Ernie Maxwell Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Hike through a peaceful forest, crossing streams on an easy trail suited for families. This is a good hike for those interested in botany—many species of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers can be observed along the trail. The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, named for the late Idyllwild conservationist, is often proclaimed to be the best and easiest introduction to hiking in the Idyllwild region. This is certainly true—the trail’s gentle elevation gain is spread out over 2.5 miles, making the uphill walk barely noticeable. Nestled under a lovely forest canopy of pine, cedar, and oak, the setting is sublime and shady. Several small creeks cross the trail and sustain the region’s flora and fauna."
--Alleen Riedel, Best Easy Day Hikes: Riverside (Falcon Guides).
"The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is a great introduction to Idyllwild hiking and the San Jacinto Mountains. Children and hikers of all ages will enjoy the views, the shady forest, and the gentle trip to Humber Park and back."
--Allen Riedel and Monique Riedel, Best Hikes Near Los Angeles (Falcon Guides).
"The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail commemorates the founder of the Idyllwild Town Crier newspaper and long-time conservationist who greatly influenced the town of Idyllwild. This pleasant trail through the forest above town is a good place to take a stroll while visiting town."
--David & Jennifer Money Harris, Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire (Wilderness Press).
"This is an ideal family trip—climbing gently most of the way. The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, named for the late Idyllwild conservationist and former editor of the Town Crier, contours along the mountainside above Strawberry Valley from Saunders Meadow to Humber Park. This easygoing footpath lives up to its name, winding through rich stands of pine, ?r, and oak, with superb vistas over the densely wooded valley to the granite spurs of Marion Ridge. In spring, wild?owers add a beautiful sprinkling of color. It is a ?tting introduction to the Idyllwild country."
--John W. Robinson with David Money Harris, 100 Hikes in Southern California: San Bernardino Mountain Trails (Wilderness Press).
This is one of the more popular trails in Idyllwild, primarily because it is wooded (lots of shade on a hot day) and scenic (a pleasant meandering with occasional views of the valley and mountains around) and because it is a relatively easy trail compared to others in the area. Don't mistake that for being an easy trail – just easy relatively. It's "only" 675 feet of elevation gain – not as much as most of the trails appear. Also, it's got some rocky, technical parts that, for at least two hikers I know, have proven to be ankle breakers. As a trail runner, I've gone horizontal myself out there on Ernie, once on a root, once on a rock. So, go lightly and enjoy! Also note, the trail is less about the destination and more about the journey; there is no great ooh-ah spot at the end, just a serene and meditative experience all along the way, including several easily-crossed streams (most of which are dry except after a rain).
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