|San Jacinto Peak in the distance, seen from Palm Springs, Coachella Valley|
This is a moderate to strenuous hike, but it is non-technical enough that families and fitness enthusiasts will love it even if they are not typically avid hikers. In short, I recommend this hike to anyone interested in doing a hike with true payoff.
|Family fitness AND fun near San Jacinto Peak, view of LA Basin|
Trailhead: 8,000 feet above Palm Springs - Take the tram to the Mountain Terminal and make your way down the switchback sidewalk to the Long Valley Ranger Station.
Distance: 11.5 miles, out-and-back
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,600/2,600
Map: Available at the San Jacinto State Wilderness ranger Hut, .3 miles from the Mountain Terminal. You'll need to stop here to get a free wilderness permit. The rangers also sell more detailed guides to the flora and fauna of the mountain wilderness, which makes the hike more educational and fun, especially if you're hiking with kids.
Hiking Time: It took me 7.5 hours round trip, but I'm a gawker and take a slow to moderate pace. I'm told it can be done in about 6 hours. First tram up is 8 a.m. on the weekends and 10 weekdays. Plan to go early.
Best Times to Hike: June to October are the best bet, although May and November may be good, too, depending on seasonal snowfall. Plan to take the first tram up so you will have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous (requires some scrambling up boulders to the summit)
|Beautiful white boulders and lodgepole pines en route to San Jacinto Peak|
|Need help finding SoCal trail heads? Check out these great resources|