Peak 3 of 6: Mt San Jacinto via Devil’s Slide Trail

Peak Summited2019 Mount San Jacinto
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadDevil's Slide Trailhead
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusBugs were not too bad
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Informationhttps://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/c271942a24887dc9a37c595de19ba69b/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet

This was my third peak in this year's SoCal challenge, and my second time hiking Mount San Jacinto via the Devil's Slide Trail in Idyllwild. It's a 16 mile trek, and according to my GaiaGPS track, we had over 4,500′ of net ascent.

Getting to Idyllwild was part of the adventure. In the morning, Apple Maps took us south of Temecula on Highway 74 towards Anza, then we looped back up to Idyllwild. What is typically a two hour drive from LA turned into three hours. An overturned cement truck on the 91 didn't help, either.

Once we finally got to the trailhead, we made good time heading up. The temperatures were perfect, and there is a lot of morning shade on the Devil's Slide Trail. We passed three other hikers who were on shorter hikes (not to the summit). From Saddle Junction, we followed the Pacific Crest Trail until it split off at the Mt San Jacinto State Park boundary. We continued about another mile to Wellmans Divide. We saw no one else from Saddle Junction until we reached the junction with the Marion Mountain Trail 0.6 miles from the summit.

We had the summit to ourselves, and passed a number of people hiking from the tram as we descended. The sun was strong, but the temperatures were moderate.

Once we reached Saddle Junction again and began the descent on the Devil's Slide Trail, the sun really started to bake. It was genuinely hot.

Brought 3.5 liters of water and drank almost all of it. We passed two springs where refilling is possible (with filtering or purification); one on the Devil's Slide Trail and the other about 0.25 miles before Wellmans Divide.

When we got into Idyllwild, it was 88 degrees, though it felt like 188 in the sun.

On our drive home, Apple Maps and Waze both wanted to take us back the “long” way we came in the morning, so we opted instead to head through Hemet. The road is being repaired, and there were two sections with escorts. The first one we waited 20 minutes in line before passing through, and the second one slightly less. In the end, we saved about 30 minutes of drive time and a whole lot of extra miles.

This trail is my favorite route up Mt San Jacinto, but watch the temperatures in Idyllwild and shoot for an early start. We averaged 2.3 MPH, which works out to about eight hours of hiking. Know your hiking pace and plan accordingly.

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