Mount San Jacinto Peak
Mount San Jacinto Peak Climbing Notes
Please submit any useful information about climbing Mount San Jacinto Peak that may be useful to other climbers. Consider things such as access and accommodation at the base of Mount San Jacinto Peak, as well as the logistics of climbing to the summit.
February 23, 2019
Brian Groh from United States
You don't have to summit to enjoy this mountain. And you're in prime conditions to suffer from altitude sickness if you go straight for the top. Have a back-up trail to enjoy.
If you have the luxury of picking your days- pay attention to the weather and wind conditions and stay away from weekends during ANY part of the year. Starting your day waiting in line at the tram with frustrated/anxious people is a real downer.
Regardless, the Tram access does limit how crowded this place can get at the top. Even on a jam packed day, it's just a short walk away from the crowds. Especially if you hit the woodsy areas of Long Valley and less popular trails. The majority of people using the tram are doing the short loop or heading for the peak. The other trails are mostly empty.
Snowshoeing is absolutely breathtaking up here. Trail can be extremely difficult to find in the snow if you're breaking trail. I highly recommend a paper map and mapping apps with redundancy. Micro-spikes are a better option if the trail has been beat down. Half the time I go up planning to snow-shoe, I wind up staying in Micro-Spikes.
The emergency shelter at the top is freezing cold and breezy to say the least with all of the spaces between the rocks. You would be better off in a tent in most cases. Extreme wind convinced me to shelter there one January evening and the wind blew snow into the shelter all evening. Final Note: I wouldn't even consider using the shelter on a summer evening - full of people with the same brilliant idea. Only worth attempting if you believe you're the only one on the mountain.
Consider trekking from Idylwilde. The trails are beautiful and the slower pace is a great barrier to altitude sickness. I DO believe you need some sort of trail permit. Do your research ahead of time.
May 14, 2018
Alexander from United States
If you do not like the cold, NEVER climb Mount San Jacinto in winter, spring, or fall. On Mother's Day this year, my family thought we could climb to the summit from Idyllwild, but I checked the weather there, and the temperature was below 0°C so we were not able to climb the mountain.
Also, we went up the tram from Palm Springs a few years back and had a snowball fight. It was until we could not stand the cold (about 10 minutes later) and went back to our home in the desert. (Right before we went up the tram, it started pouring rain.)
Later, we went again. It was not snowy, but cold enough to wear a jacket. (It will be snowing the week after.) There was no snow, so we went on a hike but I became so tired and a little altitude sick so we went back home.
Overall, I love it at Mount San Jacinto, but the climate can become so unpredictable sometimes.
February 07, 2018
Jesse from United States
A friend and I did a 2-day trip to the summit via the Marian Mountain trailhead in Idyllwild on Jan 28-29, 2018.
Snow started and persisted from about mile 1.5 to the summit.
Snow was packed but not too icy. Spikes would have been nice (read: safer) but the temps had been in the mid 30's to mid 40's which kept the icy spots to a minimum. I'd definitely recommend spikes - especially after this mini-heatwave is over.
Plenty of flowing water at the Upper Springs Bed Crossing just over .5 miles from Little Round Valley. I suspect this will freeze again after the temps drop again.
We Camped at Little Round Valley. Probably 3-4 inches of snow at a minimum up there. Try to camp in a place protected by the wind - It gets crazy up there!
Hiked up to the summit in the morning before the tram started running and had it all to ourselves.
The last 100 yards were tough without spikes. Had to take it pretty slow as the snow is super packed and slick up there!
TL;DR: Marian Mountain Trail to Summit 1/28-1/29, 2018 = Decent amount of snow. Spikes recommended as temps drop. Great Hike!
July 04, 2017
Rylee from United States
Did peak trail from tram June 26 and only snow we saw was a tiny patch under a tree. Entire trail including boulder field at peak was clear and dry. There was a small running stream near start of peak trail for water (treat it first).
January 13, 2016
Dallas from United States
We hiked to the summit via the Sid Davis shortcut from the tram on January 11, 2016. The trail was well packed snow most of the way without much ice. I walked up in hiking boots about half of the way, then switched to skis and skins for the rest of the trail. My wife used climbing snow shoes the majority of the way without any trouble. I would estimate 4-5 feet of snow at the top. We skied down the eastern face. Snow coverage was good most of the way down and we were able to ski all of the way back to the ranger cabin.
January 03, 2015
Justin from United States
Just before New Years day we hiked to the summit from the tram. It was icy the whole way up and microspikes would have made the trip a whole lot better. We were in hiking boots and trail running shoes (which are not recommended haha). We started pretty late around 11:30 and got to the peak in about 3.25 hours. The way down was better because it was lightly snowing which gave us better traction but we arrived after sunset so we were in the dark for about an hour. We used offline Google Maps to make sure we were on the trail going up and back since it was our first time. You can still use the GPS when the data is turned off so it saves your battery. It really saved us a lot of worry!
December 16, 2014
Danielle from United States
We hiked to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto on the main trail from the tram on Sunday, December 14. Snow the entire way, so micro spikes were necessary. Spend the $65! On the rebound to the tram, the snow had some what softened, but the trail is not recommended in plain sneakers. Hiking boots (and now because of snow, with spikes) will get you there. The temperature was approximately 25 degrees at the top, sunny and clear. We started our hike at 9:00 am and reached the summit at 12:00 noon. It took us 2.15 to get down. A few people had already hiked the trail since the snow storm, so it was easy to find our way to the top. Approximately 1 foot of snow at the top and 2 inches at the beginning. This is a moderate hike and very doable for people in shape and used to altitude. It has less altitude gain than Whitney, versus distance. Beautiful Vistas!!!
May 07, 2012
Plitzkin from United States
During winter months, microspikes are the recommended carry,
with crampons for the melt-freeze conditions that happens in spring
The Trail from round valley back to the tram will melt-freeze just from the volume of snowshoers and foot traffic at any time in the winter. The trail up to Wellmans divide
often times will resemble a luge run. The Sid Davis short cut suffers the same problem.
There are three established winter routes from the tram. 1.Main trail 2. Sid Davis shortcut. Gene peak traverse
Ramp to the ranger station often icy at any time in the winter.Yes you can walk the main trail to the top without microspikes or crampons but your stride will be like walking on egg shells. It is all relative to your skill level. Being safe keeps it fun.
April 14, 2012
Derick from United States
Crampon conditions are pretty rare on San Jacinto. See mtsanjacinto.info for a source of regularly updated info. on trail conditions.
April 08, 2012
Ben Jacques from United States
Hiked in from tramway to Round Valley on Thursday. Trail was covered in snow/ice. Windy with up to 50 mph winds.
Night time temperatures were 17 degrees with windchill. Take crampons if you plan on attempting this peak.