Peak on Climbing!

Hike to the Tahquitz Peak Lookout in the San Jacinto Wilderness

It’s a steady climb (2,375 feet elevation gain) and a solid 8.1 miles (round-trip) … and it’s worth every step. Hike to the Tahquitz Peak Lookout via the Devil’s Slide Trail in the San Jacinto Wilderness for amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the Salton Sea. At 8,846 feet, Tahquitz has the highest lookout in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Arrive early to get parking and enjoy cooler temps. From Humber Park in Idyllwild, hit the well-marked Devil's Slide Trail and start the ascent. The first half of the hike is nicely shaded by subalpine forests, with views of the valley peeking through and an exposed granite landscape like that of Yosemite, including an unobstructed view of Tahquitz Rock.

After 2.5 miles, you’ll reach Saddle Junction, with the golden glow of the midsummer sun slipping through pine trees, along with new views of the mountain. Follow the sign for Tahquitz Peak Lookout (you’ll know you’re on the right trail because it’s the only one that keeps going up). The scenery completely opens as you continue hiking, revealing the blue Tahquitz fire lookout at the peak, and the Salton Sea below.

If you're lucky you’ll arrive at the peak on a day when a volunteer ranger is stationed at the lookout and can tell you a bit about its history. The summit has plenty of boulders so take a seat to enjoy the high peak views of the range: Jean Peak, Marion Mountain, and of course Mount San Jacinto. On a clear day you may even see Catalina Island.

*If hiking this trail during summer, bring plenty of water and be mindful of the heat, and heat advisories. From I-10, take exit 100 for CA-243 South. Turn left onto Pine Crest Ave., right onto S. Circle Dr., and left onto Fern Valley Rd. Arrive early to get parking; the trail gets popular later in the morning. An Adventure Pass is required for parking. {August 2020 Covid-19 update: Access to the lookout is currently closed, but you can take photos and speak with a volunteer ranger if one is stationed there when you visit.} Dog-friendly!

Story by Breonna. Follow Breonna on Instagram @mountainsquake

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