San Jacinto Peak via the Palm Springs Aerial Tram
This hike starts at 9:00am FROM THE RANGER STATION!!!
In order to make the start time you should plan on arriving at the lower tram station at least 1 hour prior. The first tram up is at 8:00am and normally folks start lining up for that time slot well before 8:00am.
Remember: You need to fill out a free wilderness day hike permit at the ranger station. I think you can put up to 12 people on a single permit. But to keep it simple you may want to list the folks that you expect to stick with on the hike.
Don’t worry about buying tram tickets on-line, it always looks sold out because only a small number of tickets are reserved for on-line sale. Just get in line and get a ticket when you arrive at the lower tram station.
“The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”
– John Muir
Distance: 10.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet.
Rating: Moderate 7.5/10 (Due to altitude and elevation gain, not trail difficulty)
It’s hard to outdo the beauty of an ascent to the summit of San Jacinto Peak. The granite ridges and domes, forested with sugar pine, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, incense cedar, white fir, lodgepole pine, limber pine, chinquapin, and black oak are spectacular. Hiking within these beautiful subalpine forests, you are treated to an interlaced network of springs and cascading streams feeding lovely fern-bordered mountain meadows. The resemblance of the San Jacinto Mountains to the Sierra Nevada is striking. The spectacular views, and the beauty that abounds, gives the entire range a mini-Sierra feel. A trek through the San Jacinto Mountains is truly a magnificent feast for all of the senses.
Our day will begin by boarding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar, where we’ll experience an awesome journey climbing nearly 6,000’ up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon to reach our destination at Mountain Station at 8,516’. Amenities at Mountain Station include a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, and the state park visitor center. From the tramway, we’ll follow a short trail to reach the Long Valley Ranger Station, where we will sign in and receive our free permits*** for the day.
*** NOTE: You sign in individually or in small groups for your permits – the maximum group size is fifteen hikers.
After a short period of permit gathering and acclimation, we’ll follow the trail for the next couple of miles as it traverses through Round Valley. The trail will then begin a one mile ascent to the Wellman Divide at 9,720’, where we’ll stop to re-group, have a snack, and take in the spectacular view out over the southwest side of the San Jacinto Range.
From the Wellman Divide, the trail heads north toward the peak. The forest along this last leg to the peak begins to open up and begins to provide incredible views back down the range and to the desert below. Near the summit we’ll come to a stone emergency shelter that is at the base of an easy rock scramble to the peak at 10,834’.
The view from San Jacinto Peak is amazing. On a clear day, the entire Los Angeles basin spreads out to the west, Mount San Gorgonio lies to the north, and the Mojave Desert reaches out beyond the eastern horizon. After taking in the awesome view and taking the requisite summit photos, we’ll retrace our steps back to the tramway for our journey back down to the desert below.
Tickets for the Tram
You will need to purchase a Tram ticket for this hike. Cost is $23.95 for Adults. You can purchase at the Tram station or online via their web site. AAA offers a discount but the ticket must be purchased in person at the Tram. For further info visit:
Palm Springs Aerial Tram (http://www.pstramway.com/)
Maps of our Hike
San Jacinto Peak Hike Maps (http://picasaweb.google.com/lsclassicwings/SanJacintoPeak)
Links to other Sites
Local Hikes San Jacinto Peak (http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/SanJacintoPeak_4472.asp)
California State Parks (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25176)
For Safety: Carry plenty of water and drink it. Wear proper footwear, bring snacks, sunscreen, hat and be aware of weather conditions. Walking sticks would be useful on portions of this one. No dogs on this one (Tram policy). Know your limits and if you’re having problems or decide not to finish a hike please let someone know. Be alert for ticks, rattlesnakes, and poison oak. I do have a first aid kit with me.
Take the 10 Fwy through the Banning Pass, to CA -111 S/State Route 111 (exit #112) towards Palm Springs. In 8.6 miles turn right on Tram Way. Go 3.7 miles to the Tram Station. Park your car, gear up and go up and into to the tram station. Look for us inside near the ticket booth. Tickets are sold only for the next available tram, so you won’t want to buy a ticket and return to your car to get your gear.
VHC HIKE RATING SCALE
Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!
1 – A long walk
2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain
3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain
4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)
5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)
6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)
7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)
8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)
9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)
10 – Use your imagination
Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup events, you are releasing the Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.
Trail statistics are approximate. For safety purposes always assume they are underestimated. But don’t be disappointed if they are overestimated. Bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need.
Trail descriptions are based on previous hikes. Current conditions are unknown until arrival. Expect the unexpected and plan accordingly.
The Organizers and members in this group are not professional leaders, guides, or mountaineers. The function of the member or organizer is only to organize the trip. Each person who shows up for a trip/meetup (and their guest or guests) is responsible for his or her own safety. By attending a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you and any guests that you bring are aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with the activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the Organizers, Members of the Hiking With Dean Meetup Group from and against any and all liability arising from your participation in the group activities per the ASSUMPTION OF RISK AND LIABILITY WAIVER.
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