San Jacinto Peak 10839
Miller Peak 10400
Start/End Loc: Round Valley TH at ranger station, top of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Distance/Elevation, from ranger station: 10 miles RT/3253 feet elevation gain
This was the 2nd day of my 3-day trip to LA from Colorado. I was hoping to do all 3 of the LA area peaks with 5000 feet of prominence. Today’s weather up high turned out to be ~50 degrees with continuous winds of 20 mph - not too bad but tough to stay exposed directly on the summit. No snow on the ground so the walking was easy. In general there’s an excellent trail all the way to the summit. Whereas yesterday on Gorgonio the trail was mostly dirt and occasionally rock, today’s trail was mostly rocky with sporadic sections of dirt.
Finding the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is as easy as entering that into Google Maps and following the directions. Taking the tram will set you back $25 plus an additional $5 fee for parking, $30 total. However, the ride is quite spectacular and worth the price. The tram’s floor rotates 360 degrees on the way so everyone gets good views. The ride takes about 10 minutes. During the off-season when I was there, rides started at 10:00 AM on the weekday, last ride down at 9:30 PM. I recommend checking their website for current information.
From the top of the tramway it’s a ¼ mile walk downhill to the ranger station where you must self-permit. You are entering the Mount San Jacinto State Park and State Wilderness. When you return from hiking you drop off the copy of the permit you’ve been carrying.
Start out by following the Round Valley Trail which turns into the Peak Trail. While there are several confusing intersections along the way, the trails are clearly marked. I recommend grabbing a trail map at the ranger station if you don’t have one. When returning the same way, the signs to follow will say Long Valley. The short excursion to Miller Peak was fun, short class 3. Following are some photos and my GPX tracks.
Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico.
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