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“Snow-Capped Mountain Forest Above the Desert”

Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness
Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Idyllwild
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This 13,000-acre park offers over 50 miles of trails in the mountains soaring above the Sonora desert.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Snow-Capped Mountain Forest Above the Desert”
Reviewed June 3, 2013

This is a mountain park with a beautiful view, awesome pine forests and dramatic cliffs and rock formations. What's not to love?

Visited February 2013
1 Thank MCYC273HP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

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Tucson, AZ
Level Contributor
209 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 243 helpful votes
“Beautiful sights, wonderful hiking”
Reviewed May 27, 2013

We spent a week in Idyllwild and hiked three times in the state/federal wilderness areas. Our first hike was up Devil's Slide trail from Humber Park to Wellman Divide, our second from Marion Mountain trail head to San Jacinto Peak, our third up Deer Springs trail to Suicide Rock. We were amazed at the beauty of the forest and the trails. Somehow we had expected a dry and scrubby landscape with few trees and hard, rocky trails. Instead, every place we hiked was thickly forested and the trails were shaded and cool. With the exception of the area directly below San Jacinto Peak, which was all tumbled boulders, trail surfaces were generally smooth and fairly soft, with only short rocky sections. The trails are not easy, though, because they tend to be steep as they climb the mountain. In addition, elevations start at 5300 feet in Idyllwild and top out at more than 10800 at the peak, which makes breathing a whole lot more difficult. Our Marion Mountain hike was the shortest and steepest route to the peak, also the most difficult and the one we found the most gratifying. We day hiked, didn't backpack, but we were impressed with Little Round Valley Campground, really high (a joke) end real estate just over a trail mile below the peak. There are six backpacker campsites far removed from one another. Each has its own name and a separate signed trail leading to it, each is totally private and totally different from all the others. In late May all the trails were lined with flowering manzanita, lupine, Indian Paintbrush and many other flowers whose names we didn't know. We've hiked in many different mountain ranges throughout the western states and feel that the San Jacinto mountains comprise some of the loveliest mountain real estate we've seen anywhere.

Visited May 2013
4 Thank rcatesby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oceanside, California, United States
Level Contributor
51 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“You can't get bored in the San Jacintos!”
Reviewed May 20, 2013

I've been hiking in this area for just over a year now. I started as a pretty new hiker and have slowly advanced. There are easy, yet beautiful, hikes like Ernie Maxwell trail all the way to the soul draining Cactus to Clouds butt kicker. Devil's Slide, Deer Springs, and South Ridge trails all offer pretty easy ways to get up into some beautiful country where you'll find a huge network of trails. You can't miss going up to the summit of "San J" the 2nd highest peak in Southern California. Or hiking a few miles or more on the famed Pacific Crest Trail. Conditions in the summer are really nice, but it gets crowded and you do need to stop for a hiking pass at the Idyllwild Ranger Station - they are free, but parking at trail heads requires a $5 Adventure Pass. If you like the outdoors, you must do this!

Visited May 2013
2 Thank LHerrmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemet, California, United States
Level Contributor
23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Clean and fun”
Reviewed May 18, 2013

There are a lot of sites to see and activities for the entire family. this is a great natural environment, with lots of hiking trails. the town and house are very unique, this is a beautiful place to visit year round.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank JenniferLempka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
158 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Hike to the snow!”
Reviewed April 20, 2013

It is always nice this time of year to have a hike where you can end up in the snow, but you need to be ready for it with good traction shoes and light but water resistant pants.

Visited March 2013
Thank jeri f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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