Peak on Climbing!

Hike to the Tahquitz Peak Lookout in the San Jacinto Wilderness

Hike to Tahquitz Peak Lookout via the Devil's Slide Trail in

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

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.