Take to the hills in San Jacinto Mountains while staying at Palm Springs vacation villas. Rising high above the desert floor in Coachella Valley, the mountains offer adventure for everyone. More than 50 miles of trails provide hiking opportunities for every skill level. Take a leisurely stroll or climb to the summit standing 10,834 feet above sea level. From Chino Canyon ride the aerial tram to an elevation of 8,516 feet for breathtaking panoramic views of the city below. The mountains are just a short distance from your vacation villa where there's something to do year-round.
Hiking San Jacinto Mountains
At Mountain Station from Peak trail you can access Round Valley or trek to the peak. To reach the trail head marker take the cement walkway through the picnic area to Long Valley Ranger Station where you'll receive a day-use wilderness permit. Heading west, follow signs to Round Valley. Running parallel with the creek, the trail passes through a mix of pine and fir trees. As you ascend, the landscape turns to an alpine forest with lupine, Indian paintbrush and scarlet bugler laid beneath your feet in a blaze of color. When you reach the junction you can head to Willow Creek or continue a short distance to Round Valley. This hike is roughly 4 miles round-trip.
To reach the peak follow the signs to Wellman Divide Junction and take the trail leading to Humber Park. From here you traverse intense switchbacks leading to a junction for Little Round Valley and the summit trail. Follow the summit trail to a stone shelter erected in the 1930s for snowed-in mountaineers and ascend to the peak by boulder-hopping. You'll be rewarded for your efforts by unsurpassed views of the Colorado Desert, the mighty Pacific and a glimpse of Mexico off in the distance. Round-trip this hike is approximately 11 miles with an elevation gain of 2,300 feet.
Winter Activities on the Mountain
Snow falls on San Jacinto Mountains between late November and early March when you can enjoy winter sports or simply frolic in the snow. Take the tram to the top and experience some of the most challenging terrain for cross-country skiing or strap on a pair of snowshoes for a quiet tranquil way to explore this winter wonderland. Didn't bring your skis? Equipment rentals are available at the Adventure Center for a nominal charge. If you plan to venture away from the Long Valley area stop at the Long Valley Ranger station to obtain a permit.
Getting to the Top
The rotating Aerial Tram is located at the end of Tramway Road near the north end of Palm Springs. Cars run every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. weekends with the final car descending at 9:45 p.m. Tram Ride tickets are adults $22.95, children (3 to 12) $15.95 or opt for a Ride 'n' Dine ticket. Check their website for winter hours.
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