing the Koko-Nut Hikers (Coachella Valley, CA) set out from Humber Park (Idyllwild, CA) and climbed the Devil's Slide Trail to San Jacinto Peak.  We left at 6:45 am and returned by 1:45 pm.   Total elevation gain was 4,590'.  It was a beautiful day with temperatures at the peak around 45 degrees F and virtually no wind.  Although a little hazy, we could see the Whitewater River and...
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Coffin Nail to Trader HornTaquitz
by climbhighvt on Apr 13, 2008
California, United States
Climbing | 2.4 miles
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San Jacinto - attempt #1
by bajawil on May 16, 2010
Desert View, California, United States
9.9 miles
Gear trial and survey for future summit attempt.
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Cornell Peak - Miller Peak - San Jacinto Peak - San Jacinto Azimuth Benchmark
by Mikey. on Sep 22, 2013
Desert View, California, United States
9.0 miles
Distance: 10.45 miles     Elevation gain/loss: 3264 ft / 3114 ft     Moving time: 4:36     Moving speed: 2.0 mph           Rode the tram up, went to the ranger station and then headed out. Split from the main trail onto the unmarked Sid Davis Trail towards Tamarack Valley and then shortly after went off trail directly towards Cornell Peak. Approached the peak from the East and started scrambling up till we found the chimney mentioned in...

Reviews
dukeredhair
A bit crowded one the tram trail joins up but otherwise lovely.
Visited on Jul 24, 2014

by dukeredhair on Jul 25, 2014
Nyloncoretransmissionbelting
greatttttt placeeeeeee
Visited on Mar 03, 2014

by Nyloncoretransmissionbelting on Mar 27, 2014
goodbtn
Highly recommend the trail up Marion Mountain (Idyllwild side)to Mt San Jacinto. Especially with some snow on the ground. It is so beautiful and the view from the top is truly awesome.
Visited on Jun 15, 2013

by goodbtn on May 26, 2014
brittybr
My boyfriend and our 2 friends had a great time summiting Mount San Jacinto! We wrote a blog post that details the trails we took, the snacks we packed and everything we experienced along the way. You can check it out here :) I hope it helps and have a great time!

http://mrandmrsadventure.com/2013/06/18/summiting-mount-jacinto/

Visited on Jun 14, 2013

by brittybr on Jun 18, 2013
merbnz
Another great hike to Caramba!
Visited on Jun 07, 2013

by merbnz on Jun 21, 2013
merbnz
Wellman's Divide in beautiful when covered in snow!
Visited on Jan 05, 2013

by merbnz on Jan 07, 2013
merbnz
I always enjoy hiking at Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Excellent trails and scenery!
Visited on Dec 15, 2012

by merbnz on Dec 29, 2012
Robert_Marcos
There's two ways of accessing the park - you can hike up from Idyllwild on the Devil's Slide Trail, or you can take the Palm Springs Tram up. I've done both, but most recently my son and I took the tram up and then hiked up to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto. It took about four hours total. We were a little bored with the trail, and the summit, this time. But in the past I've snow shoed up and it was much more of a challenge. My goal is to someday snowshoe up and then ski down! (I've seen others do it).
Visited on Sep 10, 2012

by Robert_Marcos on Oct 08, 2012
stumblinl
Fantastic place to ride. All levels of expertise. There are quite a few trail-heads that are easy to get to. You can ride through desert, mountain, and lush green landscape on the same day. I highly recommend checking it out
Visited on Jul 25, 2012

by stumblinl on Dec 23, 2012
Jlopez6931
its one of my very favorites hikes
Visited on Jul 12, 2011

by Jlopez6931 on Jul 16, 2011
sunday
One of my favorite peaks for sure, it never disappoints.
Visited on Jul 03, 2011

by sunday on Sep 06, 2011
sdosremedios
After riding up the tram, hiking along the edge of the mountain offers nice views
Visited on Nov 10, 2010

by sdosremedios on Sep 26, 2011
RandyF
This a great prep hike for Mt. Whitney. Very beautiful hike with a 360 degree view of Southern California. 8 miles up and 8 miles back from the Devils Slide trailhead in Idyllwild.
Visited on Jun 27, 2010

by RandyF on Jan 12, 2011
fitnessequipments
Great information i love this place
Visited on Jun 07, 2010

by fitnessequipments on May 20, 2014
Nylonsandwichbelts
I would pair to communicate here again
Visited on May 03, 2010

by Nylonsandwichbelts on Mar 27, 2014
galorath
Its hard to figure where you are with all the snow. Use a GPS and be careful
Visited on Feb 13, 2010

by galorath on Aug 08, 2011
james.harper.us
Awesome hike! I can't wait to go back!
Visited on Oct 14, 2009

by james.harper.us on Mar 31, 2011
multigymequip
once you go here you dont need to maneuver rearward
Visited on Jul 06, 2009

by multigymequip on May 20, 2014
gymequipment
mount san jacinto is great park
Visited on May 04, 2009

by gymequipment on May 20, 2014

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ultralight, BCHC, round valley, Idylwild, Idyllwild, PCTA, palm, Hiking, fire lookout, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, San Jacinto Peak, san jacinto, modern, Southern California, aerial tram, palm springs, Devils Slide, PCT, San Jacinto Wilderness, Mt San Jacinto

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