The purpose of the San Jacinto Trail Report is to enhance hiker and mountaineer safety by providing accurate and detailed trail condition information for the San Jacinto mountains. The original focus was on those hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – which forms the backbone of the trail system in these mountains – but it has expanded to year-round coverage of as much of the whole trail system as is practical.
As the first significant mountain range encountered in spring by the annual flow of several thousand northbound PCT hikers, just 150 miles into their hike, in most years the San Jacintos present a considerable, and often overlooked, hazard. It is therefore no coincidence that this section has the highest fatality rate – and among the highest rescue rates – of any section of the PCT. Now, with this Trail Report, the San Jacinto mountains is the only subsection of the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail that has its own dedicated report on trail conditions for hikers.
As someone involved in local search-and-rescue, Jon felt it would be better to be proactive with informing hikers, rather than reactive with time-consuming, costly, and potentially dangerous search-and-rescue missions. Feedback from local, state, and federal agencies, and from personal users of the site, suggests that the Report has been very successful in this objective.
Jon started to pass trail condition information to local agencies in 2015, with the Report later formalized as a hard copy handout for US Forest Service, Mt. San Jacinto State Park, and others, before evolving into this website. The Report is now heavily utilized and recommended by staff at both the Idyllwild Ranger Station of the San Bernardino National Forest and at the State Park ranger stations.
The focus of the San Jacinto Trail Report shifts depending on season. February to June the emphasis is on providing snow and weather information during the extremely busy northbound PCT season. In summer I’m very active with trail maintenance on both State Park and Forest Service lands. Depending on the snowpack and rainfall in any given year, summer and autumn reports mainly concerned with the status of springs and other water sources, which affects water availability for campers and hikers (and their dogs). Then in the winter the focus is back to snow and weather conditions and related dangers. Other factors that may affect hiker or camper safety, such as forest fires, the presence of interesting wildlife, or the forecast of changeable weather, are also discussed.
Jon is the most active hiker and mountaineer in the San Jacinto mountains, hiking or running local trails daily, averaging about 4000 miles and one million feet of elevation gain annually. He holds many arcane records for ascents of mountains in the San Jacinto range, including the all-time record for total ascents of San Jacinto Peak (currently >710). He is a volunteer wilderness ranger for Mt. San Jacinto State Park, and also volunteers for the U.S. Forest Service and Pacific Crest Trail Association. Jon has hiked and camped worldwide for about 40 years, and in the San Jacinto mountains for 25 years. He has been involved with multiple local search-and-rescue teams, is a certified Wilderness First Responder, has multiple avalanche certifications, and is a fire lookout at both Tahquitz Peak and Black Mountain. In 2022, Jon was the recipient of the prestigious Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award, voted on by readers of the local newspaper, the Idyllwild Town Crier.
Accuracy and reliability are critical to the value of the Trail Report. All information on this website has been personally observed or verified by Jon, or by one of a handful of trusted sources.
The San Jacinto Trail Report is a 100% volunteer project, and the product of about two thousand hours (and at least as many miles) of volunteer work annually. If you have found its content to be useful to you, and you would like to make a small financial contribution, please see the Donate page. Thank you very much.
All content on this site Copyright Jon King 2014-2022.