While leaving the Forest Service Ranger Station in Idyllwild to get our day-use permit, another hiker asked where we were headed. After telling him "The Peak via Fuller Ridge" he replied with, "Dude, Fuller Ridge is awesome! You are going to love it!!" We weren't disappointed by any means.
The trail skips from one side of the ridge to the other affording stunning views of the Coachella Valley and the San Bernardino Mountains to the north and east or the San Jacinto Valley to the southwest. The north face of San Jacinto peak with its almost 10,000 foot elevation provides a great backdrop for much of the ridge.
A Forest Service Adventure pass is required for parking at the trailhead and wilderness permits (free) are required for both the National Forest and the State Park Wildernesses.
Take Forest Service Road 4S01 off of Hwy 234 which is about 10 miles north of Idyllwild, CA.
This road is unmaintained and is best suited for high-clearance vehicles. A passanger car can make it if care and patience is used (plan on 45 minutes from the highway to the trailhead if in a passanger car).
The trail starts at 7,720 feet and slowly climbs the ridge on the north side over almost 2.5 miles. The trail then stays near the top of the ridge and bounces back and forth to either side. The views of San Jacinto's north face are amazing and enough motivation to get your heart racing and to put a spring in your step.
After 5 miles the trail meets with the western trail leading to the summit (jct. @ 8,940'). A couple of other approach trails (i.e. Marion Mtn. Trail) come up from the south. Although the trail gains 1,660 feet in 2.3 miles the elevation gain is done with a very good system of switchbacks. At one point after the trail junction the trail goes over a small section of rocks and boulders. There are a number of small cairns to guide the way.
Little Round Valley (9,800'), one mile after the junction has an outhouse and a number of sites along a small stream. 1.3 miles after Little Round Valley the trail meets with the trail from the eastern side where it is a one-third of a mile scramble up to the summit.
The return trip is just as inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful as the trip up, especially if the sun is getting low in the sky. A word of warning though - Fuller Ridge seems to get a lot longer on the way down!
The Ten Essentials.
Water - there are two streams which are each crossed twice that can supply water (when treated) if flowing.
I have heard and read that the ridge gets a lot of snow in the winter - so prepare for that even in the late spring.
External LinksSan Bernardino NF
Mount San Jacinto State Park