Palm Springs to San Jacinto

16 Nov 2001 - by Nancy Fitzsimmons

On November 16, seven adventurers, Richard Vassar, Jeff Fisher, Maxym Runov, Nancy Fitzsimmons, Rick Daraska, Bernd Meyer and Cindy Outlaw, met in Palm Springs to do the "Cactus to Clouds" hike. This hike is from Palm Springs (523 ft) to the top of Mt. San Jacinto (10,804 ft). The nice thing about this hike is, that although it is 22 miles and 10,800 feet of elevation gain, you do get to take a tram most of the way down, which is a nice treat after a long day.

Five of us were participants in the Death Valley to Telescope Peak hike on September 29 and decided to try another classic base to summit hike. Cindy Outlaw lives in San Diego and has done the hike so many times that part of the hike is named after her (Outlaw trail).


We met at 5:30 AM on November 17 at the western end of Ramon Road and started hiking in the dark. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise from the trail. There were lots of other people hiking from or the Palm Springs to the tram station. In fact, we passed a group of more that 20 hikers from the Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, who were hiking to the tram station and had started at the Desert Museum (alternate trailhead).

The trail is an unending secession of upward-reaching switchbacks like the 97 switchbacks on Mt.Whitney. From the start we broke up into 2 groups. The first group made it to the Long Valley and the tram station between 5 and 5 1/2 hours and the second group made it in 6 hours (11:30). After an hour lunch in a nice warm tram station restaurant we headed towards the summit after stopping at the Long Valley Ranger Station to get a self issue wilderness permit. On the way up we took a couple of breaks then made it to the summit between 2:30 and 3:00 PM. Most of the day we had warm weather, however, it was about 48 degrees on the summit. We took a short break and then headed back to the tram station where we ended our hike between 4:45 and 5:30 PM just as it was getting dark. We had a beer to celebrate the successful day then we took the tram down in the dark, with a spectacular view of the glittering lights of Palm Springs, which was fun.

After a nice dinner we decided to get up at 1 AM and drive to Joshua Tree (about 40 miles from Palm Springs) to watch the Leonid meteor shower. It was spectacular. Meteors were falling every second. It was a great way to end a fun weekend

Thanks to Jeff for suggesting that we climb this classic peak this year. Below are Richard Vassar's GSP waypoints for future San Jacinto hikers.

All waypoints are UTM and NAD27 datum.

Name    Zone    Easting     Northing    Comment
SJC01   11 S    541196  3741633 Ramon Rd. traihead
SJC02   11 S    540870  3742793 saddle, junction with "Museum Trail"
SJC03   11 S    540448  3742525
SJC04   11 S    540277  3742506
SJC05   11 S    539969  3742229
SJC06   11 S    539423  3741423
SJC07   11 S    538830  3741114
SJC08   11 S    538113  3741496
SJC09   11 S    537858  3741765
SJC10   11 S    537470  3741665
SJC11   11 S    537174  3741927
SJC12   11 S    536821  3741876
SJC13   11 S    536036  3742029
SJC14   11 S    535407  3741559
SJC15   11 S    535017  3741284
SJC16   11 S    534495  3741305
SJC17   11 S    533677  3741177 east end of Long Valley (near tram station)
SJC18   11 S    533209  3741236 Long Valley Ranger Station
SJC19   11 S    531178  3740232
SJC20   11 S    530222  3739744
SJC21   11 S    530129  3740755
SJC22   11 S    530208  3741489
SJC23   11 S    529788  3741166
SJCNTO  11 S    529747  3741460 summit of Mt. San Jacinto

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