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Spitler Peak Out and Back

Difficult

Trail

10.7 mile 17.3 kilometer out and back
81% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,577' 785 m
Descent: -2,577' -785 m
High: 7,493' 2,284 m
Low: 4,933' 1,504 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 52% (27°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by James Nuce

Strenuous run to the Desert Divide and to the summit of Spitler Peak. Amazing views on both sides of the divide.

James Nuce

Features Views · Wildlife

Overview

The summit of Spitler Peak provides incredible views of both the desert to the east and Garner Valley to the west. The trail meets the PCT before climbing a ridge to the somewhat exposed summit. The run is within the San Bernardino National Forest.

Need to Know

There are no restrooms at the trailhead. Day use permits are not required.

Description

Approach this run by driving up Apple Canyon Road from Highway 74 near Mountain Center and Lake Hemet. Before the sharp S-turn to the left, there is a parking area on your right, as well as the trailhead. The trail winds among the chaparral before switch-backing up towards the divide. On the north side of Spitler Peak, the trail gets steeper and you run through remnants of oak and pine that were burned in the 2013 Mountain Fire.

A seasonal stream is crossed several times before reaching the divide and the PCT. Going south/right on the PCT, you follow the narrow ridge to the slopes of Spitler Peak. Leaving the trail, regain the ridge that leads up to the summit among trees and rock outcrops. The steep angle relents but a false summit requires you to run another 100 yards to the summit proper and a sweeping view of Garner Valley, Palm Springs, as well as the rest of the PCT as it leads up near Mount San Jacinto.

Descend by retracing your steps back to the parking area at the trailhead.

History & Background

The PCT, Pacific Crest Trail, is 2650 miles in length and runs from the Mexican Border to the Canadian border. Being on any section of the PCT, even the quarter mile on this run, is inspirational.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#1294

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Run Rankings

#196

in California

#1,294

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43 Views Last Month
494 Since Jan 29, 2019
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Photos

View from the summit of Spitler Peak looking southeast.
Feb 5, 2019 near Idyllwild, CA
View of Spitler Peak from the PCT on the Desert Divide.
Feb 2, 2019 near Idyllwild, CA
On the desert divide after joining the PCT. Headed towards Spitler Peak. Apache Peak and San Jacinto Peak in the background.
Feb 5, 2019 near Idyllwild, CA

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