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Hiking

Hiking in our immediate area is intense. The trails are steep and the views are grand. Because the mountains rise so sharply from the valleys, the big peaks of Baldy, Iron, Gorgonio, Jacinto, etc. are no easy accomplishment. Upon reaching the summit, however, these peaks provide mind-blowing vistas. During these quick altitude changes you'll get to see amazing changes in the wildlife. Many hikes start among Yucca and other desert plants and end up in pine forests. Some even top out above treeline. Keep your eyes open for Big Horn Sheep!

The hikes described in the following section are a tiny portion of the hikes in our area. These are meant as only an introduction to the endless possibilities. Get a copy of the guidebooks listed - they describe hundreds of trails. Directions to trailheads may be the best service of the section - from there you can usually do scores of hikes not mentioned in this book.

With the dry, hot climate of the area water becomes a major concern while hiking these steep trails. Most "Safety Notes" sections advise bringing lots of water - don't ignore this warning, especially if backpacking. While some areas such as the Sierras are great for cross country hiking, most hikes here are through very delicate terrain that my not be stable off trails. Unless the hike suggests off-trail travel, do not leave the trails.

 

Bear Creek (Lower Portion)

Highlights:

A good local creek/trail hike that isn't as steep as Baldy or the other peaks.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Trails of the Angeles, hike #74 (p.169)

Directions:

Take I-210 West to 39 in Azusa. Follow 39 North 11.5 miles, just past the Rincon Ranger Station, and park on the left or right near the trailhead. On weekends you have to pay a $3 parking fee at the bottom of 39. Its about a 45 minute drive.

Description:

The trail starts through a turnstile on a paved bike bath. Follow the pavement about a mile to a concrete bridge. Cross the creek to the right at the bridge and follow the remnants of a trail as far as you want. The trail is not well maintained so hiking the creek might be easier. Wear clothes for creek hiking if that is the desired route.

Safety Notes:

Rincon Ranger Station is just South of the hike on 39.

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Cajon Pass, Cleghorn Mtn.

Highlights:

A hike or mountain bike ride in a fairly snow-safe area. (About 5,000 feet)

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

San Bernardino Mountain Trails, Hike #1, p. 41. Note that this hike/ride is quite different than the book describes it, however.

Directions:

Take I-10 East to I-15 North and exit on Cedar Springs Road/ Hwy. 138. Take 138 about 4 miles just past the sign for Summit Railroad and pull off right into the dirt road at a worn out white sign that says "Elliott" in barely legible writing. Park at the gate (or drive further if you have a 4WD if you want). It's about a 45 minute drive from campus.

Description:

Go down the dirt road, staying straight past two roads that turn-off. Follow the road into the canyon and across the Pacific Crest Trail as it runs along huge power lines. When you get to a cement shed the left fork takes you to the top of the surrounding hills. There you'll find great views of the San Gabriels and not-so-spectacular vistas of the roads and railroads. Watch our for pellet-gun players, jeeps, motorbikes, and trucks. Its best when its not too hot because the trail is in chaparral.

Safety Notes:

Cajon Ranger Station (909) 887-2576. The nearest phone is probably at the "country store" just past the trailhead on 138.

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Cucamonga Canyon

Highlights:

A local area with good creek walking, mountain biking, and climbing potential.

Relevant Maps:

Cucamonga Peak topo map

Directions:

From campus take Foothill or Baseline east to Euclid and turn north (left). Turn right on 19th. At Sapphire turn left and follow it up the hill to a "T". Turn left and immediately turn right again. Follow this road up the hill until the pavement ends. Only 4WD vehicles with high clearance can continue. Park and begin hiking or biking up the dirt road. To reach the stream turn left at the fork and follow the road down to the major stream crossing. The drive is about twenty minutes and the hike is about three miles round trip.

Description:

Cucamonga Canyon is a deep, shady canyon among a forest of chaparral. The creek is excellent for creek hiking and serious climbing potential exists after some work. A short ways downstream the first crag appears on the right. A bolted climb (about 5.8) sticks up on the right. Other climbs are possible on this small wall. Just past the crag on a side creek a sixty foot wall looks to have possible routes after some cleaning. Below these small outcrops the creek travels into some narrow rock canyons. The walls pinch together and form picture-perfect swimming holes and very difficult bolted walls. Unfortunately, graffiti has found its way onto the rocks and seriously detracts from what would be an amazing series of waterfalls and pools. Some sketchy ropes have been left for down climbing into lower pools - use them at your own risk (you can hike below the big pool by cutting uphill around the mini finger ridge on a small trail). If climbing is planned, be aware that the rock is very loose. New climbs will take serious cleaning to become solid. The area may be suitable for groups in time, but too few routes are developed as of now and the rock is too loose for official OTL trips. The area could be well served by an OTL trip to clean up the pools which would lead to a great local spot. Back on the dirt road, Mountain Biking in the area is excellent. The dirt road continues past the creek and the right fork can also be explored.

Safety Notes:

As mentioned, loose rock is a serious hazard to potential climbers and hikers. Poison Oak is very common along the trail and around the first two crags. Leave the canyon in the event of heavy rainfall to avoid flash flood danger.

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Deep Creek Hot Springs

Highlights:

An amazing hot spring in a spectacular river canyon with great swimming holes, fishing, and bouldering.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

San Bernardino National Forest Map, Lake Arrowhead topo.

Directions:

Take I-10 east to I-15 north. Take the Main Street exit in Hesperia and continue through town (east) until Rock Springs Rd. (about 10 miles). Turn left. Deep Creek Rd. soon intersects. If you plan to do the long hike, turn right on Deep Creek Rd. and follow it for 10 to 15 miles to the parking area. For the short hike, continue on Rock Springs Rd. At Kiowa Rd, Rock Springs changes names to Roundup Way. After about 10 miles on Roundup (part may be dirt), turn right on Bowen Ranch Rd. and follow it about 10 miles to Bowen Ranch. It takes about 1.5 hours from campus.

Description:

Deep Creek Hot Springs are the closest hot springs to school and are a great hiking or backpacking location. There are several pools, some too deep to stand in. The pools are adjacent to the river which provides cold water dips as well. Boulder problems exist right out of the water on good quality granite. This granite provides excellent bouldering throughout the canyon. Deep swimming holes on the river allow rock jumping as well. The pools can be reached by two routes. Parking at the end of Deep Creek Rd. leads to a gentle seven mile hike to the springs. This parking lot is unfortunately not safe for cars overnight. OTL members had windows smashed here at night. From Bowen Ranch it is a steep two mile hike. Parking at Bowen Ranch costs $4 per person but is safe. The trip is good as a day hike, but even better as an overnight. Camping is not officially allowed in the canyon (according to another guide camping is only prohibited near the spring), so you have to be a bit sneaky. Despite the "rules" people camp in the canyon frequently. Derrick Churchill recommends a spot about a half-mile upstream from the springs. Do not camp next to the pools. Continuing upstream makes for great exploring as well. The pools can be crowded with noisy parties on the weekend.

Safety Notes:

The springs' temperature changes depending on the stream flow, so check the temperature before plunging. The springs are said to have microorganisms that can burrow into your brain and kill you in 3 days. These are popular springs, however, and thousands of people have gone with only 3 deaths over the last century. Make sure everyone is aware of this risk. To be on the safe side don't dunk your head underwater since the microorganisms enter through the ear canal. Use caution bouldering because even a sprained ankle at distance from a vehicle can be a major ordeal. High runoff can cause the stream to become treacherous for swimming or even crossing.

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Grass Mountain

Highlights:

Hiking in the beautiful Los Padres National Forest above Santa Barbara.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Los Padres National Forest map, San Marcos Pass topo map.

Directions:

Follow I-210 west to 134 west to 101 north/west. After Santa Barbara but before Goleta take 154 north. Turn right on Figueroa Mtn. Rd. Five miles down Figueroa stop at Midland School (on the right) and get a hiking permit from the office. Once back on Figueroa heading north, continue for about 2.5 miles until the road crosses a bridge and makes a 180 degree turn.. Park and start hiking towards the big grassy mountain. About 2.5 hours.

Description:

For those looking to check out the amazing county above the Santa Barbara Coast, Grass Mountain provides a good first stop. Grass Mountain offers a beautiful, but strenuous, hike among abundant wildlife. Along the attractive creek are yucca, poison oak, and wildflowers. The best time to hike is late March - early April when wildflowers such as poppies, lupine, and shooting stars bloom. A permit is required for the hike - call Midland School at 805-688-5114 before making the drive to get a permit. Other fine hiking spots exist in Los Padres and the area is primed for some OTL exploring. There's good camping about an hour up Figueroa Mtn road at Davy Brown or Nira campgrounds.

Safety Notes:

Carry sufficient water, especially in the hot, dry months. There's a ranger station at Cachuma Saddle.

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Ice House Canyon

Highlights:

A classic nearby hike that is great for a morning or a weekend.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Trails of the Angeles, Cucamonga Peak topo map.

Directions:

Go up Mills to Baldy Rd, turn right and follow that all the way up to Baldy Village. You will need to stop at the ranger station (across from Baldy Lodge) to get a wilderness permit if you are hiking all the way to the saddle. After you leave the village (and before you get to the steep switchbacks), the road forks, with the main road curving off to the left. Take the rightmost fork (which goes pretty much straight ahead) and park in the lot. It takes about a half-hour from Claremont.

Description:

If you need to get out of this slime pit but don't have much time, this is the place to go. It's only a few miles from the sprawling metropolis, but you'd never know it once you're there. The trail is easy to follow. It goes up the floor of the canyon, past several cabins and along the stream. After a mile, the trail branches. You can go either way, but OTL graduate Alan Kaufmann prefers to follow the lower main trail up to the saddle and take the "high road" back down. The trail continues up the side of the canyon and then switchbacks up to the saddle. Mile posts let you mark your progress. At the saddle, there is a metal map, showing routes and mileages to Ontario Peak, Cucamonga Peak, The Three T's, and from there, Mt. Baldy via the Devil's Backbone. If you have all day or two days, a trip to one of the closer peaks is do-able. Baldy is still a long way off, and it will probably take you two or more days to do that trip (and you need a car shuttle). If you only have half a day, just turn around and go back the way you came. The high road meets up with the main trail within 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the saddle. If you choose to go back that way, watch carefully for the junction as you descend- The high road heads off to the right from the top of a switchback and is easy to miss. The High Road trail hugs the lower flanks of the Three T's and Mt. Baldy. It is steeper and longer than the lower trail, but very picturesque. This day hike is about 7 miles round trip if you take the lower trail both ways, 8 1/2 if you do the loop. There is snow from late November - April, but still decent for hiking.

Safety Notes:

Water is available from the stream along the lower part of the trail, but needs to be purified. Higher up on the lower trail. Columbine spring has water year-round, but is should be purified as well (see map for location).

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Iron Mountain via Hwy. 39

Highlights:

Iron Mountain is the least accessible mountain in LA County. Anyone who survives its 11 hour round trip will certainly feel that they have climbed a mountain. The summit offers a wide, flat piece of ground which would serve well as an overnight destination.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Trails of the Angeles, Mtn. San Antonio topo map.

Directions:

Take 210 West to 39 North in Azusa. Turn right at the junction and park at the East Fork Ranger Station.

Description:

Potential climbers of Big Iron should start very early in the morning at the East Fork Ranger Station, 18 miles from Azusa. Walk past the locked gate and follow the old East Fork Road for a quarter mile or so to a small clump of pine trees. On the right side an old rusty is hidden which says, "Heaton Flat Trail." Follow this trail up the slope to the ridge top along which the trail rides over several bumps to a prominent saddle at 4582'. Here the trail more or less ends at an old orange, rusty metal triangle on a pole. Old trails head down into Coldwater Canyon on the right and around the slope to Allison Mine on the left. Do not follow these trails, rather just follow an old scrambling trail straight up the ridge to the North. Continue up this incredibly steep and open ridge above the chaparral line at about 6500' where the going becomes much easier. Continue on to the 8007' summit where the weary hike will be rewarded with sweeping views of the San Gabriel River country, the most wild terrain in the LA area. Note the ridge leading east to Mt. Baldy. Climbers have reached Big Iron via this route as well (see "Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy"). Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep!

Safety Notes:

This is a very strenuous hike with a 6000' foot gain in over 16 miles. It is not recommended May-September. Bring lots of water and food - at least one gallon of water/person. The East Fork Ranger Station at the parking lot is the nearest ranger station.

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Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy

Highlights:

Iron Mountain is the most remote peak in the San Gabriels and is a challenging backpacking trip. Of the two acceptable ways to climb Iron Mountain, this is the longer yet much more enjoyable one.

Relevant Guidebook/Maps:

USGS Topo - Mount San Antonio

Directions:

Same as "Mt. Baldy via the Ski Hut."

Description:

After the "warm up" climb up Mt. Baldy, the route follows the San Antonio Ridge through some of the most desolate country in the LA area. The final pitch to the summit of Iron Mountain is class 3 and fits well as the ending of a grueling full day climb. Follow any of the three routes to the summit of Mt. Baldy (Ski Hut, Bear Flat, or Devil's Backbone). From there, traverse to the western summit and continue walking along the ridge due west (a topo would be helpful here). Way down below, along the San Antonio Ridge, one can see the isolated massif of Iron Mountain. It looks like an impossible task for one day, but continue on. Be careful to stay right on top of the ridge line, because the bushes can get quite fierce off on the side slopes. After dropping down over two thousand feet, you will come to a saddle which seems to be the start of the long ridgeline over to Iron Mountain. From this saddle climb up over peak 7903 and across to peak 7758, which has an old orange tire on top. From there you drop down to the final saddle and begin the rocky and exhilarating climb to the summit. Be careful, for some of the pitches can be difficult with a full pack on. After a good ten or eleven hours of hiking, you will come out on the barren flat summit, which serves as a fine spot for camping. The view is wonderful. Enjoy it!

Safety Notes:

This hike should be done during the snow free months of the year, because when OTL leader Peter Leth did this in April, the snow along the upper reaches of the ridge proved to be "a real pain in the ass at times." There is a shallow bowl near the saddle between peaks 7903 and 7758 which serves as a nice wind sheltered spot for camping. Be prepared for two very long days, especially if you want to make it all of the way. 7am till 7pm should usually do it. (For those interested, some seriously insane day hikers have been known to do this hike in one day during the summer months.) Bring lots of water and check the weather. This hike is for the experienced hiker in good physical shape.

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Mt. Baldy via Bear Flats

Highlights:

A lesser known but strenuous ascent of Mt. San Antonio with spectacular views. 14 miles round trip, 5500' elevation gain.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Trails of the Angeles, USGS Topo Map

Directions:

Drive to Baldy Village (see general map) - Turn left on Bear Canyon Rd. (across from Mt. Baldy Lodge). Drive to the hiking parking and start hiking up the one lane road. A 15-20 minute drive.

Description:

Hike for a few minutes on the one lane road and take the path across the stream past cabins to Bear Flat (a small overgrown weed patch 2 miles from the car). From here the trail becomes exceptionally steep and open. As the trail gets higher it leaves the chaparral and enters a sparsely forested ridgetop where sweeping views of San Antonio Canyon and the Sheep Mtn. Wilderness open up. After traversing a narrow, barren saddle at 9200', the trail enters a true alpine environment full of boulders and weathered lodgepole pine. Soon you reach the summit, usually after 4-7 hours of climbing. Distant peaks include San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, Mt. Pinos, and (on clear days) the Southern Sierra. The hike to Bear Flat itself makes a great half day hike with its beautiful canyon and short drive.

Safety Notes:

It can be hot in summer and snowy in winter - recommended in fall and spring. Carry 3 quarts water per person. The temperature can drop substantially as you climb. Mt. Baldy Village has a USGS Ranger station.

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Mt. Baldy via Devil's Backbone

Highlights:

One of the three ways to the top of Mt. Baldy.

Relevant Maps:

Mt. Baldy topo map.

Directions:

Drive all of the way to the Mt. Baldy Ski Area at the end of the Mt. Baldy road.

Description:

This is the most popular way to climb Baldy. If you have money to burn, you can take the ski lift up to the Notch. If you don't, go back to the trailhead for the Ski Hut and walk three miles up the dirt road to the Notch. From the Notch walk up to the Northern summit of the ski area. From the top of the last lift, follow the ridge in the general direction of Mt. Baldy. Soon it becomes very narrow and the drop down to the right can resemble a great rib cage, hence the name of the route. Back in the old days (the '30s) there used to be a cable attached to several poles along this section so that weary hikers would have something to hold on to. Don't worry though, it's not really that bad. After the backbone, the trail crosses timberline and enters the sparse, often windy area of Mt. Harwood (named after the first female president of the Sierra Club. Yes, the same person for which a certain dormitory is named too). From here you can look down into the Baldy Bowl, which in the winter turns into one giant ski run. After crossing a saddle at 9300 feet, the trail heads straight up the ridge to the summit. A typical hiker should do the round trip from the Notch in about six hours. Add a couple of hours if you're not taking the lift up.

Safety Notes:

Bring water and check the weather. Snow covers Baldy most of the winter.

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Mt. Baldy via Sierra Club Cabin

Highlights:

One of the 3 main routes up Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio).

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Trails of the Angeles, Mt. San Antonio topo map.

Directions:

Go up Mt. Baldy Road past the town of Mt. Baldy. Follow the road up the steep switch backs. About a mile before the ski resort the road branches into several lanes with a median of trees. Look for a left turn that has a big yellow/white gate. Park outside the gate. It is a 20-30 minute drive.

Description:

Hike up the road beyond the gate to San Antonio Falls. Continue up the switchback. When the road begins to bend towards the ski resort look for a trail that goes up the embankment to your left. It is hard to see, so look carefully for a small path heading steeply up the embankment. If you hike for fifteen minutes past the road's switchback you've gone too far and missed the trail. After a hundred yards up the small trail you should pass a sign-in post which tells you that your on the trail. Hike up the trail to the Sierra Club cabin (1.5 - 2 hours) and then follow the trail to the summit of Baldy. In non-snow conditions it takes 3-5 hours to get to the top. With snow allow 6-7 hours and make sure you stay high when blazing the trail through powder. The hike back is much faster - 2-3 hours.

The Sierra Club cabin has been a common OTL spot for non-official trips. You must get the key from a Sierra Club Ski Mountaineer or be invited by someone (a good way to be invited is to go on the maintenance weekend). The cabin has many rustic bunk beds, a common room with a wood stove, and a great kitchen with a spring running through the sink! The cabin is a great spot for trip-leader training weekends. Near the cabin is a classic OTL camping spot. It is at the bottom of the bowl near the rock garden. Go past the cabin and traverse across the bowl. Head up past the rock garden and then past a small drainage to the base of the ridge. This is a steep slope with large trees. There is a great flat spot here protected from avalanches. The giant bowl above the cabin is a giant ski run in the winter.

Safety Notes:

There is snow much of the year, usually December - April. The trail can be difficult to find in snow. Stay high. The only water is the spring near the cabin. Stay clear of open, snow-covered slopes after storms. Don't hike on them at all unless you know how to check for avalanche danger. Be cautious crossing the gullies on the way to the cabin as they slide often after storms. Skiing should be avoided for a few days after storms. There is a ranger station below the town of Mt. Baldy.

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Mt. Ontario and Bighorn Peaks

Highlights:

These two peaks offer not only an awesome view down into Claremont and the surrounding Pomona Valley (much nicer than Sunset Peak) but also have neat close up views of the south faces of Mt. Baldy. Kelly's Camp is one of the best places to camp in the Mt. Baldy area.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Trails of the Angeles; USGS topo "Cucamonga Peak"

Directions:

Follow directions to Ice House Canyon.

Description:

Follow the description for the Icehouse Canyon hike to Icehouse saddle. From the saddle, take the far right hand trail which backtracks along the ridge to the southwest. Be careful not to go northwest, which leads to Cucamonga Peak. A half-mile of fairly level forested walking takes you to Kelly's Camp. A mining prospect and trail camp at the turn of the century, Kelly's Camp is now a peaceful place to sack out under the stars. From camp the trail gains elevation and enters a burned out lodgepole pine forest. While not so good for the trees, the fire did manage to provide the hiker with awesome vistas out into the Mt. Baldy area. The trail soon gains the ridge (where a 1/2 mile spur trail leads east to Bighorn Peak), hops over and around several downed logs, and traverses to the summit of Ontario Peak (8693'). Try sitting on the topmost rock... if there is a slight breeze it'll feel like you're about to take off on a roller coaster ride. Ontario Peak is two and a half miles from Icehouse Saddle and six and a half miles from the trailhead.

Safety Notes:

You'll need a wilderness permit, even for dayhikes. Get these at the ranger station in Mt. Baldy Village.

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San Gorgonio

Highlights:

San Gorgonio (Old Greyback) is the highest mountain in California (11,499') south of Olancha Peak in the Sierras. It has awesome views of the entire landscape including Big Bear, the Mojave, Joshua Tree, the Coachella Valley, LA Basin, and Baldy. The South Fork Trail replaces the old Poopout Ridge trail and road which were closed in the mid 80's because of overuse. It adds two miles each way to the route, but it is still worth it.

Relevant Guidebooks:

San Bernardino Mountain Trails.

Directions:

From Redlands (east of Pomona on the 10), take Highway 38 into the mountains. After about 25 miles (before Big Bear) there is a turnoff on the right hand side which says "South Fork Trail". This will be not long after an old road to Poopout Hill which is also on the right hand side of the road. Park at the South Fork lot.

Description:

This is the scenic route up San Gorgonio - 16 miles round-trip, 4500' gain. Follow the trail up through meadows and old cabins across the old Poopout Trail to a junction about 2.5 miles in. To the left is Dry Lake (a big meadow with many mosquitoes). Go right and continue up a relentless slope to a pass at 10,000 feet, 5 miles from the start. To the right is the San Bernardino Ridge, which has four peaks above ten thousand feet in four miles. Go left and traverse around Charleston Peak and Mt. Jepson to a junction at 11,000 feet, above timberline. The trail to the right is the "quick" way up the mountain from the valley far below. Continue on to the summit and enjoy the view. There are many ways to go down. Either return the way you came, or continue down the new Mineshaft Pass Trail on the east side of the mountain. This will take you past an old plane wreck on your way back to Dry Lake. If you're crazy, you can hike this sucker in a day, sleeping at your car. Or, if you have more time, try spending the night on the summit of one of the peaks (Peter Leth recommends Charleston) or at the 10,000' saddle. The only water in the area comes in the form of leftover snow pack and the streams down below, so you have to pack it in sometimes. See John Robinson's San Bernardino Mountain Trails book for more detail.

Safety Notes:

San Gorgonio has snow much of the year and weather is always a factor. Summer ascents require extra water and winter may require snow gear. Be prepared for changing conditions as you gain altitude.

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Sunset Peak

Highlights:

A nearby short hike to a good sunset vista.

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Mt. San Antonio Topo Map

Directions:

From campus take Mills (turns into Baldy Rd.) north up to Baldy Village. Turn left on Glendora Ridge Road. Park at the scenic point parking on the right and head across the street to the trailhead.

Description:

The trail is actually a fire road, so you will sometimes see vehicles going to the radio towers that are nearby. The view along the trail is great; there are mountain ranges across the canyon. At one pint there is a big clear space with three possible directions. Take the sharp left turn up the steeper trail. To save time, near the top you can take the east ridge directly to the top, avoiding some of the switchbacks. This hike and the scenic point are also beautiful at night. For once the valley looks good with all the lights. It's a great place to watch meteor showers.

Safety Notes:

If you are planning this hike to view the sunset bring flashlights for the return hike. Baldy Village has pay phones and a range station.

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Tahquitz Peak

Highlights:

Tahquitz Peak, not to be confused with Lily Rock (climbers refer to Lily Rock as Tahquitz), is one of the great summits in the San Jacinto Mts. The summit has awesome views of the Desert Divide, the Salton Sea, the San Jacinto Mts., and the San Bernardinos. The trail also passes through one of the finest Chinquapin stands in Southern California.

Relevant Guidebooks:

San Bernardino Mountain Trails.

Directions:

Take I-10 East to Banning. In Banning take 243 South to Idyllwild. In Idyllwild turn left on Fern Valley Rd. Park at Humbert Park (the end of the road). The drive is about 1.5 hours.

Description:

The trail to Tahquitz Peak is 4 miles each way with a 2000' gain to the 8841' summit. Start up the Devil's Slide Trail from Humbert Park. Because of the trail's many switchbacks it is not very steep. The first two miles climb through a broad forested valley with nice views of Suicide Rock across the valley. Once up on the ridge, take the rightmost fork. Other trails at the junction lead to Mt. San Jacinto, Long Valley (tram to Palm Springs), Round Valley (campground), and other meadows. Many options for backpacking or longer day hikes exist from this junction. From the junction, the trail climbs a gentle ridge, through a large chinquapin stand, traverses the rocky slope above Lily Rock and emerges on the rocky summit, which is the home of a weather-beaten summer fire lookout. See San Bernardino Mountain Trails for descriptions of the many other trails in the area. For information about car camping around Idyllwild see "Suicide Rock" in the climbing section.

Safety Notes:

Bring a windbreaker -- the Desert Divide is one of the windier places in SoCal. Weather is unpredictable. Snow covers the area much of the winter, and conditions can change rapidly. NEVER roll rocks off Tahquitz - climbers are beneath you!

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Guide Home
Introduction
Notes About the Guide
Credits

Destinations
Introduction
Anza Borrego Desert
Chocolate Mountains/Colorado River
Death Valley
East Side Sierras
Joshua Tree National Park
Mountain Home State Park
Mt. Whitney
Sequoia & Kings Canyon
Sespe Wilderness/Hot Springs
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park

Hiking
Introduction
Bear Creek
Cajon Pass
Cucamonga Canyon
Deep Creek Hot Springs
Grass Mountain
Ice House Canyon
Iron Mountain via Hwy. 39
Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy
Mt. Baldy via Bear Flats
Mt. Baldy via Devil's Backbone
Mt. Baldy via Sierra Club Cabin
Ontario & Bighorn Peaks
San Gorgonio
Sunset Peak
Tahquitz Peak

Backpacking
Introduction
Bridge to Nowhere
Devil's Punchbowl Loop
Icehouse Canyon
Fishbowls Swimming Holes
Mt. Lowe Front Country Loop
Mt.San Gorgonio Dry Lake and Dollar Lake Loop
Bridge to Nowhere

Climbing
Introduction
Apple Valley
Big Rock
Corona Del Mar
Devil's Punchbowl
Joshua Tree
Point Dume
Red Rocks
Stoney Point
Suicide Rock
Tahquitz Climbing
The Falls
Williamson

Skiing
Introduction
Mount Baldy
Mountain High
Big Bear / Snow Summit
Snow Valley
Mammoth
June Mountain
Tahoe

Biking
Introduction
Cleveland National Forest
Sunset Peak
San Gabriel Foothills

Maps

Equipment