Palms to Pines Scenic Drive: Banning to Palm Desert Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"A sixty-six-mile-long, two-lane highway that climbs from Banning over the scenic San Jacinto Mountains and down into Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley. The Palms to Pines Highway, following California highways 243 and 74, is exactly that—a sinuous sixty-six-mile-long highway that climbs from the palm-studded lowlands of the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs to lofty pine forests that cling to the steep, rocky slopes of the San Jacinto Mountains. The San Jacintos are the northernmost sierra in the Peninsular Range, a long chain of mountains that extends southward to the tip of Mexico’s Baja California. The San Jacintos present an immense front to the east that forms one of North America’s tallest mountain escarpments—over 10,000 vertical feet lies between 458-foot-high Palm Springs and the windswept summit of 10,804-foot San Jacinto Peak. This huge difference in elevation makes a drive into the San Jacintos a telescoped journey from Mexico’s Sonoran Desert ecosystems to the subalpine forests and Arctic tundra of northern Canada perched along the range crest. Special attractions: San Bernardino National Forest, Mount San Jacinto State Park, San Jacinto Wilderness Area, Idyllwild, Lake Hemet, Santa Rosa Wilderness Area, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, scenic overlooks, hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, fishing, boating. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more."