San Bernardino Mountain Trails
100 Hikes in Southern California
John Robinson and David Money Harris
978-0-89997-807-9 | 9780899978079
0-89997-807-X | 089997807X
30 per carton
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Southern California's highest and most rugged mountains are in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto ranges, in a unique region where desert cactus and pine trees, plus snow-capped peaks and palm oases, are found in close proximity. With the Pacific Crest Trail weaving its way through the mountains and desert, there are endless opportunities to explore Southern California trails.
After more than 40 years in print, San Bernardino Mountain Trails remains the bible for Southern California hikers. This updated guide by veteran hiker and author David Money Harris contains new trips as well as old favorites — 100 hikes that traverse San Bernardino National Forest, the Santa Rosa Mountains, and the San Jacinto Mountains.
This edition brings John Robinson’s classic guide up to date with the latest trail conditions. Eight old trails, especially in areas that have become overgrown after fire damage, have been replaced with recently built or more heavily used trails.
San Bernardino Mountain Trails is noted for its comprehensive coverage of the San Bernardino, San Jacinto, and Santa Rosa Mountains and its meticulously researched history of the ranges.
Hike Length: 5 miles round trip; 1900’ elevation loss and gain
Topo map: Lake Fulmor, San Jacinto Peak (both 7.5’), San Jacinto Wilderness (Tom Harrison)
The North Fork of the San Jacinto River cuts a deep swath down the west slope of the range. Melting snows and gushing springs high on the western ramparts of San Jacinto Peak nourish the several streams that join to become the North Fork; then the united waters tumble down the broad, V-shaped chasm to join with the South Fork, just above the San Jacinto Valley. A green canopy of fir, pine, cedar, and oak shades the stream for most of its length. This trip drops into the lonely middle reaches of the North Fork via the old Webster Trail, named for David G. Webster, pioneer rancher at Valle Vista in the San Jacinto Valley, who drove cattle up to high pasture on this path in the 1870s and ‘80s. Helen Hunt Jackson patterned her character Merrill in
Ramona after Webster, whom she met while researching conditions of Native Americans in the San Jacinto Valley.
This is an ideal outing for a cool winter or spring day. You start under Jeffrey pines and live oaks, drop down slopes covered with chaparral, swiftly growing back after a fire, and reach a secluded part of the creek, spotted with tall pines, oaks, and alders. Try it after a rain, when the streams run full and the aroma of damp chaparral perfumes the air. Allow plenty of time for the return trip—it’s all uphill.
From Pine Cove at the Shell station on State Highway 243, 3 miles from Idyllwild and just north of mile marker 247 RIV 7.25, turn west on Pine Cove Road and follow it for 0.8 mile as it curves north to a junction with Forest Roads 5S09 and 5S10. Turn sharp left (southwest) on 5S10 and continue to a junction at the Lia Hona Lodge. Turn right and descend 0.9 mile on a fair dirt road to the beginning of the Webster Trail, indicated by a wooden sign on the right. Park in the adjacent clearing (GPS SB63).
Follow the trail west as it descends the ridge, first through an open forest of Jeffrey pine and oak, then through dense chaparral. Your view is superb if the day is clear—across velvet-coated foothills to the flat expanse of the San Jacinto Valley. The dirt road you see climbing the next ridge south is part of the old Hemet-Idyllwild control road, used from 1910 to 1929, one-way traffic only. Where the slope begins to descend more steeply as it nears the gorge, the trail makes one long switchback south and reaches the cool waters of the North Fork, 2.5 miles from the start.
After your streamside rest amid sylvan greenery, return the way you came—all uphill now.