I shouldn't say the Vivian Creek Trail is closed completely. They are now opening it sometimes on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm, but they are being really strict about those hours and say they will have any vehicles that are in the parking lot past 5 pm towed.
It was open last Saturday from 8 to 5.
I suppose there might be some place to park along the road up there and sneak in to the trail - it sounds like the people have been parking along the road, but most of the people are just going out to the falls or playing in the snow near the picnic area and not hiking up the Vivian Creek Trail.
Does anyone know about trail conditions on San J./San G. since the snow last weekend ? I've never been up either of those but I'm in SoCal this Saturday - Tuesday (with Sat - Monday being my hiking window). Thanks in advance for any reports.
smurfer wrote:Does anyone know about trail conditions on San J./San G. since the snow last weekend ? I've never been up either of those but I'm in SoCal this Saturday - Tuesday (with Sat - Monday being my hiking window). Thanks in advance for any reports.
Yep, sure do! Went for a skin out to Xmas Tree Hill via the forest service road off Jenks Lk Rd. Good conditions to skin in, but by 10AM the snow became very heavy and sticky. Traversing across South Fork Meadow found us with a few inches of snow stuck to our skins - very annoying and heavy! Dug a quick pit and saw 2' of very wet snow on top of the faceted junk from weeks ago. Bonded very well except the top foot, it slide with some prompting. We skied Xmas Tree Hill....slowly I might add. The snow is sooooo slow. We couldn't even slide back down the service road, had to push push push. What an exhausting day! Since it hasn't been freezing at night, and won't for a few more days, I'll guess that the snow is going to degrade. Snowshoes/skis are a must! Trail is packed down very nicely though. You're gonna be marching right into a storm, dude. Keep an eye on the weather, it's supposed to snow several inches Sunday night. YIPPEE!
Thanks for all the input everyone. Looks like the plan is San Jacinto via Marion Mountain trail. According to google maps it's only 44 miles from the Welk resort where I'll be. Looks like the axe, snowshoes and crampons will be brought along just in case.
Palomar looks to be a fun one for the kids, fairly close as well. Seeing a lot of stuff mentioning the adventure pass.
Any good mountain bike trails close at hand? Bringing my bikes as well for this one.
Trying to avoid the theme parks as much as possible, though that is proving to be futile. Attempting to stay out of the dog house here on the theme park scenario.....
A friend who's never been to San Jac before, but is a very experienced alpinist went alone Sunday via Marion Mountain TH. Pen and I had to work so we couldn't go with him. He encountered snow at the Dear Springs trail intersection and all the way to the peak. He reported that several parties could not locate the route traversing the north side of the peak and returned without getting the summit. The snow was pretty hard in the morning, softening up by mid day. No crampons or snow shoes were used. If you have not been there before, make sure you have the trail route memorized, or use map and compass (you will need it) and/or GPS points. The trail is completely snow covered most of the way.
Thank you for the info asmrz! I've been looking at youtube and photos of the Marion Trail to get a good idea of what to encounter, looks to be fairly forested up to the ridge up there from what I've seen so far. I plan on loading the route into my GPS just in case.
This is a basic map overview of the route I've been looking at so far:
The point where the first dotted line (white, Deer Springs Trail) meets with the red line (the Marion Trail) is the place where most people find trouble in the snow. The terrain continues steeply upward toward Marion Mountain and Jean Peak, yet the route traverses the bowl of San Jacinto. When the trail is covered, one must contour this bowl for quite a while (3/4 mile or more?). Once you reach the ridgeline on the other side of the bowl, there are few trees there, sun beats on the trail, and one can find it even if just intermittently. From there to the top, the route finding is a bit more reasonable. I would add one more GPS point between the intersection of Deer Springs/Marion Trail and the number 3 point on you map. About a half way between them, right after the zig-zag of the trail, there is a little round top just close to or above 9200' visible on your map. That might be a good GPS point 2B. Good luck, have fun.
Wanted to say thanks to everyone for the info! Managed to hit up San Jacinto last Tuesday, via Marion Mountain. Pretty easy hike, it reminded me of a similar gradient and mileage like Mt. Timpanogos via Aspen Grove in Utah. I ran into snow at 8,600 feet, though it was pretty solid on the way up. I packed crampons and my axe but never used them. Hit up the summit in about three hours, and saw only one person at the summit the entire time I was on the mountain. The snow got pretty soft as the day heated up, and post hole action varied between a couple inches up to my waist. I did a side trip to Drury Peak before heading back to Little Round Valley and down. It was really cool to see some different terrain, all that granite, ponderosa pines. Different from the summits of the Wasatch here in UT.
I also took the kids up to Palomar a toured the area. I kept eyeing the highpoint across the way, and ended up stopping at the Forest Service office near the Observatory area on the way out. I got permission from a couple rangers to use the fire road leading from their place to hit up the highpoint. I went back a couple days later with the mountain bike, rode the three miles to the highpoint. There were about three gates which had to be negotiated, a couple belonging to Cal-Tech, though I felt fine going through with the permission of the Forest Service. The road dropped a bit, then climbed about 600-800 vertical feet up to the highpoint. Cool views up there. Both days the lower elevations were cloud covered up until about 5,000 feet, mainly out west, then it was clear.
The rest of the trip was the beach/ocean, lots of swimming and theme park stylz. You folks sure live in a beautiful area.