Trail update 21st August 2019

Two ascents of San Jacinto Peak in the past three days surveyed most of the major trails and water sources on the east and west sides of the mountain. The Tahquitz area meadows were surveyed last week.

The Cranston Fire closure order expired at the beginning of this month. Although this does not impact the wilderness trail situation, it does mean that the popular dirt roads and mountain bike trails of the May Valley and Bonita Vista roads area are now open.

Highway 243 just north of Pine Cove has apparently been experiencing some hard closures this week as part of ongoing roadwork. This may affect access to Black Mountain Road and Lake Fulmor during normal business hours for the remainder of this week.

The status of water sources is essentially unchanged from the previous update linked here. Road closures are also described at the foot of that posting.

Hikers should always be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions in the high country in summer. Thunderstorms with lightning, precipitation, and rapid temperature drops, can occur in the high country even when such storms are not otherwise forecast at lower elevations.

WEATHER Typical summer weather at present. Today is forecast to be the warmest day of the year at San Jacinto Peak, finally surpassing 13th June. Cooler overnight temperatures last weekend made for delightful early morning hikes/runs. Monsoonal conditions, usually in the afternoons, are forecast as a possibility most days next week, starting Saturday 24th.

At San Jacinto Peak (10,810’/3295m) yesterday, Tuesday 20th August 2019 at 0855, the air temperature was 57.6°F (14°C), with a windchill temperature of 53.2°F (12°C), 19% relative humidity, and a pleasant due West wind at 8 mph gusting to 16.1 mph.

At the Peak on Sunday 18th August 2019 at 0715, the air temperature was 49.7°F (10°C), with a windchill temperature of 41.9°F (6°C), 14% relative humidity, and a cool SW wind at 17 mph gusting to 19.4 mph.

The creek in Little Round Valley, 20th August 2019. This is the first time in seven years this creek has flowed into late summer.


All trails, including the entire Pacific Crest Trail throughout the San Jacinto mountains, have been free of snow since the end of June.

The Pacific Crest Trail remains open at the rockslide near Antsell Rock (Mile 172.5). The video report from late May (available here) can be useful for deciding whether to try to hike around the rockslide.

As reported last month, closures to the Boulder Basin and Black Mountain Group campgrounds (both accessed from Black Mountain Road), and Dark Canyon Road, will remain in place through this year.

With the closure of Dark Canyon Road, Dark Canyon campground is also closed, and there is no access to Seven Pines trailhead.

Willow Creek Trail has had most obstructing trees removed this summer, and there are fewer than five trees down on the trail between Willow Creek and Hidden Divide (2-3 on USFS land and one on State Park). This is a huge improvement from the nearly 30 trees down on this trail in early June. However at least one of the remaining trees can be a little challenging to hike around (or over, depending on one’s abilities).

Seven Pines Trail has at least 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. Temporary signage to this effect has been in place since the end of June. Both trails are indistinct in places, and hikers without considerable prior experience of this area should use cautious navigation.

2 thoughts on “Trail update 21st August 2019

  1. Thank You! Even though I have lived in Idyllwild 20 years, because of a disability I’ve never seen most of these trails. Your posts make feel like I’m participating.


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