Awesome SoCal Day Hike within Hours from LA
If you’re looking for a great hike within a couple hours drive of Los Angeles, definitely consider heading to Idyllwild! I decided to get away for a weekend and decided to tackle Tahquitz Peak along the Devil’s Slide Trail.
According to AllTrails, this hike is considered Moderate. However, I’d say it’s moderate bordering strenuous. I am a moderate hiker and yeah, your heart will be pumping right from the start. Luckily, 90% of the trail is shaded! And the temperature through the mountain this past weekend was so lovely – it was perfect hiking conditions. To mentally prepare yourself, i’s about a 2.3k foot elevation gain and about 8.1 miles round-trip.
We started the hike around 9:40 AM (a little late), and there was light traffic. Met some friendly, interesting people, pet some cute dogs! We reached the peak in about 2.5 hours, and it took about 1.5 hours to trek back down. The trail on the way up is amazing, such great views all the way and the path isn’t just plain dirt. There’s steep areas and some rocky steps here and there just to change it up a little from the boring dirt trail.
Stopping at Saddle Junction, there’s quite a few paths, including the trailhead to San Jacinto peak. Everyone is so friendly and helpful! You can take a well-deserved break, chat with some fellow hikers and eat some lunch. It also follows along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), so you might hear some amazing adventure stories!
I may not be the most avid hiker, but I really enjoyed this hike. Taquitz Peak has officially kicked my butt into becoming a summit chaser! The last .2 miles, where you can just FEEL the peak in every step, is the most steep. But don’t get discouraged!
Once we got to the top, we saw the ranger station (which was, unfortunately, closed), took a few Instagram-worthy photos and settled in for a nice packed lunch. Once we left, the weather was noticeably warmer. And the worst part, most of the shade had disappeared and seeing people just starting the trail at 1PM left me feeling some pity. To avoid that situation, I suggest starting earlier in the morning (at least an hour earlier than I did), having lunch at the top and making your way back down before the day gets too warm for comfort.
After absorbing each foot of elevation, I was elated to receive those views of Idyllwild as a reward at the top. I definitely recommend this hike for all levels! I feel accomplished having done this and consider it one of my recent personal achievements. Next time I’m in Mt. San Jacinto State Park, I would love to tackle San Jacinto Peak! 🙂 Thanks, Nature.
Note: don’t forget your day-use wilderness permit and Adventure Pass! On the way down, rangers were checking hikers for permits. Pick one up at the Ranger Station right off Pine Crest Ave.