San Jacinto (via Marion Mountain trail)

Peak Name: Mt. San Jacinto
Distance: 12.1 miles
Date: August 13, 2017
Summit: 10,834 feet

So I decided to take a break from the 100 Peak Challenge and go for a big peak. San Jacinto was the closest of the Six-Pack of Peaks (another challenge I am considering for 2018). I opted to start at the Marion Mountain trailhead near Idyllwild. This route a steep, relentlessly climbing over 4,600 feet in just 5.7 miles.

I trekked along, climbing ever steadily. The trail was mostly empty. I encounter just a few hikers along the way. A helicopter passed overhead. I watch, hoping that no one needed its assistance. After a few minutes, it flew off. I took a short breather at Little Round Valley.

Soon I had reached the emergency hut. I could almost start to smell the summit. After a brief boulder scramble, I had reached the top!

I rested a bit, taking in the view. Took the obligatory sign selfie as well. Some of the other hikers milling around were interns from JPL. We chatted a bit about their experiences. Some knew my friends who work there. But I knew I had a long trek back down and said goodbye.

As began down the trail, my hips began to feel the effects of the steepness. My pace began to slow, as I descended. It was then I released truly how steep this trail was. I finally made it back to the car, and once the phone charged up some, I checked in with my wife who was starting to worry.


I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea-kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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