Route: San Jacinto Peak (CA)

California, US
35 mi
Vertical Gain
10400 ft

Here's what Wikipedia says about San Jacinto Peak:

"San Jacinto Peak 10,834 feet (3,302 m) is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County, California. It lies within Mount San Jacinto State Park. Naturalist John Muir wrote of San Jacinto Peak, 'The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectable to be found anywhere on earth!'

San Jacinto Peak is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the United States. It is ranked sixth among peaks of the 48 contiguous states."

San Jacinto is just outside of Palm Springs. Two basic challenges have emerged: the "Cactus to Clouds" (C2C, or round trip C2C2C) route, beginning at the Palm Springs Desert Museum and ascending 10,400 feet in 17.5 miles to the summit; and the Skyline Trail, which ascends from the Museum to the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, at 8,516 feet on San Jacinto. Most people do the Skyline Trail one-way, taking the tram back down. There is a Strava segment for the Skyline Trail. A third route was submitted by Matthew Robison, ascending San Jacinto's North Face via Snow Creek bypassing Desert Water District (the purple line on the attached map). Note if you are attempting an FKT on the C2C (ascent) you will need to be sure you beat the fastest ascent time set in the more-popular C2C2C!

A further challenge was submitted by George Katsikaris.  It involves traversing San Jacinto from Idyllwild to Palm Springs & returning the same way, touching the summit each time. The out & back traverse is about 45 miles. This is shown on our map, as it also includes the C2C route.

GPS Track


I'm planning to climb from Palm Springs up to the tram station tomorrow, very tentatively (pending conditions and other things) looking at continuing to the summit and running back down to town for the first female FKT on the C2C2C route.

San Jacinto summit and C2C2C round trip complete in 13:30:04, will submit details when I get to my computer.  An excellent adventure!

First time commenting. My husband and I are in Palm Springs and planning to hike C2C2C (museum to summit to museum) tomorrow, Feb 19. Not sure of conditions, but perhaps the women's record is within our reach. Carrying my own gear but will be accompanied by my husband. Hopefully we'll have a nice hike and we'll check back in when we're down.  -Anne Fox

Successful women's FKT on C2C2C (Palm Springs art museum trailhead to Mt San Jacinto summit and back) on Feb 19, 2020. Left a little before 5am. Started with a moderately fast hike from museum to Grubs notch. Conditions and temps were great until about 1000ft from the notch when the trail became hard-packed ice and somewhat tricky going. From notch to summit was all snow and ice but easy to follow boot pack. Ran into Ricky Gates at the summit and enjoyed a few miles' jog with him on the descent before he dropped the hammer. Ran a steady pace on the way down except where conditions didn't allow. Put in a solid push the last 5 miles. No surprise but the trail was as brutal and beautiful as advertised!

C2C2C total time: 11:25:01


Grubs notch 4:20:00

Ranger station 4:26:40

Summit 6:33:22

Ranger station 7:55:45

Museum trailhead 11:25:01

Gear: micro-spikes, hydration pack, hiking poles. Carried all my own food and gear and was accompanied the whole way by my husband, Sam Fox.

-Anne Fox