Mount San Jacinto State Park is located in Riverside County, with expansive wilderness that can be accessed from park entrances in Idyllwild and Palm Springs. To get to the park from Palm Springs, visitors must enter via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway from Valley Station to Mountain Station – a 2.5 mile uphill trip rising approximately 6,000 feet.
Highlights of the 14,000-acre Mount San Jacinto State Park include the highest peak in the range coming in at 10,834 feet, trails to explore, forests, and meadows, and camping opportunities.
Here’s everything you need to know about a visit to Mount San Jacinto State Park.
Mount San Jacinto State Park Details
Wilderness Permits are required for both day use and overnight camping. Permits are free and are available at Park Headquarters and Long Valley Ranger Station.
Address: Idyllwild Entrance & Park Headquarters – 25905 Highway 243, Idyllwild, CA 92549; Long Valley Ranger Station Via Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – 1 Tramway Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Parking: Fees are required for day use and camping
Dogs: Not allowed in any wilderness areas
Hiking In Mount San Jacinto State Park
Many hiking trails are available in Mount San Jacinto State Park that can can be accessed from Long Valley at Mountain Station and Idyllwild. You must stop to get a free day use permit before heading out into the wilderness. The Pacific Crest Trail also passes through Mount San Jacinto State Park. Here are some of the most popular hikes.
From Long Valley
- Discovery Nature Trail – Less than one mile loop with minimal elevation gain, near Mountain Station.
- Desert View Trail – 1.5 mile easy loop with minimal elevation gain and some rocky terrain.
- Round Valley Loop – 4 mile strenuous loop with 600 feet elevation gain.
- Round Valley Meadow – 4.2 mile strenuous out and back with 700 feet elevation gain. Stop to see the historic ranger station, built in the 1930s.
- Wellman Divide – 6.2 mile very strenuous out and back with 1300 feet elevation gain.
- San Jacinto Peak – 11.6 mile very strenuous out and back with 2400 feet elevation gain.
- Panorama Point Trail – 1 mile easy loop.
- Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock – 6.6 mile strenuous out and back with 1900 feet elevation gain.
- Devils Slide Trail to Wellman Divide – 10.6 mile very strenuous out and backwith 3300 feet elevation gain.
- Marion Mountain Trail To San Jacinto Peak – 10.6 mile very strenuous out and back with 4500 feet elevation gain.
- Devils Slide to San Jacinto Peak – 16 mile extremely strenuous out and back with 4500 feet elevation gain.
- Deer Springs to San Jacinto Peak – 18.4 mile extremely strenuous out and back with 5300 feet elevation gain.
Camping In Mount San Jacinto State Park
There are two developed campgrounds, both accessible via Highway 243 in Idyllwild. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
Idyllwild Campground – Located within walking distance of the town of Idyllwild with access to shops and restaurants. Campground features include full hook ups, electric campsites, flush toilets, water, and showers. 28 total sites available.
Stone Creek Campground – 5 miles north of Idyllwild, No full hook ups, but electric available. Vault toilets, water only. 44 total sites.
There are four primitive wilderness campgrounds within the park that are only accessible by foot. Wilderness camping permits are required and must be obtained in advance. Campers must check in at the Long Valley Ranger Station.
Round Valley – Year round, 19 primitive sites, water spigot but must be filtered, vault toilets.
Tamarack Valley – Year round, 8 primitive sites, vault toilets.
Little Round Valley – Year round, 6 primitive sites, vault toilets.
Strawberry Junction – Year round, 3 primitive sites, vault toilets.
More Things To Do At Mount San Jacinto State Park
- Winter activities include snow play, sledding and tubing, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.
- School & Youth Group Programs at the top of the Aerial Tramway focus on life and physical sciences.
- Guided nature walks with park interpreters.
- Junior ranger days during the summer months teach young visitors about wildlife, plants, geology, and more and include crafts, guided walks, and other activities.
- Explore exhibits at the visitors center at Mountain Station.
- Visit the Idyllwild Nature Center.
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.