|The Seven Summits of San Jacinto|
- San Jacinto Peak (10,834'/3302m)
- Jean Peak (10,670'/3252m)
- Folly Peak (10,480'+/3194m+)
- Shirley Peak (10,388'/3166m)
- Marion Mountain (10,362'+/3158m+)
- Newton Drury Peak (10,160'+/3097m+)
- Miller Peak (10,000'+/3048m+)
1. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has not specified an exact height for every peak. The height of peaks whose exact height is not known is listed as the height of the last highest contour interval on the map followed by a plus ("+") sign.
2. An exact height is listed for a point on Marion Mountain is specified by the USGS, but the specified point is NOT the highest physical point on the mountain. Therefore the height of Marion Mountain is listed as the height of the highest point with a known elevation followed by a plus ("+") sign. See Is Marion Mountain "Wrong?" for further information.
3. There may be some controversy as to whether or not Shirley Peak and Miller Peak are truly peaks since they barely rise above their adjoining saddles. However, since these names are in common use, I list them as peaks here.
4. Shirley Peak is an unofficially named peak. In other words, the name "Shirley" has not been officially recognized by the USGS Board of Geographic Names. Herein, I use the name "Shirley Peak" since it is the name commonly used for that topographic feature even though the name is not official.
This past July 4 weekend, I set out to climb all seven. There are half a dozen or more trails that one could use to access the area that contains the seven summits.
|Trails that reach the high country of the San Jacinto Mountains|
Red: Deer Springs Trail, parts of which are the route of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
Green: Marion Mountain Trail
Lavender: Seven Pines Trail
Dark Blue: Trail to Wellman Divide from Saddle Junction, parts of which are the route of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
White: Strawberry Trail, all of which is part of the PCT
Black: Tamarack Trail which is no longer maintained
Light Blue: Main trail to San Jacinto Peak from Round Valley via Wellman Divide
For this hike, I choose to start on the Seven Pines Trail since it had been some time since I had hiked that trail.
|Trailhead sign, Seven Pines Trail|
The trail is a lovely trail for the most part, passing through mixed oak and conifer woodlands.
|The Seven Pines Trail, before the first crossing|
|One of many downed trees on the Seven Pines Trail|
|State Park boundary sign on the Seven Pines Trail|
|Seven Pines Trail, first crossing of the N Fork of the San Jacinto River|
|A Mariposa Lilly on the Seven Pines Trail|
|A Lemon Lilly at the second crossing of the N Fork|
|More beautiful Lemon Lillies on the Seven Pines Trail|
|Junction with the Deer Springs Trail|
Very close by, one can see the sign for the Marion Mountain Trail. The Seven Pines and Marion Mountain Trails join the Deer Springs Trail in almost the same location.
|Trail sign for the nearby Marion Mountain Trail|
|Deer Springs Crossing was dry on July 5, 2013.|
|Using a sierra cup to gather water from a very small pool.|
Having resupplied with water, it was time to leave the trail and head up toward my first peak, Marion Mountain. I had some general information about a relatively brush free route that would lead me up to Marion Mountain from Deer Springs Crossing. I wasn't sure exactly which gully was the right one, but seeing a lack of brush in the right hand gully above Deer Springs Crossing, I headed up.
|Heading up the right hand gully that leads up from Deer Springs Crossing|
|I crossed to the right side of the drainage at this large boulder|
As I ascended, I got into increasingly coniferous terrain, and I had some good views to the north of the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
|San Gorgonio Mountain as seen from the flanks of Marion Mountain|
|Nearing the summit of Marion Mountain|
|Tahquitz Peak (8846'/2696m)|
|Summit bloc of Marion Mountain. Route indicated in red.|
|Start of the ascent route to gain the top of the summit bloc of Marion Mountain|
|Vertical crack leading to the top of the summit bloc of Marion Mountain|
|The high country of the San Jacinto Mountains|
|Descending the vertical crack on Marion Mountain|
|Flats between Marion and Shirley Peaks|
|Summit bloc of Marion Mountain. Ascent route marked in red.|
|Summit bloc, Shirley Peak|
|Tahquitz Valley from Shirley Peak|
|The summit register on Shirley Peak lists the name "LePake".|
Perhaps Mr. or Ms. LePake is a friend or loved one of the first three people in the register?
|The summit of Jean Peak|
At this point I was running low on water and I had heard of a brush free route that I wanted to try, so rather than staying on the summit ridge, I went looking for a route down to Wellman Divide. This looked rather promising:
|The start of my route down from Jean Peak to Wellman Divide|
|Flat area above Wellman Divide|
|Wellman Cienega (north branch)|
|Commemorative plaque on Miller Peak|
|Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Mountain Station, as seen from Miller Peak|
|Jean Peak from Miller Peak|
|Leatherneck Ridge and desert from Miller Peak|
|Heading up the east ridge of San Jacinto Peak|
|The old east ridge trail|
|The summit of San Jacinto Peak|
|Cross country route (class 2) to Folly Peak from San Jacinto Peak|
|Looking north into the Snow Creek drainage.|
|Pinnacle on the north face of Folly Peak|
|San Jacinto high country from vicinity Folly Peak|
|San Jacinto Peak from Folly Peak|
|Looking west from the summit of Folly Peak|
|Traversing to Newton Drury Peak which can be seen behind the trees to the right.|
|Ascending Newton Drury Peak|
|World's toughest little tree|
|Little Round Valley Ranger Station|
|The creek in Little Round Valley. Dry on 7/7/2013.|
|Water in Little Round Valley. Can you spot the little bird taking a bath?|
|Nice, new trail sign at Little Round Valley|
|Lemon Lillies, near Lilly Spring on the Deer Springs Trail|
|Shooting Starts, Lilly Spring|
|Mountain Rhododendron, Lilly Spring|
|Massive Rock near Folly Peak|
|Trail sign on the Deer Springs Trail for the Fuller Ridge Trail.|
Shortly after passing the Fuller Ridge Trail junction, I returned from whence I came, the Seven Pines Trail, which I then followed back to my car.
I hope you've enjoyed this little peak bagging trip in that most favored of Southern California mountain ranges, the San Jacintos.
Appendix I. Overall Route Map.
|Overall route map. First section in green. Second section in blue.|
I did the above described trip as a backpacking trip, staying overnight. I had wanted to hike the Seven Pines Trail, explore several routes, and investigate some water sources in addition to bagging the seven summits. However, there's no reason a fit person couldn't do all seven summits in a single day, given a sufficiently early start and a good knowledge of the area and the routes thereof. Below, I list a map that might be the route for such a one day attempt on all seven summits.
|Route for the Seven Summits to be done in one day.|
The route down from Jean Peak is shown as a dotted line because there are several options. The most logical route would be to descend north from Jean to the saddle between San Jacinto and Jean and from there drop down to the Tamarack Trail which would then be used to return to the tram. I have not done the route down from Jean-San Jacinto Saddle, but I've talked to people who have, and I understand it's class 2 and quite doable.
Alternatively, one could proceed to the small saddle where the trail from Little Round Valley meets the summit trail and the trail from Wellman Divide. One could then proceed down the main trail back to the Tamarack trale and then back to the tram. This route would take longer but might offer some advantage if one were tired and not desirous of trying the class two route down from Jean-San Jacinto Saddle.
Lastly, one could retrace one's steps a bit and follow the route that leads down to Wellman Divide. From Wellman Divide one could proceed down the main trail to Round Valley and from Round Valley back to the tram. If one felt that one would be out after dark for the last sections of the trip, this route down well maintained trails might offer some advantage.
I think it's only a matter of time before someone successfully does all seven summits in 24 hours. The more difficult challenge would be to not use the tram, using some other trailhead instead. The most difficult challenge would be to start in Palm Springs and use the Skyline Trail to hike to Grubbs Notch and then do the seven summits. This would be the renowned "Cactus to Clouds" challenge with six extra summits thrown in, a challenge not to be taken lightly!