I ascended San Jacinto Peak three times in the past two days, surveying the east side, Deer Springs and Fuller Ridge trails en route. Not much new to report, with snow gone but water still flowing well. Other than flow rates slowly declining, the water situation is unchanged from the previous report.
Be bear aware. At least one of the two bears we have had in the San Jacinto mountains since 2017 has been active. One was seen and photographed on Sylvan Way in Pine Cove on 20th June, and one of my neighbors in Idyllwild had one in their yard a few days later. On Saturday 29th June, hikers saw a bear on Devil’s Slide Trail at about 0900.
Hikers should always be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions in the high country in summer. Thunderstorms with lightning and precipitation can occur at or near the high peaks even when such storms are not forecast for lower elevations.
WEATHER The cool conditions that characterized June and early July 2019 will be remembered fondly. Genuine summer temperatures are now forecast for the foreseeable future at all elevations. To date, Wednesday 12th June remains the warmest day of the year in the high country. No precipitation is in the forecast.
At San Jacinto Peak (10,810’/3295m) yesterday 10th July 2019 at 0645, the air temperature was 50.1°F (10°C), with a windchill temperature of 42.4°F (6°C), 33% relative humidity, and a brisk SSE wind at 11 mph gusting to 20.5 mph.
Then by 1320 yesterday again at the Peak, the air temperature was 55.7°F (13°C), with a windchill temperature of 55°F (12°C), 48% relative humidity, and a very light NE breeze at 1 mph gusting to 4.8 mph.
All trails, including the entire Pacific Crest Trail throughout the San Jacinto mountains, are free of snow. This now includes the East Ridge Trail.
The Pacific Crest Trail remains open at the rockslide near Antsell Rock (Mile 172.5). The video report from late May (available here) may be useful for deciding whether to try to hike around the rockslide.
Dark Canyon Road remains closed for the foreseeable future, with no planned reopening date. Dark Canyon campground is therefore also closed, and there is no vehicular access to Seven Pines trailhead (although the road is hikeable of course).
The Boulder Basin and Black Mountain Group campgrounds remain closed until at least late July. They have a revised tentative reopening date of 25th July.
The rehabilitation of Apache Spring Trail has been completed by an ACE (American Conservation Experience) crew. This is great news as this side trail off the PCT had been indistinct since the 2013 Mountain Fire.
Willow Creek Trail had eight of the nine trees down on the State Park section removed on 7th July by the PCTA trail crew. This reduces the total to 11 trees down on the trail between Willow Creek and Hidden Divide. This is a huge improvement from the nearly 30 trees down on this trail about a month ago.
I surveyed Seven Pines Trail in mid June and it had 35 trees down, almost all above 7500′ elevation. This trail has been very lightly traveled since 2018, and is indistinct in places. Hikers without considerable prior experience of this trail should take great care with routefinding.
The Caramba Trail from near Reeds Meadow through Laws Camp to Caramba, and the Cedar Trail from Willow Creek Trail to Laws, are not maintained. New signage to this effect has just been mounted. When USFS reopened these routes in November 2018 they made it clear they would not be maintained for the foreseeable future (and the trails had been closed since the Mountain Fire in July 2013). Both are indistinct in places, and hikers without considerable prior experience of this area should exercise very cautious navigation.