Peak Summited2021 Mount San Jacinto
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadMarion Mountain Trailhead
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a partner
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were an annoyance
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Informationhttps://youtu.be/z4TLAkRQFjc

Video I took of the entire hike.

Hike up and down Mt. San Jacinto on June 5, 2021 from the Marion Mountain Trailhead. Jacinto is the second highest peak in Southern California at 10,809 feet. The hike isn't that long, about 11.3 miles total roundtrip, but the elevation gain of 4,498 feet at a 15% grade makes it the steepest of the original 6 peaks of Southern California.

It's best to get there early, like usual on the Southern California trails. They have a dirt lot that I wouldn't recommend low profile vehicles using. As there is a nice lip from the asphalt to the dirt. At least one car scrapped the bottom as I was in the lot. There is plenty of off to the side of the road parking.

The bugs are out. In the parking lot, it was mainly those small mosquitos and gnats. About halfway up the mountain it was mainly flies. So it's time to get out the bug spray.

Weather wise, it was supposed to be about 90 in Palm Springs. Overall, in shorts and tshirt, it was comfortable in the morning. It really didn't get warm till almost at the peak in the afternoon. I think being on the Idyllwild side of the mountain really helped the temperature from getting too uncomfortable. But with the summer weather, it's best to start early at sunrise and avoid as much of the heat as possible.

The hike itself was a beautiful hike. Lot's of large pines and a bunch of boulder formations. It's a very steep hike, so pace yourself and take lots of breaks. This trail is pretty well defined, although there are a few forks. First is at around Marion Campground. Just keep going straight past the access roads. The other is when you hit the Pacific Crest Trail. It's tempting, especially with the tree across the trail to go right, which will take you Southbound on the trail. But the peak for Jacinto is to the left on the Northbound side of the trail. The only markers there says north or south on the PCT, with no mention of Mt. San Jacinto Peak. So if you aren't looking at a map and have never been there, it's easy to go the wrong direction.

Water. I was able to do the hike with under 2 liters of water. There are a few small streams along the trail. With the main one, with lots of running water at around the 3.8 mile mark. This one looked very safe to filter, and even drink straight. If you want to go lightweight, you could probably pack 1 liter, and fill up at this point. Then fill back up if needed on the way down.

About 0.3 miles from the peak, the trail meets up with the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway trail. So it will suddenly get real crowded. There is an emergency shelter near the peak that's worth exploring. The last bit to the peak is a boulder hop mountaineering hike. It looked like the easiest way up was to the right. At the peak, you will have sweeping views of the Palm Springs desert. It's a steep drop off to the valley, so it feels like you are on top of the world.


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