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Idyllwild Rides

Deer Springs Trail to top of Suicide Rock   – 6.6 miles taking 3 ½ hours or so with lunch at the top of Suicide Rock. Trail starts through manzanita grove becoming more forested. At top of Suicide Rock, phenomenal vistas in all directions. Starts at 5600 ft elevation, climbing to 6900 at the trail junction, ending at 7500 at the top.

Permit required: Get permit at State Park offices located on Hwy 243 just as leaving Idyllwild toward Pine Cove on your left. Park rigs on the right side of Hwy 243 to walk in (not enough room for rigs in parking lot). Proceed north on Hwy 243 to the Nature Center about 1 mile on your left. Turn into drive, parking off pavement on left and/or proceed around to right and park on right alongside “island” with trash barrels and downed tree. If parking is not available, may park in wide area along highway (not as desirable) and you may need an Adventure Pass. Probably good idea to use Adventure Pass or Golden Age card regardless.

Trailhead is across the highway (pass by on either end wood railing along other side of highway). Take care in crossing especially on your return; listen for traffic as there is not good line-of-sight coming back.

  • Follow trail, wide at first and then narrows as turns to the right after about 400 yds.
  • After passing sign “entering San Jacinto State Park” up a little bit there are two foot paths out to vistas that are a nice family hike destination.
  • Trail has some technical footing but no drop offs. Good for green stock and people who don’t like heights.
  • At 2.3 miles turn right to Suicide Rock. Just before trail intersection has nice places for picnic.
  • Trail is less steep incline but has some drop offs. Just before a stream crossing, there is a narrow rock crossing that we suggest you dismount and lead horse across. Water available almost always. Nice area to dismount and mount on each side of rock.
  • Proceed to top of rock (all dirt) bearing right to a cluster of small trees suitable for tying horses.
  • Walk out on rock top (explore a bit) to have lunch-with-a-view.
  • Return same way you came remembering to dismount just past stream crossing to lead over rock.

Water reliably at stream crossing on way to Suicide Rock, and also early in the season at a trail crossing lower on the trail which has lovely azaleas in early June.

Deer Springs to Strawberry Cienega down Devil's Slide  - 13 miles 5+ hours depending on speed and lunch stop time. This ride requires leaving a vehicle at Humber Park to take back to your rig/s at the Nature Center parking area. Trail has spectacular vistas, a mini-Yosemite feel to it, climbing approximately 4000 feet elevation. Crossing the Strawberry Cienega, the spring origins high on the mountain for Strawberry Creek is very special, a world of its own.

Follow directions for Deer Springs Trail to Suicide Rock Ride above. You may take the option of going out to Suicide Rock (mileage includes the 2 mile Suicide Rock option), then continue up Deer Springs to intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Turn right on the PCT (South). There is a nice area for lunch up the trail a bit off to the right. Continue south on the PCT across Strawberry Cienega where you'll find water for your horse. Continue to trail intersection bearing right to stay south on PCT to Saddle Junction. Turn right to go down Devil's Slide to Humber Park.

This ride is relatively dry (water on trail out to Suicide Rock and crossing Strawberry Cienega) with a long climb. Only for horses in excellent condition.

Meadow Loop    - 16 miles 5+ hours depending on speed and lunch stop time. Trail has beautiful vistas, meadows, forests with ferns, azaleas in June and early July. Elevation goes from around 6200 feet at Humber Park to 8500 at intersection to Tahquitz Peak. Saddle Junction is at 8100 feet.

Permit is required: Get at USFS Ranger Station on Pinecrest near corner of Hwy 243 in Idyllwild. Permits for Devil’s Slide Trail are limited to a certain number each day. If you haven’t been able to get one ahead of time by contacting theRanger Station, go to their office a bit before 8:00 a.m. on the day you wish to go to get one.

Park at Humber Park staging area which is located at the end of Fern Valley Road. Follow signs to Humber Park from Idyllwild.

  • Go up Devil’s Slide Trail (2.5 miles) to the Saddle Junction.
  • From the Saddle, take trail marked to Willow.
  • Go .5 mile and take first trail “Skunk Cabbage” to the right.
  • Go .6 mile and at next trail intersection you could take a shorter loop by going right which takes you back to the Saddle and back down Devil’s Slide.
  • Otherwise continue on (signs to Tahquitz Peak) .8 mile to Tahquitz Valley (meadow with stream running through). Wonderful rocks just past stream crossing for a lunch stop. DO NOT GRAZE horses in the meadow.
  • Continue past intersection with Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) south. You’ll now be on PCT north. Go to intersection with trail to Tahquitz Peak.
  • Nice views if you go just a bit up the trail toward the Peak (see the knob top of Lily Rock). Option to continue up to Tahquitz Peak (.4 mile). Shear drop offs, dramatic views.
  • Turn north on PCT 1.4 miles back to the Saddle.
  • Back down Devil’s Slide to Humber Park.

Water for horses: Some seasonal streams cross Devil’s Slide depending on rainfall. Almost always (only once in last 30 years dry), water in a “bowl” at Jolly Spring half way up/down Devil's Slide. Water in Tahquitz Valley stream almost always. Willows Crossing is a reliable source for water if other areas are dry and worth the extra trip if horses need water.

Wellman's Ciegega and Tram Ride      This is an all day, up to 8-9 hours total with stops, technical and challenging for horses in spots. Only for experienced and conditioned horses and riders.

Starting at Humber Park, take Devil's Slide trail as the beginning of the Meadow Loop Ride above.

  • At the Saddle Junction, turn left going south on the PCT.
  • Turn right toward Wellman's Cienega, a spectacular world within itself.
  • Take signs to Round Valley. The trail goes down, is very rocky in spots. Round Valley nice for watering horses and a rest stop.
  • Continue on to Long Valley and the tram from Palm Springs. Some portions of the trail require stock to go off trail around large rocks and obstacles.
  • Tie horses at old Forest Service corrals and walk up concrete path to tram.
  • Have lunch, ice cream, beer looking over the desert below.
  • Exit trail toward Willow Crossing (always water), back through fern meadows to Saddle Junction.
  • Back down Devil's Slide Trail to Humber Park
Scenic Trail      Starting at Humber Park, Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail drops gently down connecting with Taquitz View Drive (dirt road). The trail starts in the lower section of Humber Park; trail sign is on a tree. This is a nice "warm up" ride. How far you go is up to you as it is an out and back trail (unless you go up South Ridge Trail to Tahquitz Peak and then back down Devil's Slide which would take all day). The trail in a short distance crosses a creek and then follows a degraded (very narrow) piece of trail for a short bit before turning a corner and widening out. Some equestrians may wish to get off and walk that section of trail. Once meeting the road you have several options. You may go left up the road and then continue on Scenic Trail down when it takes off the road in a short distance or go on up the road to its intersection with the road up to the South Ridge staging area. A trail parallels the dirt road in places. From the staging area, it is nice to continue up the trail as far as "lunch rock", an area with spectalar views, before the climb up to Tahquitz Peak. However far you go out is as far as there is to return to Humber Park.