Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Highpoint Trip Report

Date: August 22, 2005
Author: Bill Jacobs

Gary Suttle’s book and the trip reports are a little thin on info regarding the Tram route, the preferred course of travel for those into minimal effort.

For driving directions and Tram operating hours, check their website, call 888-515-TRAM, or E-mail them.

The Tram begins operations at 10:00 AM on weekdays and 8:00 AM on weekends. The cost is $20.00, a smidgen less for seniors.

Once on top, descend a quarter of a mile down to the Ranger Station (951-659-2607) for a "wilderness permit". Unlike San Gorgonio Peak, across Banning Pass and a few dozen miles to the north, there appears to be no limitation on the number of daily permits issued. For a buck you can purchase a hiking map of the San Jacinto Wilderness. It gives an overview of the Wilderness trail system but some of the data are suspect: trail mileages do not correspond with trail sign distances and the Jean Peak elevation near San Jacinto Peak listed as 200 feet below the elevation shown on the topo maps.

From the Tram, San Jacinto Peak is about six miles and 2,400 feet of elevation gain. At Round Valley Camp the trial takes a 90-degree turn to the left immediately after crossing a creek - there was still water in it on August 22, 2005. If you re-cross the creek in another 100 feet you will know you are on the correct path. I found three hikers who had missed the turn and were bushwhacking through the brambles in a nearby ravine.

Nothing beats a post-hike epicurean delight than an In-N-Out burger. You can find such a gourmet treat at the Palm Springs intersection Roman and I-10.