Saturday, October 18, 2008

[Hike] - Mt. San Jacinto Peak (via tramway) - Palm Springs, CA

I finally did the hike, I've been dreaming up for a while now!
At almost 11,000ft (10,834, for the purist), Mt. San Jacinto is the 2nd tallest peak in Southern California (the tallest, San Gorgonio, is only a few hundered feet higher). And I think this deserves a photo of self (first time) as well as a little more writing (trip report, if you will), than usual.

Since this was the first time up, I decided to take the easiest route to get to the peak. The hike statistics were:
Distance: ~11mi (RT, out and back)
Start Elevation: 8500ft
End Elevation : 10,834ft
Gain : ~2300ft

To get to the trail head you have to take the Palm Springs Aerial tramway - a $22 ticket (round trip) and about 15mins later, you will have gone from ~1000ft to ~8,500ft.
Head out of the peak tram station to continue down a cement path to get into the wilderness area. Continue on the path to the right to reach the "WILDERNESS RANGER HUT" (about 0.2mi from the tram station), where you will need to obtain a Day Hiking Wilderness permit (self issued). Fill out the permit, drop the original in the box and carry the copy with you.
Continue on the trail to come up to the next major milestone - "ROUND VALLEY" at approximately 2mi from the trail-head. At this point you will notice some restrooms and trail signs. Turn left here, to continue towards the peak.

The next major milestone is "WELLMAN DIVIDE" at about 3.3mi from the start. The part between Round Valley and Wellman Divide is probably the steepest part of the trail. Wellman Divide is an excellent resting area with great views (the trail signs below, and view is from Wellman Divide).
From Wellman Divide, turn right to continue toward the peak. The trail goes through a ridge and the views to the right looks like this:

This mountain, I believe, is Cornell Peak (9721ft)...


About 0.3mi before the peak, you will come up to a "STONE HUT", which was built in the 1930's, as a shelter.

You can leave a note (like we did) in one of the hiker's diaries, but, only on your way back from the peak (be true to your self now!)

Remember to drop off the copy of your wilderness permit at the Ranger's Hut on the way back, once you (and all your fellow hikers) have made it back safe (it is the way for the rangers to know, they don't have to send in the chopper!)



7 comments:

Nitya said...

Sounds like a wonderful hike:) Too bad I missed it this time. And nice note! With correct grammar (;)) and spelling and neat writing too!

schwerpunktstudios said...

So jealous. So impressed. So ashamed, also, because for twelve weeks of summer camp we told the kids we drove up Cuyamaca that it was the highest peak in SoCal. Is it only the highest in San Diego County? That's what happens when foreigners lead hiking groups!

Love your entries and descriptions and photographs. Hurrah!

Anil said...

@Nitya: Yep, will go back there for sure! (maybe be a little more adventurous and hike from Idyllwild instead)

@Schwerpunkt: I think it is OK to not be ashamed, if it is an honest mistake. My understanding is that Cuyamaca is the second highest in the county (and cowles is the highest within the city). Here are some Cuyamaca pics:
http://anilsoutdoorzy.blogspot.com/2008/02/first-snow-hike-cuyamaca-peak-descanso.html

Pavan said...

Yes The hike from Idyllwild is much better. See if you can camp... at little round valley.

Anil said...

Will do, Sir! Hopefully you will join us the next time up (and not decide to walk it all the way!)

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