OverviewApache Peak, named sometime after 1867, is a double-headed mountain along the Desert Divide in the State Game Refuge Boundary of San Jacinto Wilderness. The highest of Apache's summits is the westernmost with a height of 7567', while the eastern summit reaches approximately 7400' barely a quarter of a mile away. The most obvious route to Apache Peak is via the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail running along the Desert Divide north and south; this peak lies between Spitler Peak and Antsell Rock along the PCT.
Down the western slope of Apache Peak's west summit, Apple Canyon is seen with diverse displays of vegetation, terrain, and ranches, looking into the Garner Valley. And on the eastern side, Palm Desert and Palm Springs lies sprawled below; even the Salton Sea can be seen.
Apaches never lived in California, however they are known since to have sent small raiding parties from Arizona as far west as this area. In 1819 Father Senan wrote of these raiders as "some Mohave gentiles arriving from the sierras [sic] of the Colorado". Apaches raided widely, Candalaria told of a legend about a fierce battle between the Sespe Indians and Apaches. Apache flint arrowheads have been found nearby. This peak was added to the HPS Peak List in 1959.
Getting ThereTaking for granted you are in Riverside County near Temecula - From I-15 northbound or south, you can exit in Temecula onto Winchester Road, Hwy 79N and head north to Hwy 74E and continue on through Hemet and up the slope on pleasant winding mountain road, complete with competition “S-curves” to Mountain Center. Once you reach Mountain Center at intersection of Hwy 243 to Idyllwild and Hwy 74 to Palm Springs, stay to your right and on the 74. In approx 7 miles, a couple of miles past Hemet Lake, you will come to Fobes Ranch Road (a dirt road) on your left, turn left here.
Or you may exit in Temecula onto Hwy 79S and drive east toward San Jacinto mountain range for approx 20 miles, then turn left onto Hwy 371 for Anza. In another approximate 20 miles up a long slow grade to about 4500’ through dry rocky terrain, passing the Temecula Olive Oil Company ranch and the Cahuilla casino, you will reach Hwy 74 bound for Palm Springs to the east and Mountain Center to the northwest.
Turn left at Hwy 74, there is a nice restaurant on the right hand corner, probably the ONLY place to eat for many many miles. Approx 5 miles after turning left, you will come upon Fobes Ranch Road on your right, a dirt road. If you pass Hemet Lake on your left, you have gone about 5 miles too far NW on the 74. You will pass a sign for the trailhead to Thomas Mtn on your left just prior to reaching Fobes Ranch Rd.
Regardless of which direction you came on Hwy 74, drive 3.5 miles down Fobes Ranch Road and turn right, there is a sign pointing toward the PCT trailhead. Travel another approx half mile to the trailhead and park in the turnouts for Fobes Trail. The road continues upward but a locked gate and private property block your access.
The ApproachFrom the trailhead off Fobes Ranch Road, you will gain access to the Pacific Crest Trail through switchbacks on Fobes Trail. Turn left onto the PCT and follow along the trail, passing Spitler Peak on your left. Approximately 1.5 miles after passing Spitler, you will transit on the eastern slope of Apache Peak (east summit) on the PCT. Prior to making right turn on trail, make your way straight up SE facing slope and head to highest summit, which is the western peak of Apache Peak. Or you can follow trail around eastern peak and ascend northern slope to your SW to gain true summit on western peak.
Making a seige on Apache Peak, both of them, will require nothing more than well-fitted shoes in the summer and lots of water. Winter ascents will require varying degrees of crampons or in-steps and trekking poles, depending on depth of snow and frequency of ice on trail.
Red TapePlease stop by the Idyllwild ranger station to pick up your permit, or just to visit. National Adventure Passes are required for parking near access to national forests and can be purchased from the ranger station or various area merchants. Be mindful of private property and courteous parking at the trailhead.
Mountain Weather ConditionsMountain weather conditions as predicted by NOAA.
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