Brief snow update 22nd May 2019

[UPDATE 22nd May at 2020: contrary to what was generally forecast, heavy snowfall accumulated rapidly at all elevations above 5000′ in mid-afternoon today. In Idyllwild we had 1.75″ in about two hours, with 3-4″ reported in Pine Cove, and 2-3″ in Long Valley. An additional 4″ fell at Wellman Divide (for a total this week of 10″) and 6″ fell above 10,000′ (for a total of 14″). The snow stopped and the mountain partly cleared at about 1700 this evening, with melting already underway in Idyllwild at dusk. I hope to do a comprehensive update of conditions tomorrow afternoon.][Many thanks to Kyle Eubanks for snow data from the Tram side of San Jacinto Peak.]

We hiked this morning to Tahquitz Peak (8836′) via South Ridge Trail, also checking the trail from Tahquitz through to Chinquapin Flat. For a more detailed review of the trails since the snow storm on 20th May, see the previous report. I recorded the following video at Tahquitz at about 1100 this morning.

After recording that video, there has been more snowfall in the high country, with for example 1-2″ fresh snow at Long Valley (8500′) since 0800 this morning. We hiked through some very light snowfall (graupel) on South Ridge on our descent also. The highest peaks (>10,000′) were above the cloud for most of the morning at least.

Melting has removed most snow below 8000′ (and almost all snow below 7000′). However freeze-thaw cycles have turned remaining snow icy, so microspikes are recommended everywhere above 8000′ at present, and may be useful at lower elevations in some places. This advice will remain valid throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

Tahquitz Peak trail to Chinquapin Flat is readily passable with microspikes for those comfortable with basic snow hiking, as the trail has no significant angled icy patches and only 1-3″ snow on the trail (see photo below).

The steepest section of the Chinquapin Flat to Tahquitz Peak trail this morning, 22nd May 2019.

WEATHER More light precipitation is forecast at all elevations for this afternoon and tonight (at least 2-4″ snow above 8000′), and then again in the middle of the day tomorrow, 23rd May. A warming trend – with steady melting of snow – will slowly take hold commencing Friday 24th.

Above and below, spectacular rime ice patterns on the rocks at Tahquitz Peak ths morning, 22nd May 2019.

Snow storm update 20th May 2019

Today we hiked to San Jacinto Peak ascending on the east side via Devil’s Slide Trail and Wellman Divide, then descending the west side down Deer Springs Trail. This included two short sections of the PCT (roughly Miles 180-182 and 184-186). I broke trail through fresh snowfall almost all of the ascent and then back down to the south end of Fuller Ridge.

Well we got our May snowstorm! Seemingly without fail – even in very dry years – we get at least one snow event in May. Credit to NOAA/National Weather Service, who typically wildly overestimate their snowfall predictions, they got this one almost exactly right, with 9″ of fresh snow at San Jacinto Peak (measured snow depths today are listed below). It looks like we may quickly follow up with a second snow storm on Wednesday 22nd. In Idyllwild at 5550′ we received 1.29″ of rainfall, and <0.25″ of snow, in the past 24 hours.

I was pleased to see that many of the PCT hikers that I had spoken to yesterday at Nomad Ventures in Idyllwild had taken advice to get back on the trail today, taking advantage of a decent weather window. Even on the short sections of the trail I did, I encountered close to 30 thru hikers heading north. One of them, Don Kreitz, accompanied me to the Peak, and was treated to a spectacular (if chilly) morning up there.

I recorded a video at about 1045 this morning at San Jacinto Peak in a strong and frigid NW wind, available on YouTube here.

At present the PCT in the San Jacinto mountains is passable for most hikers without microspikes. Depending on confidence and experience on angled icy snow, some PCT hikers will prefer to use microspikes, especially on Fuller Ridge. However this situation may change rapidly as freeze-thaw cycles, and the possibility of additional snowfall, make the snow increasingly icy and treacherous. IF IN DOUBT, CARRY MCROSPIKES.

Microspikes remain recommended for ascending and descending from San Jacinto Peak, at least. Snow depths were marginal for snowshoeing, but it would be possible above about 9000′ elevation.

WEATHER Rain is possible again tomorrow, Tuesday 21st, especially overnight into Wednesday 22nd. Further rain is likely in the middle of the day Wednesday, including the possibility of light snowfall down to 6000′. Snow is forecast throughout the mountain that day, with several inches likely in the high country. Drier and slightly warmer weather is likely starting Thursday 23rd May.

Hikers must be prepared for temperatures below seasonal averages everywhere, below freezing in the high country, and well below freezing with windchill.

At San Jacinto Peak (10,810ft/3295m) today, 20th May 2019, at 1050 the air temperature was 19°F (-7°C), with a windchill temperature of -2.0°F (-19°C), 88% relative humidity, and an icy NW wind at 14 mph gusting to 25 mph.

At the Peak on 16th May 2019, at 1345 the air temperature was 27°F (-3°C), with a windchill temperature of 8.4°F (-13°C), 100% relative humidity, and a sharp SW wind at 15 mph gusting to 24 mph.

San Gorgonio as seen from San Jacinto Peak this morning, 20th May 2019, with cloud pouring through the pass at about 9000′ elevation.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

All trails above 6000′ were completely snow-covered this morning, but by this afternoon some rapid melting meant that most areas below 7000′ were already clear of snow, trails below 8000′ were melting fast, and there was partial melting of exposed sections of trail below 9000′.

Almost all trails above 7500′, including much of the PCT in the San Jacinto mountains, are currently under continuous light snow cover 2-9″ deep.

Reliable tracks to follow are already in place for the PCT at least from Saddle Junction (approx PCT Mile 179.7) all the way through Fuller Ridge.

Reliable tracks are also in place for Devil’s Slide Trail, the Wellman and Peak trails on the east side, and the entire Deer Springs Trail on the west side. Good friend of the Trail Report Kyle Eubanks also broke reliable trail from Wellman Divide through Round and Long valleys to the Tram this morning.

Marion Mountain and Seven Pines trails have not been hiked since the fresh snowfall.

Pacific Crest Trail Snow cover is likely thin and patchy from about Mile 158 to 163, and then increasingly continuous thereafter, through to about Mile 194.

Deer Springs Trail was rapidly clearing of snow below Strawberry Junction (8100′) this afternoon, although much of the trail was through wet slushy snow, or was a meltwater creek, so waterproof footwear is recommended.

SNOW DEPTHS measured today 20th May are as follows (for those areas that still had snow remaining from the winter, the combined total is indicated in parentheses). Average depth is given, drifts may be significantly deeper than the average in places. Altitudes are approximate.

San Jacinto Peak (10,810′): 9″ (total 17″)

Peak Trail (at and above 10,000′): 8″

Little Round Valley (9800′): 7″ (total 22″)

Wellman Divide (9700′): 6″

Pacific Crest Trail at south end of Fuller Ridge Trail (8950′): 6″

Annie’s Junction (PCT Mile 181.5 at State Park boundary) (9050′): 5″

Long Valley (8500′): 2″

Strawberry Junction (8100′): 3″

Saddle Junction (8070′): 4″

Devil’s Slide Trail at Humber Park (6550′): 1.5″ (at 0600 this morning, now largely melted)

Wellman Divide on 20th May 2019 (above) and on 16th May 2019 for comparison (below).

Junction sign at south end of Fuller Ridge Trail (8940′) on 20th May 2019 (above), and ten days earlier on 10th May 2019 for comparison (below)

Storm update 19th May 2019

I have spent the day hearing stories from PCT hikers in Idyllwild of challenging weather overnight, with probably all hikers bailing off the mountain at some point this morning (some even packing up camp in the early hours to descend).

Wind gusts were especially severe in the night. First hand reports of tents being literally destroyed by very strong winds came from Fobes saddle, between Spitler and Apache peaks, and near Red Tahquitz.

Snowfall totals were all in the range of 1-3″, with 2-3″ at San Jacinto Peak, about 2″ at Strawberry Junction (8100′) and on the north side of Red Tahquitz (8300′), 1-2″ at about 6500′ in upper Pine Cove, 1″ at Long Valley (8500′), and <1″ at Black Mountain (7700′). This depth of snow should not significantly impact route finding on the trail system. In many locations, slightly warmer conditions later in the morning turned the precipitation to rain, and there was no evidence of the snow by later in the day (e.g., at Long Valley).

Rainfall in Idyllwild (at 5550′) in the last 24 hours has been 0.84″, and 0.25″ at Long Valley. By this afternoon the rainfall had become very patchy, and the upper mountain was above the cloud in largely blue sky conditions.

WEATHER Further precipitation is forecast for tonight, mainly at lower to mid-elevations, with less than one inch of snow forecast for San Jacinto Peak, but potentially half-an-inch of rain, or even 1-2″ snow, at the elevation of Idyllwild (5000-6000′). Severe winds are again forecast for Tuesday 21st, and heavier precipitation (perhaps several inches of snow in the high country) for Wednesday 22nd.

There will be a full update on trail, snow, and weather conditions tomorrow afternoon (Monday 20th May).

Storm and trail update 17th May 2019

[UPDATE 19th May 2019, 1150: Rainfall so far today has been 0.68″ in Idyllwild. It snowed barely an inch over 6000′ overnight, with 2″ (5cm) snow at San Jacinto Peak. Much snow has already melted this morning at the elevation of Long Valley (8500′). After some rainfall, it is now sleeting again in the high country. Extreme winds have been reported, especially along the Desert Divide (approx PCT Miles 157-175).]

[WEATHER UPDATE 18th May 2019: A winter weather warning has been issued for the next two days available here. Although these tend to overestimate snowfall in the San Jacinto mountains, some precipitation is likely and it will be very cold. Temperatures well below freezing (10-30 degrees below freezing with windchill) are expected for much of the next six days, 19th-24th May, in the San Jacinto high country.]

Yesterday we hiked to San Jacinto Peak in the rain, hoping for some snow up high. After a few hours around the Peak we descended via Wellman Divide and Devil’s Slide Trail in clearer conditions. The rain started and ended a couple of hours earlier than forecast, between about 0700-1300, and the system was milder than expected with no snowfall even at the Peak. In Idyllwild at 5550′ we received 0.20″ rain, but rainfall was significantly heavier than that between about 8000-10,000′ elevation.

I recorded the following short video at San Jacinto Peak on 16th May.

At about 1400 as we descended, the high country cleared (see photo below) but Idyllwild and the mountain below about 9000′ largely remained in the cloud until dusk.

Details of trail conditions are below. I am no longer updating snow depths as most areas below 10,000′ are largely clear (albeit with some persistent drifts around). Currently I am not updating water conditions. Due to rainfall and rapid snow melt all established water sources are flowing well, and many ephemeral sources are flowing also.

With this mild system and rainfall, melting has continued rapidly. The PCT in the San Jacinto mountains is now safely passable for hikers without microspikes. Depending on confidence and experience on icy snow, some PCT hikers may still prefer to use microspikes, especially on the north end of Fuller Ridge (aroud Mile 190).

Microspikes remain useful (but not essential) above 9700′ in some areas, especially descending from San Jacinto Peak, in particular on the western (Deer Springs Trail) route.

The high country after the rain. Looking east down on Round and Long valleys, with Cornell Peak to the left, at about 1430 on 16th May 2019.

WEATHER Following a couple of milder days, there is the chance of light precipitation on most days from Sunday 19th to Thursday 23rd May. Temperatures will be below seasonal averages, and at or below freezing in the high country (well below freezing with windchill). Light snowfall at the highest elevations is a possibility on several days in the next week.

At San Jacinto Peak (10,810ft/3295m) yesterday, 16th May 2019, at 1345 the air temperature was 27°F (-3°C), with a windchill temperature of 8.4°F (-13°C), 100% relative humidity, and a sharp SW wind at 15 mph gusting to 24 mph.

At San Jacinto Peak on 11th May 2019, at 1530 the air temperature was 30°F (-1°C), with a windchill temperature of 15°F (-9°C), 97% relative humidity, and a fresh NE wind at 12 mph gusting to 20 mph.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

Trails above about 8700′ remain partly snow-covered. All main trails are now well traveled, and have good tracks to follow which largely align with the established trail system.

Pacific Crest Trail The trail is clear of snow from Highway 74 (Mile 151) to about Mile 174 (Red Tahquitz) after which the trail has a few snow patches to about Mile 179. There is a short section with about 80% snow cover near Mile 181. There is patchy snow on Miles 185-186 at about 30% coverage.

Fuller Ridge Trail (approx. PCT Miles 185.5-190.5) can be traversed without microspikes, although they are useful for those less experienced on angled icy snow. Snow patches are frequent enough to use microspikes for parts of the five mile length of the Fuller Ridge Trail, briefly around Miles 187.5-188, and then more continuously on Miles 188.5-190. Particularly at the northernmost end, the track does not follow the trail in places, and there are a couple of steeper descents.

San Jacinto Peak trails On the eastern side, the Wellman Trail from Annie’s Junction (PCT turning near Mile 181.5) to Wellman Divide (9700′) is clear of snow. The Peak Trail from Wellman Divide to the Peak averages less than 20% snow-covered and the track now largely follows the trail route, but microspikes remain useful, especially for descending those areas where stubborn icy snow patches remain. The East Ridge Trail remains almost completely under snow. On the western side, the upper Deer Springs Trail from Little Round Valley is about 60% snow-covered through the Valley, 50% covered on the ascent to the Peak, and about 50% snow-covered at San Jacinto Peak itself. The tracks through the snow patches now largely follow the route of the Deer Springs Trail. Microspikes are recommended in places, especially for descending from the Peak to about 9600′.

Tahquitz Peak trail from Chinquapin Flat was updated in detail earlier this week. Microspikes are no longer required for the steps through the very short remaining sections of icy snow.

Black Mountain Road is clear of snow. No microspikes are required to hike to the PCT. The road has been cleared, repaired, and partially graded to the turning to Boulder Basin, and cleared and repaired to the Fuller Ridge campground.

Skyline Trail is clear. C2C hikers have not been encountering snow until well past Long Valley Ranger Station.

Devil’s Slide Trail is clear of snow.

Tahquitz meadows trails are clear of snow with only occasional small patches to cross. No microspikes required.

Deer Springs Trail is clear of snow to Strawberry Junction (8100′) and almost completely clear to the Seven Pines Trail junction. There is about 20% snow cover from there to the Fuller Ridge Trail junction, but microspikes are no longer required. The track above the Fuller Ridge junction now follows the trail and there is only about 20% snow cover as the trail nears Little Round Valley. For the section through and beyond Little Round Valley, see “San Jacinto Peak trails” above.

Marion Mountain Trail is clear of snow.

Tahquitz trail update 14th May 2019

We hiked up South Ridge to Tahquitz Peak and across to Chinquapin Flat this morning. With a couple of recent warm days, the notoriously stubborn icy snow on the north side of Tahquitz Peak is now sufficiently melted for that trail to be safely passable without additional traction (such as microspikes). The hardest section of that trail is shown in a short video available on YouTube.

Otherwise trail conditions are not substantially different from the previous report of three days ago, linked here. The necessity for microspikes continues to diminish with continued rapid melting everywhere until Thursday, as I describe in the video.

WEATHER Cooler conditions arrive tomorrow, with the possibility of light snow (<2″) in the high country on Thursday 16th, and rain at lower elevations. Temperatures will be below (or well below) freezing on 16th and 17th. Below seasonal temperatures are forecast to continue well into next week, with several further chances for very light precipitation.

San Jacinto high country as seen from Tahquitz Peak today 14th May 2019 (above) and the same view six weeks earlier on 30th March 2019 (below).

Weather and trail update 11th May 2019

This afternoon I hiked to and from San Jacinto Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail and Wellman Divide, having done the same via Marion Mountain and upper Deer Springs trails on 10th May. On 8th May we hiked to Tahquitz Peak from home, checking trails all around that mountain. I recorded a video at 0920 on 10th May in the cloud at San Jacinto Peak available on YouTube at this link.

Today I wanted to see if there was any chance of snow in the high country as had been forecast. While the trees above 10,300′ were plastered with thick rime, alas no snow.

Idyllwild was in the cloud all morning on 10th and it was trying to drizzle in Pine Cove (6300′) at first light. On our ascent of Marion Mountain Trail we quickly emerged from the cloud, only to find another layer 3000′ higher enshrouding the high peaks. The lower cloud was a classic marine layer (“May grey”) coming from the west, while the upper layer was moving in the opposite direction driven by high elevation easterly winds. Where both levels were visible, the effect was spectacular.

Black Mountain (to the left) and Fuller Ridge as seen from Marion Mountain Trail, early morning of 10th May 2019.

Despite recent cooler weather, snowmelt has continued rapidly, with many areas below about 9500′ now clear or largely clear of snow, and sun-exposed slopes from San Jacinto Peak down now partly or largely clear too. The PCT in the San Jacinto mountains is now safely passable for most hikers without microspikes. Depending on confidence and experience on icy snow, some PCT hikers will still prefer to use microspikes, especially on the north end of Fuller Ridge (about Miles 189-191).

Microspikes remain recommended above 9700′ in some areas, especially descending from San Jacinto Peak, and in particular on the western (Deer Springs Trail) route.

WEATHER There will be yet another rapid warming trend over the next couple of days. Light rain is possible on 12th May at all elevations.

At San Jacinto Peak (10,810ft/3295m) today, 11th May 2019, at 1530 the air temperature was 30°F (-1°C), with a windchill temperature of 15°F (-9°C), 97% relative humidity, and a fresh NE wind at 12 mph gusting to 20 mph.

At the Peak on 10th May 2019, at 0915 the air temperature was 29°F (-2°C), with a windchill temperature of 15°F (-9°C), 100% relative humidity, and a cool ENE wind at 5 mph gusting to 15 mph.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

Many trails above about 9000′ remain partly snow-covered. Details for specific routes are below. Hikers should be prepared for temperatures near freezing in the high country for several days this week (below freezing when considering windchill effects). All main trails are now well traveled, and have good tracks to follow which largely align with the established trail system.

Pacific Crest Trail The trail is clear of snow from Highway 74 (Mile 151) to about Mile 174 (Red Tahquitz) after which the trail is only patchily 10% snow-covered to about Mile 179. There is a short section with about 90% snow cover near Mile 181. Many nobo PCT hikers have been missing the hard left uphill turning at Annie’s Junction (approx. Mile 181.5) in the patchy snow. There is patchy snow on Miles 185-186 at about 30% coverage.

Fuller Ridge Trail (approx. PCT Miles 186-191) can be traversed without microspikes, although they are useful for those less experienced on angled icy snow. Snow patches are frequent enough to use microspikes for parts of the five mile length of the Fuller Ridge Trail, briefly around Miles 187.5-188, and then more continuously on Miles 189-191. Particularly on the northernmost two miles, the track does not follow the trail in places, and there are a couple of steeper descents.

San Jacinto Peak trails On the eastern side, the Wellman Trail from Annie’s Junction (PCT turning near Mile 181.5) to Wellman Divide (9700′) is clear of snow. The Peak Trail from Wellman Divide to the Peak averages less than 40% snow-covered and the track now largely follows the trail route, but microspikes remain useful, especially for descending those areas where stubborn icy snow patches remain. The East Ridge Trail remains completely under snow. On the western side, the upper Deer Springs Trail from Little Round Valley is about 70% snow-covered through the Valley, 60% covered on the ascent to the Peak, and about 50% snow-covered at San Jacinto Peak itself. The tracks through the snow patches now largely follow the route of the Deer Springs Trail. Microspikes are recommended in places, especially for descending from the Peak to about 9600′.

Black Mountain Road is clear of snow. No microspikes are required to hike to the PCT. Beyond the Fuller Ridge campground turning there are some very limited snow patches down to about 7300′ elevation. For vehicular access, Black Mountain Road has been cleared, repaired, and partially graded to the turning to Boulder Basin, and cleared and repaired to the Fuller Ridge campground.

Skyline Trail is clear. C2C hikers have not been encountering snow until well past Long Valley Ranger Station.

Devil’s Slide Trail is clear of snow.

Tahquitz meadows trails are functionally clear of snow with only occasional patches to cross. No microspikes required.

Deer Springs Trail is clear of snow to Strawberry Junction (8100′) and almost completely clear to the Seven Pines Trail junction. There is about 20% snow cover from there to the Fuller Ridge Trail junction, but microspikes are no longer required. The track above the Fuller Ridge junction now follows the trail and there is only about 20% snow cover as the trail nears Little Round Valley. For the section through and beyond Little Round Valley, see “San Jacinto Peak trails” above.

Marion Mountain Trail is clear of snow.

Tahquitz Peak trail from Chinquapin Flat There are some steps to follow through the short (but steep) remaining sections of icy snow. Microspikes in conjunction with hiking poles (or ideally an ice axe if you know how to use it) remain strongly recommended for this challenging trail until it is clear of snow (likely one to two more weeks).

Short but challenging section of trail from Tahquitz Peak to Chinquapin Flat, 8th May 2019.

South Ridge Trail is clear of snow to Tahquitz Peak. South Ridge Road was repaired and graded on 7th May and is passable to the trailhead to all vehicle types.

SNOW DEPTHS measured on 10th May (or on various recent dates as indicated in parentheses) are as follows. Current average depth is given; drifts can be much deeper than the average in places. Altitudes are approximate.

San Jacinto Peak (10,810′): 10″ (was 75″ on 22nd March)

Little Round Valley (9800′): 15″ (with drifts 2-3 feet in places)

Wellman Divide (9700′): 0″ (but with drifted patches nearby)

Pacific Crest Trail at south end of Fuller Ridge Trail (8950′): 1″

Annie’s Junction (PCT Mile 181.5 at State Park boundary) (9050′): 4″ (on 6th May)

Long Valley (8500′): 0″

Strawberry Junction (8100′): 0″

Saddle Junction (8070′): 0″ (was 20″ on 22nd March)

Sign at upper end of Little Round Valley (9850′) on 10th May 2019 (above), and 1st May 2019 for comparison (below).

Junction sign at south end of Fuller Ridge Trail (8940′) on 10th May 2019 (above), and about three weeks earlier on 18th April 2019 for comparison (below)

Trail update 6th May 2019

[UPDATE 8th May: we hiked South Ridge to Tahquitz Peak this morning. South Ridge Road was repaired and fully graded yesterday. I have updated the status of the challenging Tahquitz Peak to Chinquapin Flat trail also.]

This morning we briskly hiked to and from San Jacinto Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail and Wellman Divide. Other trails surveyed in recent days were outlined in the previous update three days ago. I recorded a short video at about 0900 this morning just below Miller Peak, available on YouTube. There was some very light rain in Idyllwild this afternoon, totaling 0.26″ at 5550′ elevation, but yet again the high country was above the cloud.

Snowmelt has continued rapidly, with many areas below about 9000′ now clear or largely clear of snow, and sun-exposed slopes below 10,400′ largely clear too. The PCT in the San Jacinto mountains is now safely passable for most hikers without microspikes. Depending on confidence and experience on icy snow, some PCT hikers will still prefer to use microspikes, especially on the north end of Fuller Ridge (about Miles 189-191).

Microspikes are still recommended above 9500′ in many areas, especially descending from San Jacinto Peak, and in particular on the western (Deer Springs Trail) route. We hiked the traverse from Chinquapin Flat (about PCT Mile 178) to Tahquitz Peak on 3rd May and found that it remains challenging even in microspikes.

WEATHER Temperatures this week will be below average for early May, with considerable cloudiness and light precipitation possible on several days, at least at mid-elevations (San Jacinto Peak has been above the cloud for four of the five most recent storms). Light rain at mid elevations and light snow in the high country are most likely on Friday and Saturday (10-11 May) with a few inches of snow possible, mainly above about 8500′.

At San Jacinto Peak (10,810ft/3295m) today, 6th May 2019, at 0830 the air temperature was 29°F (-2°C), with a windchill temperature of 20°F (-7°C), 54% relative humidity, and a very light SSW breeze at 3 mph gusting to 6 mph.

At the Peak on Wednesday 1st May 2019, at 0845 the air temperature was 34°F (1°C), with a windchill temperature of 23.6°F (-5°C), 14% relative humidity, and a brisk West breeze at 12 mph gusting to 17 mph.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

Many trails above about 9000′ remain at least partly snow-covered. Details for specific routes are below. Hikers should be prepared for temperatures at or below freezing in the high country this week (well below freezing when considering windchill effects). All main trails are now well traveled, and have good tracks to follow.

Pacific Crest Trail The trail is clear of snow from Highway 74 (Mile 151) to about Mile 174 (Red Tahquitz) after which the trail is only patchily 20% snow-covered to about Mile 179. There is almost continuous snow either side of Mile 181. Many nobo PCT hikers are missing the hard left uphill turning at Annie’s Junction (approx. Mile 181.5) in the patchy snow.

Fuller Ridge Trail (approx. PCT Miles 186-191) can be traversed without microspikes, although they are useful for those less experienced on angled icy snow. Snow patches are frequent enough to use microspikes for parts of the five mile length of the Fuller Ridge Trail, specifically approx. Miles 187.5-188, and 189-191. Particularly on the northernmost two miles, the track does not follow the trail in places, and there are a couple of steeper descents. PCT hikers not comfortable with angled snow/ice travel could still consider the Black Mountain Road alternative. Fuller Ridge campground (Mile 191) is clear of snow.

San Jacinto Peak trails On the eastern side, the Wellman Trail from Annie’s Junction (PCT turning near Mile 181.5) to Wellman Divide (9700′) is largely clear of snow, but microspikes are useful for descending those areas where stubborn icy snow patches remain. The Peak Trail from Wellman Divide to the Peak is only partly snow-covered and the track now largely follows the trail route, but microspikes remain useful, especially for descending. On the western side, the upper Deer Springs Trail from Little Round Valley to the Peak remains about 80% snow-covered, and note that the consolidated tracks are steep and do not closely follow the trail route. Microspikes are recommended, especially for descending.

Black Mountain Road is clear of snow to the PCT. No microspikes are required to hike to the PCT. Beyond the Fuller Ridge campground turning there are some small snow patches down to about 7300′ elevation. For vehicular access, Black Mountain Road has been cleared, repaired, and partially graded to the turning to Boulder Basin, and cleared and repaired to the Fuller Ridge campground.

Skyline Trail is clear. C2C hikers have not been encountering snow until well past Long Valley Ranger Station.

Devil’s Slide Trail is clear of snow.

Tahquitz meadows trails are largely clear of snow with only occasional patches to cross. No microspikes required.

Deer Springs Trail is clear of snow to Strawberry Junction (8100′) and largely clear to the Seven Pines Trail junction. There is about 70% snow cover from there to the Fuller Ridge Trail junction, and microspikes are useful. The track above the Fuller Ridge junction now more closely follows the trail and there is only about 50% snow cover to Little Round Valley. Through and above Little Round Valley the tracks largely do not approximate to the true trail, and are steep and postholey in places, with about 90% snow cover (microspikes useful again, especially for descending).

Marion Mountain Trail is clear of snow, with just a couple of tiny patches very near the PCT. Microspikes not required.

Tahquitz Peak trail from Chinquapin Flat [UPDATED 8th May] There are some steps to follow through the short (but steep) remaining sections of snow. Microspikes in conjunction with hiking poles (or ideally an ice axe if you know how to use it) remain strongly recommended for this challenging trail until it is clear of snow (likely one to two more weeks).

South Ridge Trail is clear of snow to Tahquitz Peak. South Ridge Road [UPDATED 8th May] was repaired and graded yesterday and is passable to he top to all vehicles.

Peak Trail looking north at 9800′ just above Wellman Divide today 6th May 2019 (above) and the same view two weeks earlier on 22nd April (below).

SNOW DEPTHS measured on various recent dates (as indicated in parentheses) are as follows. Current average depth is given; drifts can be much deeper than the average in places. Altitudes are approximate.

San Jacinto Peak (10,810′): 19″ (on 6th May; was 75″ on 22nd March)

Little Round Valley (9800′): 20″ (on 1st May)

Wellman Divide (9700′): 0″ (but with drifted patches nearby)

Pacific Crest Trail at south end of Fuller Ridge Trail (8950′): 4″ (on 1st May)

Annie’s Junction (PCT Mile 181.5 at State Park boundary) (9050′): 4″ (on 6th May)

Long Valley (8500′): 0″

Strawberry Junction (8100′): 0″

Saddle Junction (8070′): 0″ (was 20″ on 22nd March)

Trail junction sign at south end of Fuller Ridge Trail (8940′) on 1st May 2019 (above) and two weeks earlier on 18th April 2019 for comparison (below)