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Suicide Rock

San Jacinto Wilderness

April 24th, 2014

7.3 miles
1900 vertical feet
Total Time: 5:17

Starting elevation
5496 feet
Max elevation
7456 feet

Rating: 7/10

Directions: From the Idyllwild Ranger Station, take Highway 243 north. Just after passing the Idyllwild County Park visitor's center parking lot on the left, the small dirt trailhead parking area will be on your right. There is space for about 10 cars.   View Driving Map



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GPX File

We started off by going to the Idyllwild Ranger Station, which was closed (at this time, they are closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays). However, there is a map and table outside where you can get a free wilderness permit, which is required for this hike. We got our permit and then made the short drive to the Deer Springs trailhead.

The trailhead parking area was almost completely full, but we snagged one of the last 2 remaining spots. If it was full, we could have parked in the larger area (for Idyllwild County Park) across the street a bit further back.

It was warm as we started hiking at 11:15am. We went up the path from the parking area and soon joined the main trail, which climbs steadily up. It was a hot, dusty climb; it felt like the middle of summer. Lizards were a common sighting, as were manzanita. As we climbed higher, we saw distinctive red snowplants peeking out of the ground.

Manzanita

Lizard

Despite all the cars in the lot, we didn't see a lot of people on the trail - maybe about 15-20 on the entire trip. Also, despite the fact that is was still April, we didn't see any snow in the area or on the peaks seen from the trail. Yet another dry winter.

On the trail

After about 2.5 miles of climbing we came to the junction. The views start to open up here, but we decided to stop for lunch here. There's ample shade and plenty of flat ground to find a nice picnic area, though not a lot of rocks or logs to sit on.

Junction

After lunch, we took the right fork toward Suicide Rock; the left fork heads toward Little Round Valley and Mt. San Jacinto Peak. After 1.4 more miles of climbing, we curved around the edge of Suicide Rock and then reached the southeastern edge where we stopped. There was one other hiker nearby, but we otherwise had the place to ourselves. From here we had great views of Tahquitz Peak to the southeast, Idyllwild below, and the surrounding mountains and forest. There was still no snow in sight, even on the highest peaks.

Panoramic from Suicide Rock
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Tahquitz Peak from Suicide Rock

Looking down at Idyllwild

After enjoying the views, we headed back the way we came, back to the junction, then continued downhill back to the parking area. Having left Suicide Rock at 2:45pm, we got back to the parking area in about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Heading back down

Snowplant

Heading back down through the forest

Manzanita


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