Peak on Climbing!

Hike to the Tahquitz Peak Lookout in the San Jacinto Wilderness

Hike to Tahquitz Peak Lookout via the Devil's Slide Trail in

It’s a steady climb (2,375 feet elevation gain) and a solid 8.1 miles (round-trip) … and it’s worth every step. Hike to the Tahquitz Peak Lookout via the Devil’s Slide Trail in the San Jacinto Wilderness for amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the Salton Sea. At 8,846 feet, Tahquitz has the highest lookout in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Gallery image 1 of 3
Gallery image 2 of 3
Gallery image 3 of 3

Arrive early to get parking and enjoy cooler temps. From Humber Park in Idyllwild, hit the well-marked Devil’s Slide Trail and start the ascent. The first half of the hike is nicely shaded by subalpine forests, with views of the valley peeking through and an exposed granite landscape like that of Yosemite, including an unobstructed view of Tahquitz Rock.

Gallery image 1 of 2
Gallery image 2 of 2

After 2.5 miles, you’ll reach Saddle Junction, with the golden glow of the midsummer sun slipping through pine trees, along with new views of the mountain. Follow the sign for Tahquitz Peak Lookout (you’ll know you’re on the right trail because it’s the only one that keeps going up). The scenery completely opens as you continue hiking, revealing the blue Tahquitz fire lookout at the peak, and the Salton Sea below.

Gallery image 1 of 4
Gallery image 2 of 4
Gallery image 3 of 4
Gallery image 4 of 4

If you’re lucky you’ll arrive at the peak on a day when a volunteer ranger is stationed at the lookout and can tell you a bit about its history. The summit has plenty of boulders so take a seat to enjoy the high peak views of the range: Jean Peak, Marion Mountain, and of course Mount San Jacinto. On a clear day you may even see Catalina Island.

*If hiking this trail during summer, bring plenty of water and be mindful of the heat, and heat advisories. From I-10, take exit 100 for CA-243 South. Turn left onto Pine Crest Ave., right onto S. Circle Dr., and left onto Fern Valley Rd. Arrive early to get parking; the trail gets popular later in the morning. An Adventure Pass is required for parking. {August 2020 Covid-19 update: Access to the lookout is currently closed, but you can take photos and speak with a volunteer ranger if one is stationed there when you visit.} Dog-friendly!

Story by Breonna. Follow Breonna on Instagram @mountainsquake

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. We love Goose Lake Campground, where there are just 14 sites and no motorized boats.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Shealor Stunner

    Robust mountains, striking slabs of granite, and deep green pine reflections make Shealor Lake near Kirkwood resort a jewel of the El Dorado National Forest. Reach this alpine oasis on a 1.3-mile hike.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    National Parks Road Trip: Circle of Discovery!

    Love national parks? Love road trips? Combine the two on one fabulous Circle of Discovery route in Northern California and Southern Oregon! This itinerary features 7 national parks with wondrous features.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Peak-a-View!

    Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the entire country and the seventh deepest in the world. For one of the very best perspectives of this shining blue beauty, hike up to Garfield Peak.

    View

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Hidden Stairways of SF: Urban Hike

    This guided hike sold out fast, but new dates have been added! Get outdoors and explore the hidden stairways and gardens of San Francisco anew. Small group and socially distanced.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Lookout for This View!

    Sierra Buttes Lookout, at a lofty 8,591 feet, is a memory maker for its pucker-worthy stairway to the tower’s balcony. It's a 5-mile (round-trip) hike to reach it. And the reward? Epic!

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Ah, Good Point

    Ready for a rewarding view? Head to to one of the Peninsula’s favorite promontories: Mori Point. Climb your way up the Bootlegger’s Steps to the Mori Point headland for awesome vantages of the San Mateo Coast.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Sleeper Hit

    It's all about the water, and the camping, at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest, a High Sierra reservoir perfect for kayak explorations and pitching your tent lakeside..

    View