Mount San Jacinto State Park is just outside the desert retreat of Palm Springs, but it feels worlds away. The world's largest rotating aerial tramway takes visitors to the top of the mountain. It's crazy, but you go from 90-degree heat in the Coachella Valley to hiking through snow atop the mountain in a matter of minutes. Dress appropriately for the weather at the top if you plan to explore the trails. Otherwise, grab a drink at the lodge on the mountain and enjoy the views of the desert below on one side and the snowy, forested peaks on the other.
“Magnificent granite peaks”
Mount San Jacinto, at 10,834 feet above sea-level, is the second highest peak in Southern California. Due to the high altitude and short growing season the natural habitat in Mount San Jacinto State Park has very little ability to recover from the impact of human activity. To preserve and protect the area everyone entering the park, either for day use or camping, must have a wilderness permit. Day use wilderness permits are free and are available 24 hours a day at the State Park Headquarters office in Idyllwild, Stone Creek campground, or at the Long Valley Ranger Station. Applications for overnight permits will be accepted up to 56 days (8 weeks) in advance; if you apply by mail, send your request in at least 10 days in advance. Sorry, no telephone or FAX requests can be accepted. There are also limitations on group size and dogs. Mount San Jacinto State Park is accessible by the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and lies on the Pacific Crest Trail.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I have to say it. San Jacinto State Park is the best state park in the country. Well, at least of the hundreds and hundreds we have visited. If you don’t have a lot of time or physical limitations prevent you from exploring the entire park, then this is the trail for you.
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Mt. San Jacinto State Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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Good for bird watching, hiking, and 5 more activities.
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