Skyline Trail (Cactus to Clouds)

Posted by Adventure 16 | 06.02.2016

Cactus to Clouds 22-Mile Hike--May 14, 2016
by Ryan Mackenzie (A16 San Diego Assistant Manager) & Sierra ter Veer, (A16 San Diego Sales Associate)


Sna Diego Store Employees ryan McKenzie and Sierra Ter VeerSan Jacinto Survey Marker

Ryan & Sierra at the Summit                                                                    Mt. San Jacinto Survey Marker
RYAN MACKENZIE: This was an absolutely grueling day hike. Considered to be the 5th most difficult day hike in the continental US because of the 10,000ft elevation gain. My group and I drove through the night and arrived in Palm Springs around 1am and then began the hike at 1:30am. We were able to escape the extreme heat of Palm Springs before the sun came up due to the elevation gained.

After stopping for lunch at the tramway we continued on towards the peak. Near 3pm we summited Mt. San Jacinto and then began our trip back and rode the tram down as the sun was setting. It was amazing looking down at the desert from the mountains and knowing that we had walked up all of it.

My favorite piece of gear was my Osprey Talon 33L daypack. A close 2nd was my Darn Tough socks that helped prevent my feet from getting any blisters.

Panoramic view from San Jacinto Summit
Panoramic view from San Jacinto's summit


SIERRA TER VEER: We started hiking from Palm Springs at the base of Mt. San Jacinto around 1:30 AM. We gained 8,000 ft of elevation in the first 8 or so miles and reached the tram station at 10:00 AM.

After a lunch break we continued to the San Jacinto summit and hiked back down to the tram station by around 6 or 7. It was a total of about 10,500 ft of elevation gain, it took about 15 hours, and it was definitely the hardest day hike I have ever done. The views and the feeling of accomplishment made it well worth the effort.

My favorite piece of gear on the hike were my black diamond trekking poles. I usually don't hike with poles but they made a huge difference on this particular hike. I'd say the best time to go is the middle of fall or middle of spring. When we started the hike on May 14th at 1:30 it was still 77 degrees farhenheit in Palm Springs. 

At the Trail of Sky Line trailLooking down the Trail on the way up
At the trailhead                                                                                                                       Looking down from where we came