100 Classic Hikes in Southern California
by Allen Riedel (The Mountaineers Books)
© Allen Riedel/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
This is one of my favorite routes. The Devils Slide section is a 2.5 mile climb (or decent) between 6500ft and 8100ft, with the lower half being steeper than the upper half. Once you reach Saddle Junction (8100ft level), it's a fairly flat 700ft climb over the next 1.8 or so miles to Tahquitz Peak. Stop by the Tahquitz Peak Fire Lookout while you're there and enjoy the great views all around - especially to the west and south.
In addition to the alternate route back suggested by the previous reviewer, you can also make this a circular route back to Humber Park by going down South Ridge Trail and working your way over to the bottom of Ernie Maxwell Trail, then hiking back up Ernie Maxwell Trail to Humber Park. This circular route is roughly 4.5 miles up to Tahquitz Peak, almost 3.6 miles down to the bottom of South Ridge Trail, then another 4.5-5.0 miles across and up to Humber Park (total distance of 12.5-13.0 miles). Then again, if you can handle that distance, you might be experienced enough to not need this info from me anyway. Make sure you stop by the Ranger station in Idyllwild to get a permit (free) and an adventure pass, if needed, before hitting any of these trails.
An amazing trail- a must do! More of a moderate hike than a strenous hike- even with the 2300 ft elevation gain. After you get to Saddle Junction it flattens out. An option to make this a loop and only add 1/2 a mile- take the Tahquitz Valley trail back from the PCT junction just before the peak. It is well worth it.
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