Rocky Picture Show
Fall Color Hike to Suicide Rock in Mount San Jacinto State Park
Suicide Rock near Idyllwild is a SoCal hot spot for changing colors in the fall, and a great workout as well. The 6.3-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike gains 1,853 feet as it rewards you with autumn yellows and sweeping views of Mount San Jacinto and Tahquitz Peak.
Suicide gets its name from a legend about two Cahuilla Indian lovers whose love was forbidden. Instead of living apart, they decided to throw themselves off the cliffside together.
Deer Springs Trailhead is a short walk from the parking area. Make the first left and you’ll immediately be met with towering Jeffrey pines on either side. You’ll then come across the trailhead sign. The first mile is mostly lined with evergreen foliage and chaparral.
Close to the second mile is when the yellowing leaves of black oaks become prominent. You’ll also come across sections of manzanita, with its smooth red bark.
At about 2.5 miles is a trail junction where you should make a right onto Suicide Rock Trail to head toward your goal. At the fork you’ll see the prominent form of Tahquitz Rock, as well as Tahquitz Peak standing behind it. These two features are in clear view for most of the next mile, and the panorama is even better from the top of Suicide Rock. When you come across a large clearing in the trail and a massive rock plateau to the left, you know you’ve arrived.
From the CA-74 in Hemet, go east to the CA-243 and turn north. Continue for about 5.5 miles. Parking for the trailhead is directly off Hwy. 243 between Point of Rocks Dr.and Cedar Glen Dr. Parking coordinates: 33.753099, -116.722758. A free permit is required for this hike, which you can pick up at the Mount San Jacinto State Park Ranger Station, 54270 Pine Crest Ave., Idyllwild. No dogs.
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