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Discovering Idyllwild: Hiking Tahquitz Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail

8.3 Miles – Out & Back – 2,309 ft. Elevation Gain

Address: Devils Slide Trail 3E05, Devils Slide Trail, Mountain Center, CA 92561

Nestled in the picturesque San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California, the town of Idyllwild-Pine Cove beckons with its pristine wilderness and stunning vistas. One of the most rewarding hikes in the area is the journey to Tahquitz Peak. You can actually see the mountain peak in a lot of areas throughout Idyllwild. Join us as we lace up our hiking boots and walk you through the ins and outs of this trail. Here is your guide to to hiking Tahquitz Peak via the Devil’s Slide Trail.

Getting There

Idyllwild is conveniently located within a few hours’ drive from major cities like Los Angeles and San Diego (and a quick and convenient hour drive from the Coachella Valley). To reach the trailhead for Tahquitz Peak, follow Highway 243 to Idyllwild. Once in town, continue on the same highway until you reach Humber Park, which serves as the starting point for the Devil’s Slide Trail.

The Devil’s Slide Trailhead

The Devil’s Slide Trailhead is a main hub for hikers in Idyllwild and leads out to other popular trails as well. It’s important to arrive early, as parking can fill up quickly on weekends. Permits are required for hiking in the San Jacinto Wilderness, so be sure to obtain one at the trailhead kiosk.

The Ascent

The hike begins with a steady climb along the well-maintained Devil’s Slide Trail. As you ascend through pine forests, the trail offers glimpses of the surrounding mountains and the charming town of Idyllwild below. The elevation gain can be challenging, but the stunning scenery and fresh mountain air make every step worth it.

Sylvan Meadows and Lunch Rock

After about 2.5 miles of hiking, you’ll reach Sylvan Meadows, a picturesque alpine meadow with a serene stream. This is a perfect spot to take a break, enjoy a picnic, or simply soak in the natural beauty. Nearby, Lunch Rock provides an ideal resting place with panoramic views of the San Jacinto Mountains.

The Final Push to Tahquitz Peak

As you continue along the trail, you’ll encounter some switchbacks and rockier terrain. Keep an eye out for trail markers to stay on course. The final stretch to Tahquitz Peak can be a bit challenging, but the the anticipation of what awaits at the summit serves as motivation to finish.

The Summit Experience

Tahquitz Peak’s summit, at an elevation of 8,846 feet, offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding landscapes. On a clear day, you can see the Salton Sea, the Coachella Valley, and even the distant San Gabriel Mountains. The summit is also home to the historic Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout, a wooden structure built in 1937, which adds to the charm of the location.

Hiking Tips

  1. Weather Awareness: Be sure to check the weather forecast, and be prepared for temperature variations depending on the season. In the summer, temperates can range in the upper 80’s and in the winter you may experience a good amount of snow depending on the week.
  2. Hydration and Snacks: Carry enough water to stay hydrated, and pack energy-boosting snacks to keep you fueled throughout the hike.
  3. Proper Footwear: Sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support are essential for navigating rocky and uneven terrain.
  4. Leave No Trace: Follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of the wilderness.

This trail is definitely not for beginning hikers and is a pretty good accent to reach the peak. The views from the top are incredible and oh so worth it. I’d highly recommend planning a little getaway to Idyllwild-Pine Cove and taking on Tahquitz Canyon via Devil’s Slide trail while you’re visiting. Happy hiking!