Section B

Tough conditions between Montezuma Valley Rd and Hwy 74

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By: Shawnté
February 20th, 2024

I hiked between Montezuma Valley Rd & Hwy 74 this weekend and wanted to share about an issue just north of Combs Peak. Starting around MM 129.3, just after the turnoff for the use trail most people use to access the peak, the trail is in pretty poor condition for the better part of a mile, with vegetation essentially knitted together across what’s left of disintegrating tread in places (worst spots are on northern aspects & gullies). There are a few fallen logs in here, but they’re fairly easily negotiable. It’s the combo, however, of the extreme overgrowth plus lack of tread in spots, that’s my main concern…in a few places, I was essentially walking on top of snow-covered bushes that obscured what was once the trail, my foot occasionally punching through to air – really not my idea of fun or safe trail! It’ll probably be easier to assess once the remainder of the snow is melted, but the tread is pretty severely slipped in a few spots, and having to fight the bushes while trying to find solid foot placements is quite difficult.

As a whole, that next stretch up to Highway 74 seems like it hasn’t been maintained in quite a while – there’s quite a bit of overgrowth, including catclaw that was hard to avoid in spots, although it’s just mostly annoying, not sketchy like that segment near Combs. I think those spots north of Combs are a bit of a safety hazard for hikers, and probably aren’t the safest for equestrians.

Large Hole On Trail

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By: Anitra Kass
January 10th, 2024

At approximately mile 205.4 (about .4 trail south of the water fountain) a large hole has developed in the trail. This hole is about waist deep on me (I’m 5’4″) and dropped into a small rock cavern. It is very easy to spot and get around for hikers but would prove challenging for equestrians especially if coming down hill. Please be careful.

Washouts

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By: Don Line
October 12th, 2023

Snow Creek Road to north of Interstate 10. While this section of trail is passable, it contains numerous washouts. Some to step over and many to walk around. Numerous posts have been washed away.

San Jacinto Mountains Highway Safety Re- Route.

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By: Andy Smith (USFS)
April 4th, 2023

If you’re planning on skipping the northbound section from Highway74 and want to go directly go into the town of Idyllwild please read the following. Highway 74 and 243, beyond Herkey Creek Campground are extremely unsafe roads for hikers!

Either find a ride from Paradise Corner Cafe or start your re- route at Herkey Creek Campground, past Lake Hemet on Highway 74. At the back of the campground is an old roadbed the follows the creek, continue on the trail and you will see it go up towards the left. After another mile, it will bring you to May Valley Road which is dirt. Stay to the left in the fork of the road and continue approximately 3.5 miles until it brings you to Saunders Meadow Road. Go right on Saunders Meadow which will bring you into the town of Idyllwild.

Steep and dangerous snow on San Jacinto and throughout the mountains of SoCal

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By: Jack Haskel - PCTA Trail Information Manager
March 24th, 2023

There is steep, dangerous snow along the PCT on Mount San Jacinto, and in the mountains further north all the way to Canada.

If you don’t have previous steep snow experience, please seriously consider whether it’s a good idea for you to hike where snow is on the ground. Hikers in the past have died, and more have been seriously injured. There are many close calls on the trail in the area every year before the snow melts.

In 2020, Trevor Laher died after falling on snow during his thru-hike. Please read his father’s call for safety.

The specific snow and ice conditions change frequently. And people’s skill levels, equipment, fitness and risk tolerance also varies. Just because someone else did it, doesn’t mean you’ll be fine. Some PCT hikers are skilled mountaineers, some are beginner wilderness travelers.

Think conservatively and make sure you will be hiking in conditions comfortable for you.

Excerpt from our “When to hike the PCT” page:

“Don’t be fooled by “the desert.” The PCT often crosses high, seasonally snow-covered mountains in Southern California. You’ll pass ski resorts. Between each mountain range, the trail drops to low elevations and is usually snow-free. Higher elevations typically become snow-covered in the winter, possibly by late October or November, but sometimes not until January. Snow can remain an obstacle into early May, and new snow has been known to fall on Memorial Day weekend. Winter snow is usually deepest in the San Jacinto mountains above Idyllwild (widely, but especially Apache Peak, Antsell Rock, and Fuller Ridge), the San Bernardino mountains above Big Bear (especially south of Coon Creek Jumpoff), and the San Gabriel mountains along the Angeles Crest Highway near Wrightwood (especially on Mount Baden-Powell). At the southern end, Mount Laguna above San Diego gets periodic winter snow. On the northern end, the Piute Mountains between Tehachapi and Walker Pass can regularly be snow covered.”