Scenic Trails

In the mountains surrounding the Inland Empire, the day begins in the same quiet, unassuming way that it has for millions of years, and you can be a part of it. A vast network of local hiking trails offers experiences for both beginning and experienced hikers. Here are three…

On the northeastern end of the San Mateo Wilderness Area east of Murrieta is the Tenaja Falls Trail that wanders a medium-easy 1.5 miles through curved canyons and under the canopy of shady trees. The 15-foot falls themselves are best visited in the springtime or after a heavy rain. The area is deluged with Indian paintbrush, lilac and—be warned—poison oak. Parking requires an Adventure Pass.

Set in the lush oak forests north of Idyllwild, the Deer Springs Trail is a meandering but moderate 3.3-mile trek to Suicide Rock with panoramic views of Strawberry Valley and Idyllwild below. You’ll ascend to 7,528 feet into the pine trees but can continue on to San Jacinto Peak (another 12 miles) if you’re feeling adventurous. If the peak is your destination, take the Palm Springs Tramway to Long Valley. From there, it is 10.5 miles to the top via the Wellman Divide Trail. A wilderness permit is required.

The Vivian Creek Trail is the shortest (but steepest) way to summit the 11,502-foot San Gorgonio Mountain. It is a strenuous 18.8-mile round trip with a breathtaking 5,422-foot elevation gain and isn’t for the faint of heart. Backcountry camping and water are available along the trail, but the payoff is the stunning views and bragging rights to say you climbed the highest peak in Southern California. Wilderness permit and Adventure Pass for parking are required.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Math Captcha
22 − 16 =