Willow Creek and Tahquitz trails 28 March 2018

Our survey hike today took us up Devil’s Slide Trail (accompanied by our friend Michele) then from Saddle Junction on the Willow Creek Trail to its junction with the High Trail, back to the PCT south to Tahquitz Peak, a check of South Ridge Trail, then home. Despite cool temperatures, widespread melting has continued and much snow below 9000′ elevation has gone. I’ll update the San Jacinto Peak and PCT/Deer Springs trails tomorrow.

Willow Creek Trail is now completely clear, the last couple of tiny icy snow patches on either side of Hidden Divide having melted off the trail. Lovely water is flowing at the three creek crossings along the trail.

Pacific Crest Trail south of Saddle Junction is largely clear of snow/ice. There are a few extended patches of icy snow roughly midway between Chinquapin Flat and Saddle Junction (in the area of PCT mile 178.9 to 179.3) but these are easily traversed and do not require microspikes.

South Ridge Trail (from Tahquitz Peak to Chinquapin Flat/PCT). Despite extensive melting, this notoriously treacherous section remains challenging. There are good steps kicked into the sloping snow, but especially in the morning the drifts remain icy. Use of microspikes is still strongly recommended, especially for descending (northbound).

South Ridge Trail (south from Tahquitz Peak) is largely clear. A few icy snow patches remain along the traverse and some of the switchbacks above Old Lookout Flat (7800′), but these are melting fast and microspikes are not required.

Trails through Skunk Cabbage Meadow, Tahquitz Valley, and Little Tahquitz Valley are all largely clear, with just a few small patches of soft, melting snow.

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