If you’ve hiked up a peak many times before, taking a new route to the top keeps the adventure fresh. That was my goal as I hiked Mount San Jacinto via the Devil’s Slide Trail from Humber Park in Idyllwild.
I’ve been up Mount San Jacinto more times than I can remember, and I’ve hiked from Humber Park, but I hadn’t combined the two. For my fourth time taking the SoCal Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge, this provided the fresh scenery I was looking for.
Getting to the Trailhead
The hike begins in Idyllwild’s Humber Park. An Adventure Pass is required to park, and a wilderness permit for hiking to the summit can be picked up from the ranger station in Idyllwild. There’s quite a bit of parking here, but it is a popular trailhead for hikers, climbers and backpackers that fills up on the weekends, so get there early.
Hiking Mount San Jacinto via Devils Slide
The trail begins at the southeast corner of the Humber Park parking area. As always, check the information board for any notices and warnings about the trail conditions before heading out.
The Devils Slide Trail climbs about 2,000 vertical feet over 2.5 miles. The trail itself is well-engineered, with a steady climb that is best enjoyed before the sunlight hits it later in the day. As you climb, pause to take in the views of Suicide and Taquitz Rock on opposite sides of the valley.
The trail levels off at Saddle Junction, and this is a good place to regroup and take a break. There are several trails that converge at this junction, so look carefully for the PCT trail and signs for Wellmans Divide and Mount San Jacinto before taking off.
Over the next 2+ miles you will be on a section of the famed 2600 mile Pacific Crest Trail. If you hike this in May, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter thru-hikers making their way from the Mexican border to Canada.
At 5.45 miles you reach Wellman’s Divide, just 2.3 miles from the summit. This is where you meet up with the trail from Long Valley. If you’ve hiked from the tram, this spot is one of the first with a sweeping view.
The trail climbs the eastern slope of Mt San Jacinto, switching back to a saddle where the Marion Mountain Trail joins before heading past the stone shelter and the final boulder scramble to the summit.
Even on a weekday, it’s not uncommon to run into other hikers, even other Six-Pack of Peaks Challengers. And as John Muir said, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”
The peak is a great place to rest and refuel. Remember that this is the halfway point of your hike, so be sure you’ve saved enough energy for the hike back down.
Mt San Jacinto via Humber Park Trail Map & Elevation Profile
Mount San Jacinto Resources
- As with any trip in the wilderness, carry the ten essentials and follow the Leave No Trace principles.
- There is a seasonal spring below Wellman’s Divide, but I recommend that you don’t rely on that. Bring enough water for the full hike.
- The Devils Slide trailhead can be reached at Humber Park, at 24559 Fern Valley Road, Idyllwild, CA 92549.
- You must display an Adventure Pass in your car.
- Free, self-service permits are required for day hikes, obtainable at the Ranger Station in Idyllwild at 25905 State Highway 243
Idyllwild Weather Forecast
Originally solo hiked on September 15, 2017. All photos by Jeff Hester.
Robert Dryden says
I love going this way. Then returning down Deer Springs through Little Round Valley, Strawberry Jct and returning to Humber Park! The views from the Strawberry section back towards Tahquitz Peak are amazing!!!
Nice write-up, Jeff. This was the route we took, my first time up San Jacinto. Your advice about paying attention to the trails leading from Saddle Junction is well taken. We had gotten a late start, got to the summit late afternoon and hiked back down mostly in darkness. Really had to pay attention at Saddle Junction to get back on the Devil’s Slide Trail. All the best!
Thanks Jeff – it is cool way to get there.. I found this way few years back when I was resting at the Divide and saw a hiker coming up on a trail from this direction and told myself – when I get back I’m going to find out where this trail starts and do it. It is a fun trail getting up to the saddle and then the long stretch getting to the Divide. I have also used this trail to form a horse shoe. Go up The Marion Mountain trail and summit San Jacinto and then down to Humber park on this trail.
That looks like a great hike. I’m not a Californian, but have used your trail guides in the past when visiting.
Nice review and photos, I miss the mountains. I grew up in SoCal and this makes me want to come back for a visit. 🙂
Those are some gorgeous views and I love how it includes a short piece of the PCT. Although, it looks like today is great day to do this one super early with a weather forecast in the 90s!
My son and I did this today. Left the trail at 530am and got to the peak at 10. Trip down got real,hot.
Keith L says
Soon to be a resident of this area and visiting for the holidays I selected this ascent from the West side based on ease of parking, ranger station for registration and few trail intersections for easy navigation. This is a beautifully maintained trail that has an nice grade and wonderful views right away. I hiked this trail on 12-18-18 starting at 6:30AM with summit by 10:45AM. This left plenty of time for lunch and pictures to be back to car with lots of light left. Most of the hike was on packed snow. I could have used my crampons & poles for the trip down as the sun warmed the trail and it was slipping and sliding most of the way down. I am really looking forward to my permanent move to the area and many more hikes and backpacks of this region. Keith
Lily Rose says
Really, I love going this way. Then returning down Deer Springs through Little Round Valley, Strawberry Jct, and returning to Humber Park! The views from the Strawberry section back towards Tahquitz Peak are amazing!!!