Hiking Mt. San Jacinto Peak - Visit Palm Springs

Hiking Mt. San Jacinto Peak

If The Thin Air Doesn’t Take Your Breath Away, The Views Will.

When you enter Mount San Jacinto State Park, you come into the heart of the wilderness, high in the San Jacinto Mountains. San Jacinto Peak is giant, and often snowcapped, rising 10,834 feet above sea level. It is the highest peak in the San Jacinto Range and in the California State Park System.

Getting There

Begin your journey by taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of the San Jacinto Mountain. This Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tram car and travels over 2.5 miles along the cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting you to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During your approximately 10-minute journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering spectacular valley views. Once you reach the Mountain Station at elevation at 8,516 feet, there are over 50 miles of hiking trails to explore. As you climb you’ll experience a series of biotic communities ranging from desert scrub at the Valley Station to a mixed conifer forest dotted with wildflowers at the Mountain Station.


The Hike

After enjoying the magnificent vista views from the Mountain Station, head out back where your trail begins. Walk down the concrete switchbacks to Long Valley and follow the signs for Round Valley and stop at the seasonal Long Valley ranger station and get your self-issued permit. As you continue on the trail you’ll pass a couple of junctions. Stick to the signs towards Round Valley (or the summit). Soon you will get your first glimpse of the meadow in Round Valley. At 2.3 miles, you’ll reach the far end of the Round Valley meadow at 9,100 feet. The Round Valley Meadow is an exceedingly uncommon and fragile wetland habitat, made all the more rare by its isolation high above the Southern California desert.

Continue on by taking the trail up the valley towards Wellman’s Divide. This trail climbs steadily on a well-engineered trail for a mile, finally reaching the stunning southern vistas of the divide. There is a junction at the divide marked by a trail sign. Be sure you head north towards San Jacinto Peak. The trail runs diagonally across the east flank of Jean Peak, pausing briefly at a flat cleft at 10,000 feet before continuing north on the east side of San Jacinto. Distance from the Tram to the summit is 5.5 miles.
Source: Jeff Hester

Note: Snow normally covers the wilderness from November through April. For current weather and trail conditions, call (760) 327-0222.

Please Remember

All natural and cultural features are protected by law and may not be disturbed or removed.

You must have a permit to enter the wilderness. If you are under the age of 18 you must be with a parent or guardian or have a signed consent to obtain the permit.

Pack out all trash.

In the state wilderness, use the pit toilets in the campgrounds. In USFS areas, bury human waste at least eight inches deep and at least 200 feet from the nearest drainage, trail, or camp.

Please stay on trails. Help preserve plants and prevent erosion by not making or using shortcuts.

Smoking is permitted only in designated areas at the tram’s Mountain Station.

The wilderness is a state game refuge; possession of firearms, bows and arrows, slingshots, or other weapons is prohibited.

Except for trained service animals, all dogs are prohibited in the wilderness areas.

All fires are prohibited in the wilderness areas.

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