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San Jacinto Trail Report: available for everyone, funded by readers. At the Peak on Saturday 7th November 2020 at 1005 the air temperature was 15.4°F (-9°C), with a windchill temperature of -6.6°F (-21°C), 100% relative humidity, and a bitter WNW wind sustained at 15 mph gusting to 23.9 mph. A very solid retardant line held the spread right around 5000ft elevation in chaparral, and there is no sign of smoldering or smoke. South Ridge Road was partially graded in the first week of September, and is now readily passable. Tahquitz Creek is flowing at the northern end of Little Tahquitz Meadow. Directions from Ulster County, NY: Located in the northwestern corner of Ulster County, The Slide Mountain Wilderness Area encompasses the towns of Shandaken, Denning and Olive. South Ridge Road (open) is clear of ice. Black Mountain Road is closed (at the gate by Highway 243), possibly for the remainder of the year. Snowshoes are not advised due to the angle of the icy snow. Porter Mountain Trail parts from a junction below the summit of Cascade Mountain and drops across a col to the second summit, 0.7 miles away. Just on the upstream side of the road there is excellent access to the creek. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway reopened in October at reduced capacity, limited days, and shortened hours. USFS day use permits are required for the San Jacinto wilderness, and should be available at the kiosk outside the ranger station. For further information contact the State Park or Forest Service as indicated on their websites. Data show the three months July- September 2020 were the hottest in Idyllwild history, and that Idyllwild’s ten hottest summers have all occurred since 2002. San Jacinto Trail Report: available for everyone, funded by readers. Forest Service has indicated this is primarily a day use reopening. The creek in Little Round Valley is flowing very weakly, and it dries up at the mouth of the valley. Due to continuing elevated fire risk, all camping remains prohibited in both the Mount San Jacinto State Park and the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest, as does all stove use. A closure order expected for the burn scar means that the Trail will remain closed between Snow Creek and Black Mountain Road (approx. SNOW DEPTHS measured today are as follows. [UPDATE 6th October: The Forest will reportedly reopen on Friday 9th October for day use. Trails in that area also have a few new treefalls, but none that present hazards to hikers. Spitler Peak Trail has two new large treefall hazards in the upper switchbacks. USFS day use permits are nevertheless required for the San Jacinto wilderness, and should be available at the self-serve kiosk outside the ranger station. Be sure to check out the view of Big Slide from this vantage point — it's the shark-fin-shaped mountain that's straight ahead. Mountain Operations does their best but sometimes situations arise when trails and lift are closed without notice or have a delayed start. The past month was likely the hottest August in recorded Idyllwild history (pending final National Weather Service data). A closure order for the burn scar means that the Trail remains closed between Snow Creek and Black Mountain Road (PCT Miles 191-206). Currently the USFS gate at Humber Park remains open. Weather was great, awesome hike. On 22nd September that acreage was revised up to 6254, apparently due to improved mapping, rather than additional burning. Extremely cautious navigation is recommended for those who are not very familiar with hiking this trail. At the Peak on Monday 23rd November 2020 at 0825 the air temperature was 28.2°F (-2°C), with a windchill temperature of 11.3°F (-12°C), 54% relative humidity, and a sharp due West wind sustained at 13 mph gusting to 23.1 mph. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which closed 13th March due to the coronavirus crisis, partially reopened on 9th October. If you have found this Report useful, please consider visiting the Donate page. ], [UPDATED 11th November 2020: greatly increased hiker traffic on today’s Veterans Day holiday has changed the condition of several trails. At San Jacinto Peak (3295m/10,810ft) today, Thursday 15th October 2020, at 0850 the air temperature was 50.3°F (10°C), with a windchill of 43.7°F (7°C), 33% relative humidity, and a fresh NNE wind sustained at 8 mph gusting to 16.5 mph. Spikes could be useful for descending. Directions to Slide Mountain Trailhead: Devil’s Slide Trail at Humber Park (6550′): 8″ early this morning, already melted to 2-4″. Please see the State Park website for details. Both are so heavily overgrown I advise hikers do not attempt to follow them. Although monsoon conditions are not forecast for the foreseeable future, hikers should always be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions in the high country in late summer. PCT Miles 198-206) although damage to the trail is limited due to the gentle gradient on this section and the relatively short, light chaparral in this area. Very rocky in spots - wish I had my hiking boots instead of trail shoes. All significant tree hazards on Willow Creek Trail have now been removed. Find out what makes Mt. It goes without saying that the trail is impassable by stock, and it is relatively slow-going for hikers also. At San Jacinto Peak (3295m/10,810ft) on Thursday 8th October 2020, at 0900 the air temperature was 48.3°F (9°C), with a windchill of 40.6°F (5°C), 32% relative humidity, and a cool WSW wind sustained at 7 mph gusting to 15.9 mph. The Pacific Crest Trail above Snow Creek (approx. It is also flowing very gently for a short distance further upstream at its source (known locally as Grethe Spring) where it crosses the PCT (approx. It's our mission to promote an inclusive and accessible environment for all guests. Marion Mountain Trail is almost completely clear of icy snow, however a few tricky patches remain, especially near the PCT junction. Otherwise all the spot fires in the drainages appear to have died down. Snow, weather, and water conditions for the San Jacinto Mountains. Trailhead parking and recreation area access is well marked. Even when not required for ascending, spikes are often useful for descending icy sections of trails, depending upon your comfort level on ice and icy compacted snow. I will continue to post updated information as it becomes available. Many experienced hikers have reported getting lost in this area since summer 2019. Shooting Star Spring (below Little Round Valley but above the North Fork of the San Jacinto River crossing) is flowing steadily. Snow depths measured today are listed at the foot of this posting, but note that due to drifting, snow is often deeper in the trails themselves. Other parts of the San Bernardino NF, as well as other national forests in Southern California, are included in the closure. Deer Springs Trail is clear (or clearing rapidly) of snow up to and past Strawberry Junction to about 8600′, just before the Marion Mountain Trail junction. The major new treefall hazard just past the second switchback was removed on Friday 20th November. The U.S. Forest Service ranger station in Idyllwild remains closed due to the coronavirus crisis. Deer Springs Trail is clear of snow past Strawberry Junction to about 8600′, shortly before the Marion Mountain Trail junction (no spikes required). Snow is patchy but more continuous above that elevation, becoming continuous near Saddle Junction. PCT Miles 173-175), PCT between Strawberry Cienega and Deer Springs camp (Miles 182-185), Fuller Ridge Trail near its northern end (PCT Miles 189.1-190.2), Spitler Peak, Cedar Spring, and Apache Spring trails. With an especially challenging year in 2020, every contribution is invaluable. This followed an exceptionally hot and dry August, the hottest ever recorded for California. USFS has indicated that a permit quota will not be enforced for Devil’s Slide Trail for Labor Day weekend. There is no significant precipitation in the forecast. The Pacific Crest Trail at the northern end of the Desert Divide (PCT Miles 172-177) had 43 treefall hazards and three minor landslide hazards (in addition to the major rockslide at Mile 172.5) during my survey on 27th November. Snow is nearly continuous from there to the Fuller Ridge Trail junction. Live Oak Spring (N 33 37 21, W 116 33 24) Flowing well. Trails below about 8000′ are snow-free, with most areas at higher elevations continuing to clear steadily. The Forest Service closure of Dark Canyon Road is expected to continue into 2021, so there is currently no vehicular access to Seven Pines trailhead. Trail Conditions: Because trail conditions depend so much on the weather, it is useful to get an idea of what the trails may be like before heading out. Spitler Peak Trail Descending the trail there are five water crossings. PCT mile 185.6) is flowing steadily, but flow rate dropped markedly in September. A cold system is forecast around 15th-16th, with frigid temperatures possible in the high country. Gusty afternoon winds quickly dispersed embers widely onto the sides of the canyon, including just above Snow Creek community and on Blaisdell Ridge. The small creek in Tahquitz Valley dried up in early August. At the Peak on Friday 18th December 2020 at 0850 the air temperature was 17.3°F (-7°C), with a windchill temperature of -3.7°F (-20°C), 62% relative humidity, and a bitter NNE wind sustained at 15 mph gusting to 22.2 mph. Other very recent hikes have included South Ridge, May Valley, Ramona Trail, Butterfly Peak, and most sections and side trails of the PCT along the Desert Divide. Tahquitz Peak trail from Chinquapin Flat/PCT Mile 178 has a well-defined track to follow through the angled icy snow. Until the high country receives significant precipitation, fire risk remains severe. All fire lookouts in the San Bernardino National Forest are currently closed, apparently for the protection of the volunteers who operate them and due to scarce resource availability in the event of any emergency. The Round Valley pipe is flowing again. the trail is very popular as many trails in this area. Slide Lake is a short but remote hike that samples a rugged slice of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Every effort is made to update the status in a timely manner. They are especially useful for descending trails when they become icy and compacted (e.g. Park at the trailhead and cross the West Branch of the Neversink River. Although often not required for ascending, spikes can be helpful for descending icy sections of trails, depending upon your comfort level on ice and icy compacted snow. See the State Park or Forest Service websites for further information. Hikers should be prepared for unseasonably hot weather, with temperatures far above seasonal, the overnight low temperatures in particular 15-22°F above average this weekend. In addition to the forest and trails, this closure includes all campgrounds, picnic sites, trailheads, and forest roads. Encouraging news. Total measured is first, followed by time of day and comments in parentheses. PCT mile 185.6) is flowing gently. The warmest temperature I have ever recorded at San Jacinto Peak remains Wednesday 19th August 2020, when at 0745 the air temperature was 62.3°F (17°C), with no measurable windchill, 42% relative humidity, and calm, extremely hazy conditions. Continue on the Big Slide trail, which will drop down to Juliet Brook and then climb upwards for half a mile, at which point it will begin switchbacking up a steeper pitch. Miles 191-206). As public trails into the Park largely pass through Forest Service land, the Park is functionally inaccessible. Apache Spring (N 33 43 11, W 116 37 13) Barely trickling. The sights were amazing after the snow the day before! The trails around the Tahquitz area meadows remain surprisingly snow-covered in patches, especially around Skunk Cabbage and Little Tahquitz meadows. Thank you. Spikes remain recommended. The area may be reached from the northeast by traveling SR 28; from the south, Route 42; and from the west, Route 47. Please stay safe everyone. While the perimeter of the burned area may be several thousand acres, actual burning has been patchy within that due to rocky terrain and sparse vegetation in many areas. Most of the past week has seen two layers of smoke, one at high elevation (>14,000′), the other closer to ground level (often <4000′). All morning the fire was burning in small patches on both flanks of Blaisdell Ridge up to c.5000ft. It is the old road formerly used to access the fire tower and was not built as a trail. Useful if hikers are descending the Spitler Peak Trail. It can be done without spikes at this point, but I wouldn’t advise it. Details of the Forest Service reopening are available here. PCT Miles 198-206) was burned on both sides by the Snow Fire (17th-19th September 2020). The first two, at 0.9 and 0.95 miles down, cross a tiny side creek which is largely dry and should be ignored. WEATHER After temperatures well above seasonal for the first week of October, cooler autumnal weather finally arrived on 7th October. California Trail Corridors form a statewide trail system that links mountain, valley and coastal communities to recreational, cultural and natural resources throughout the state. SNOW DEPTHS measured today, 16th November 2020, are as follows. The shelter just past the Third Brother is harder to find as it is off the trail and is almost invisable when comming down from Big Slide. Black Mountain Road was graded in June through to the Fuller Ridge campground. Currently most major trails have not been traveled and are somewhat obscured by snowfall. Other parts of the San Bernardino NF, as well as other national forests in Southern California, are included in the closure. Most hikers may find spikes useful, depending upon your comfort level on ice and compacted snow, especially for descending some sections. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October. Spot fires remain smoldering in Snow Creek and Falls Creek drainages below about 4000ft, although almost all of the riparian vegetation survived unburned. Ernie Maxwell Trail is almost clear of snow, with a few icy patches remaining on the upper end near Humber Park. While all labor and time is volunteered, this Report completely depends on small private donations to cover its direct costs. All current trail and camping permits are being revoked. Day use permits are nevertheless required for the San Jacinto wilderness, and should be available at the self-serve kiosks outside either ranger station. Many trails have treefall hazards from this past winter, passable for hikers but not for stock. It leaves the Willow Creek Trail exactly 1.0 mile from Saddle Junction (0.46 mile from the Skunk Cabbage turning), descending largely on established deer trails for 1.2 miles, roughly paralleling Willow Creek just to its south. Consequently spikes are recommended for all trails above about 8000′ elevation, which all have some patches of ice and compacted icy snow, as described in detail below. WEATHER After a long, hot summer, including much of October, we had a delightful, if brief, hint of winter, with temperatures falling to well below seasonal average over the past four days. I'm glad I took that route because the western face is much steeper than the eastern face. Trams are operating at less than 25% capacity and reservations are required. Just on the upstream side of the road there is excellent access to the creek. Fuller Ridge Trail has cleared completely on sun-exposed slopes, but sections of icy snow remain in places. Descending one million feet. Another recent video from NWS San Diego is informative, including the latest projection for the winter overall (spoiler alert: not good news). Visit both mountains on a 6.2-mile trek or turn around at Cascade for a 4.8-mile hike. 12.5 inches of snow. Hiking permits are available at the Idyllwild and Long Valley ranger stations. All trails above about 5500′ are snow-covered. Switchback Spring at PCT Mile 183.5 (about 0.4 miles on the PCT northbound from Strawberry Junction) is trickling, but there is not adequate depth in which to filter water. Cross the creek and reach a campsite. Highway camera images are courtesy of California Department of Transportation. This unprecedented step has been taken due to exceptional fire risk, for public and firefighter safety, and due to lack of adequate emergency response resources. An informal use trail to Laws is much more direct and avoids all of the challenging bush-whacking of the unmaintained trails (some local hikers have dubbed it the “King Trail”). The latest video discussion from NWS San Diego reviews the summer (spoiler alert: warmest ever), and includes medium term (December) and longer term (into February) weather projections (spoiler alert: warm and dry). The Round Valley pipe is flowing. PCT Mile 177). The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway has reopened at reduced capacity, limited days, and shortened hours. If you have found this Report useful, please consider visiting the Donate page. This past weekend was the best air quality this month, but it has subsequently deteriorated again somewhat in the past couple of days (but remains better now than earlier in September). One of the San Bernardino National Forest partially reopened on 9th October the northern and Springs. 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