Mt. San Jacinto via Marion Mountain Trail, 12 miles RT/4800 ft elevation gain

This is a moderate pace hike, please sign up only if you can keep up with the group.

The Hike:
Distance: 12 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 4800 ft

Hike Time: 7-9 hours

Difficulty: Strenuous

Trail Condition: OK, but a few difficult spots

Hike Type: Out and Back

Directionsto the Trailhead:

Drive north on the 243 from Idyllwild a few miles to the San Jacinto State Park Entrance. Turn right (on Azalea Trail Rd) and follow the signs for Marion Mountain Campground & Trailhead.
or
Drive south on the 243 from Banning 19 miles to the turnout for San Jacinto State Park. Turn left
(on Azalea Trail Rd) and follow the signs for Marion Mountain Campground & Trailhead.

The Hike:

Marion Mountain Trail is the shortest, the steepest and, in the opinion of some hikers, the most scenic ascent of San Jacinto Peak. It gains 2,400 feet in just 2.5 miles. The rest of the climb to the peak via Pacific Crest and Deer Springs trails is nearly as steep.

Signed Marion Mountain Trail begins what is briefly (0.2 mile) a mellow ascent through the piney woods. You'll soon pass a spur trail leading north down to Marion Mountain Campground and begin the vigorous ascent of the northwest flank of Marion Mountain.

A bit more than 1.25 miles up the trail, a sign informs hikers they've entered the Mt. San Jacinto State Park Wilderness. Like a window on the world you left behind, the trailside view briefly opens up to reveal Highway 243 snaking through the mountains far below and the murky flatlands of the Inland Empire to the north.

Almost immediately, it's back to the trees, interspersed with ferns and big boulders. That hammering you hear could be from a high altitude headache but is more likely the rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker working away high atop one of the many snags near the trail.

After what may seem like one of the longest 2.7-mile stretches of trail in the Southland, you'll come to a junction. It's not quite the perfect four-way intersection pictured on trail maps, but it's well signed. You'll first encounter Pacific Crest Trail (Deer Springs Trail) coming in from the right (south). Turn left and walk 50 feet to a second junction. Seven Pines Trail descends to the north, but you continue your climb east on the signed PCT.

After a 0.3-mile ascent on the very well engineered and maintained PCT, you'll pass gurgling Deer Springs. The modest springs-spawned creek forms part of the headwaters of the North Fork of the San Jacinto River.

The ascent continues another 0.25 mile up the other side of the creek canyon and junctions Fuller Ridge Trail. Keep right, and keep switchbacking for another mile to Little Round Valley, where a small trail camp is located.

The trail curves east, still climbing, still switchbacking for another 1.3 miles and 800-foot elevation gain to San Jacinto Peak's summit ridge. A final 0.3-mile ascent via the summit trail leads past a stone mountaineers hut to the peak.

Enjoy the view John Muir described as "the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!"

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  • Tim

    First time on this trail to San Jacinto. Now one of my favorites!

    June 24, 2013

  • Ismael

    Thanks for organizing and leading the hike Rashid and Michael. It was another fun day on the trail to San Jacinto.

    June 23, 2013

  • Michael M.

    Another beautiful day on the mountain, with an amazing bunch! Thanks Rashid!

    June 22, 2013

  • Marilyn T.

    Excellent hike with a great group of hikers. Thanks Rashid.

    June 22, 2013

  • Ken J.

    Just as good as last year, thanks Rashid and Michael for a great day on San Jacinto!

    1 · June 22, 2013

  • rashid

    Thanks Michael for helping to host the hike. Thank to all 19 of you for making this a beautiful day. All of you were a good sport including Margret who made it 2/3rd of the way to the summit.

    2 · June 22, 2013

  • Jennifer

    Another beautiful hike with Rashid and Michael. Thank you !!!

    1 · June 22, 2013

  • Greg I

    Thanks for organizing this Rashid. Great hike. Yes, Margaret was a trooper....never threw in the towel. The kids got heart!!!

    1 · June 22, 2013

  • Brian M

    Thanks Rashid for Organizing! First time doing the Marion Trail. My favorite type of trek: Green, Scenic, Short mileage with tons of elevation gain and great people to share the trail. Great to see you all! Best of luck to both Tim and Izabella on their separate Whitney Trail day hikes July 1.

    June 22, 2013

    • Izabela

      Thanks much Brian!

      June 22, 2013

  • Izabela

    Loved the trail! Definitely worth coming all the way from LA :) Such a fun group of hikers. Thank you Rashid for organizing this!

    1 · June 22, 2013

  • VINCENT V.

    Wonderful hike great workout, Seeing old and meeting new friends

    June 22, 2013

  • shurovi

    Well, THAT was slightly marvelous. Thank you, RK. Beautiful trail and good times with an awesome bunch of hikers!

    1 · June 22, 2013

  • Margaret

    Very challenging for me but fun hike :) Couldn't keep up with the group but made it to the Little Round Valley, 2 miles from the peak, when i ran into some of the group and Greg hiked down with me :) had fun!

    1 · June 22, 2013

  • Neil

    Never mind...early :)

    June 22, 2013

  • Neil

    Maybe 10 min late (640)

    June 22, 2013

  • Neil

    On way there!

    June 22, 2013

  • John O.

    Sorry, something came up

    June 21, 2013

  • Rose

    Hurt my ankel at the beach. Have to cancel. Sorry Rashid. I catch you next time.

    June 21, 2013

  • Sarah W.

    Hi Rashid! I am sick and unable to make the hike. I was really thinking I would be better by now, but this thing just keeps hanging on. On the plus side, everyone on the hike will have more chocolate without me there to eat it all : ) Happy hiking.

    June 20, 2013

    • rashid

      Take care Sarah, mountain is not going anywhere yet.

      June 21, 2013

  • Greg I

    Rashid,
    For planning purposes, are you stepping off the trail at 6:30am or do you just want everyone there by 6:30?

    June 18, 2013

    • rashid

      Interesting question Greg! We aim to start on time, but if Michael have to retie his shoes, Jennifer had to run to her car to fetch her mini mouse and Elizabeth need to retouch her make up, we may use an extra 10 minutes.

      4 · June 18, 2013

    • Elizabeth T

      Lol. Good to know I have a 10 min cushion for future hikes! Side note, really sorry to have to miss this great hike with you, Mad Hatter, & the gang. Unfortunately have some work/school deadlines to meet. Hope everyone has a great time though!

      1 · June 21, 2013

  • rashid

    National Weather Service Forecast for Mt. San Jacinto area:

    Friday Sunny, with a high near 65. West wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
    Friday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 54. West wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

    Saturday Sunny, with a high near 64. West wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
    Saturday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 54.

    A windbreaker may come in handy at the Summit. See you bright & early Saturday morning.

    1 · June 20, 2013

  • VINCENT V.

    I love this area Just hiked this peak last weekend via Humble Park Devil Slide trail head. Trees are green and beautiful. Hope I get on to hike this area again.

    1 · June 20, 2013

  • Gina G

    Have to work! Wish I could go!

    June 20, 2013

  • Sasha

    Thanks, Rashid. Will try for next time.

    June 19, 2013

  • cathy Z.

    Sorry, I'll be out of town. Next time!

    June 19, 2013

  • Brooke

    Sorry Rashid. Got a bit burned out from hiking and need some break time.

    June 16, 2013

    • rashid

      :-(

      June 18, 2013

    • Brooke

      :( too. Hopefully we can hike with you again soon.

      June 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I might need to carpool. I can meet anyone at Santa Anita REI . Will pay for gas...thanks in advance.

    May 22, 2013

    • Ismael

      I think Audrey dropped out Izabela. Meet me at REI Arcadia at 4:45 for carpool. I have room for two more if anyone is interested.

      June 18, 2013

    • Izabela

      Sounds good. I'll be there at 4:45.

      June 18, 2013

  • Greg I

    Thanks. That will be a valuable 10 minutes. OK, I'll be leaving at zero dark thirty.

    June 18, 2013

  • John O.

    I'll be leaving from Hemet, through Lambs Canyon and then east onto the 10 to palm springs if anyone wants to carpool.

    June 18, 2013

  • Greg I

    I'm leaving from Corona so I can pick up in Riverside. Text or email at [masked][masked] if anyone needs a ride.

    June 17, 2013

    • Margaret

      Hi Greg... I just sent you an email. I live in Riverside and would like to carpool to the hike.

      June 18, 2013

  • becky

    Need to cancel, hope who ever gets to go in my place will have a great hike!

    June 18, 2013

  • Liz A

    Hi Rashid, I'm sorry, but still out of the country! Another good hike that I'm going to miss! :-(

    June 11, 2013

  • Marilyn T.

    Rose I see that your email account here is unavailable. Please email me and we can make arrangements. [masked],[masked]

    June 18, 2013

  • Marilyn T.

    Rose, that would be fine. I will send you an email.

    June 18, 2013

  • Rose

    Marilyn, I'd like to carpool from OC. Maybe we can meet at OC P&R?

    June 17, 2013

  • Marilyn T.

    Anyone intrested in carpooling from O.C?

    June 17, 2013

  • Margaret

    Would anyone like to carpool near Riverside? If need be I can drive my car and those coming with can chip in for gas or vise versa :)

    June 17, 2013

  • Cee-Mobile Spa Dreams E.

    Thanks Rashid, but I'll be hiking San G on this day. I hope I get to do this next time you post it. Have a great hike!:)

    June 16, 2013

  • Joel

    Sorry Rashid. Can't do this one.

    June 16, 2013

  • Catherine R

    Going to do an overnight hike instead

    June 16, 2013

  • becky

    Hi Rashid, you posted that the trial is "OK with a few difficult spots" what do you mean by that?

    June 13, 2013

    • rashid

      The trail is rocky at points that one may have to stretch the limbs to climb up/down. In addition, the final 300 yards or so to the peak are boulders that may require both hands & feet to negotiate through.

      June 14, 2013

  • Catherine R

    Anyone want to carpool from the Long Beach area?

    June 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Maybe for now

    June 9, 2013

  • George

    I am so bummed that I have to cancel, graduation event, oh well next time maybe Rashid

    June 4, 2013

  • Mara

    Hi all. I'm trying to get last minute training to Whitney so I would really appreciate the chance to join this hike.

    June 2, 2013

  • Gil

    have to cancel, have fun everyone

    June 1, 2013

  • Claudia

    My favorite hike, and I will miss it :( hopefully you'll post it again.

    May 6, 2013

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