The purpose of the San Jacinto Trail Report is to give all visitors to the wilderness accurate and detailed trail condition information for the San Jacinto mountains. Hopefully this information leads to well-informed decisions, in turn increasing hiker safety. As someone involved in local search-and-rescue, Jon felt it would be better to be proactive with educating 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 is clearly successful in reducing incidents of lost hikers, injuries (or worse), and rescues, on the trails in the San Jacinto mountains.
The focus of the San Jacinto Trail Report shifts somewhat depending on the season. In March to June, it is primarily focused on providing information during the extremely busy northbound (nobo) Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) season. Depending on the snowpack and rainfall in any given year, the summer and autumn emphasis is likely to be the status of springs and other water sources, which affects water availability for campers and hikers (and their dogs). Then in the winter (hopefully!) the focus is on snow conditions. Other factors that may affect hiker or camper safety, such as forest fires, the presence of bears, or the forecast of unusual weather, are discussed also.
Hopefully the content of the site is useful for all hikers and mountaineers (and any other visitors) to the region in all seasons. The scope of the site may expand in due course depending on time and demand. Suggestions for additional content are always welcome via the Contact page.
Jon started to pass trail condition information to local agencies in 2015. That PCT season, the main concern was water availability, as winter 2014/15 was exceptionally dry (similar to 2017/18). In contrast, winter 2016/17 was the first in four years with “average” snowfall – up to several feet in the high country – and the San Jacinto Trail Report hence became much more consequential for the 2017 nobo PCT season. The report was formalized as a hard copy handout that was circulated weekly (or even more frequently after storms) in Idyllwild to US Forest Service, Mt. San Jacinto State Park, Nomad Ventures, and some local hotels popular with PCT hikers. The State Park also copied the Report to the Long Valley Ranger Station. It became the primary source for PCTers in Idyllwild for accurate trail condition information in the San Jacinto mountains, and was apparently very well received by Forest Service and State Park.
Jon is the most active hiker and mountaineer in the San Jacintos, hiking or running local trails seven days a week, exceeding 3000 miles and half-a-million feet of elevation gain annually. He holds a variety of arcane records for ascents of San Jacinto Peak. Jon has hiked and camped all over the World for 40 years, and in the San Jacintos for more than 20 years. He has been involved with multiple local search-and-rescue teams, is a certified Wilderness First Responder, has Level 1 Avalanche and Avalanche Rescue certifications, and is a volunteer fire lookout at both Tahquitz Peak and Black Mountain.
Accuracy and reliability are critical to the value of the Trail Report. All information on this website has been personally observed by Jon, or by one of a tiny team of very trusted sources. While we are interested in receiving additional trail information from other users (please use the Contact link), there is no guarantee that the information will be used on this site, and it is unlikely to appear until it has been verified.
The San Jacinto Trail Report is a completely volunteer project, and the product of hundreds of hours (and hundreds of miles) of volunteer work. 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.
All photos on this site Copyright Jon King 2014-2018.