Saturday, September 22, 2018

Devil's Slide Trail to Tahquitz Peak San Jacinto Wilderness Idyllwild CA

I drove Connor the hiking Irish Wolfhound up to the picturesque town of Idyllwild, nestled in the woods of San Jacinto Wilderness.  Idyllwild is on the south side of the San Jacinto Mountains (10,834') whereas Palm Springs (480') is on the north side.  About 5-6 miles before reaching Idyllwild, you drive through Mountain Center (4,518'), a wide open, pretty town, dotted with very large pine trees and numerous ranches.  Unfortunately, the 4.5 mile stretch of SR-243 from Mountain Center to Idyllwild show the devastating effects of the Cranston wild fire just a few weeks ago. 

We started our hike at Humber Park (6,400') which has a large paved parking lot and pit toilets.  You are required to post your National Park & Federal Recreation Adventure Pass in the windshield since the hike is within a national forest.  You are also required to pick up a free wilderness hiking permit at the Forest Service Kiosk, corner of Pine Crest and SR-243 in Idyllwild.  Hikes in this wilderness are more akin to the hikes in the Sierras because of the high elevation, granite peaks and heavy old growth timber.

We followed the Devil's Slide Trail towards Tahquitz Peak (8,846') fire lookout.  The South Ridge Trail also leads to the fire lookout, however, that route was closed due to fire damage.  When you begin your hike, you get a nice view of Suicide Rock.  The trail immediately begins stair-stepping over boulders and climbing many switchbacks to ascend 2,400' in 4.5 miles.  When we reached the Saddle Junction (8,160') in 3.5 miles, I decided not to subject Connor to any additional climbing.  So we explored this flat area with numerous trail heads including the PCT and trails to Long Valley and Mount San Jacinto Peak which can also be reached from the Palm Springs tram.  After a short relaxing water break, Connor and I headed back down the mountain cutting off another mile or so climb to the top, which I have visited several times before.  We still got some good cardio exercise in this shorter 7 mile hike.  To see the entire hike to the top of the fire lookout, refer to the 11-2-17 post.
San Jacinto Mountains From Town of Mountain Center Near Idyllwild
Beginning Devil's Slide Trail Idyllwild
Beginning Devil's Slide Trail to Tahquitz Idyllwild
Tahquitz Rock Peak Idyllwild

Ascending Devil's Slide Trail to Tahquitz Idyllwild
Stair-step Ascent Devil's Slide Trail to Tahquitz Idyllwild
Connor Ascends Devil's Slide Trail to Tahquitz Idyllwild

Saddle Junction Devil's Slide Trail San Jacinto Idyllwild
Old Growth Trees Saddle Junction San Jacinto Idyllwild

Mount San Jacinto Idyllwild

Mount San Jacinto Idyllwild
San Jacinto Mountains Idyllwild

Suicide Rock Idyllwild

San Jacinto Wilderness Idyllwild

Suicide Rock Idyllwild

Tahquitz Rock Peak Idyllwild

Saturday, September 8, 2018

San Diego International Sand Sculpture Competition

Sometimes it is nice to take a break from hiking and enjoy a downtown walk along the San Diego waterfront to see the International Sand Sculpture competition on the Broadway Pier near the San Diego Gas Lamp District.  It's hard to believe that these monuments are bull dozed down after only 3 days...

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mount Laguna San Diego Redtail-Roost & Los Huecos Trails

I began this hike at the Laguna Mountain Visitor Center next to the Laguna Mountain Store (5,900') built in the early 1920s.  The Visitor Center has parking, drinking fountains and flush toilets.  You can also do this 7 mile loop trail from the Redtail Roost TH but the trail is much more secluded starting from the VC.  The hike begins from the Visitor Center heading North on Los Huecos Road which is a wide, fine gravel road edged with pines, cedars and oaks.  Proceed approximately 1/4 mile and go left (south) when you come to several large split logs which serve as a vehicle barrier.  The trail is not well marked here but is very short heading up to an old dirt jeep road that services several cabins in the Burnt Rancheria subdivision.  When you come to the T-intersection, go right (west) on Escondido Ravine Rd, a narrow dirt jeep road.  When you get to the locked steel gate across the road (one mile from the Visitor Center), turn left (south) going uphill on trail 4, Redtail Roost.  At the top of this spur, you arrive at the TH for Redtail Roost, 2 miles from the Visitor Center.  There are mainly oaks and less pines and cedars in this area.  Just continue around the loop trail, going back down the mountain in a northerly direction.  4.24 miles from the VC you again come to a cross-roads.  Go to the right heading northeast on Escondido Rd.  When the road bends sharply south, back up cross the road and continue heading northwest until you come to the Big Laguna Trail.  Go right on the Big Laguna Trail (north).  When you come to Los Huecos Road again, turn right and head south back to your starting point.  Connor the hiking Irish Wolfhound and I basically had this trail to ourselves with the exception of one equestrian.   The trail shows signs of a long drought period with dead or dying trees.               
                            REDTAIL-LOS HUECOS TRAIL MAP LINK
Laguna Mountain Visitor Center
Turn Left here through Burnt Rancheria cabins

Brush Fire burned tree Mount Laguna

Mount Laguna Daisies

Mount Laguna Equestrain