San Jacinto massif from Kitching Peak
Kitching Peak is a somewhat isolated mountain in the southeast corner of the San Bernardino National Forest in the San Bernardino Mountains. This area is one of the least used sections of range. The trail to the peak has some places that are apparently in dubious condition (requiring a little route finding and/or bushwhacking) and the 8 mile, 2,900' gain roundtrip hike is considered difficult. (Although when I hiked it in 2000 I don't recall anything particularly difficult about it.)
The most challenging aspect to this hike may not be the hike itself but getting to the trailhead. Access roads leading to the T-head in Millard Canyon goes through the Morongo Indian Reservation which is now closed to the public with gates and
Permission from the Morongo Indian Tribal Council must be obtained to get a pass through the reservation which is the only access to the peak.
If you are a little savvy and sincere enough permission may be granted as was the case for Diana in the top report in trail reviews
from 11/9/10 also in the link in getting there below.
All this aside once you get to the flat open summit the views are pretty spectacular. 15 miles south the jaw dropping scarp of the San Jacinto
Mountains rise abruptly 10,000' out of the surrounding plain like a massive rugged phoenix. 8 miles to the northwest over ridges and peaks looms Old Greyback (San Gorgonio Mtn.)
The view southeast takes in The Little San Bernardino Mtns. and Joshua Tree along with a straight shot down Coachella Valley to the Salton Sea. To the southwest the Santa Ana Mtns
topped by Santiago Peak
rise in the distance 45 miles away.
So if you're up for a little diplomacy and some bushwhackin' put pen to paper and write them a letter requesting permission.
This may be that one peak missing from your San Bernardino bag of summits.
San Gorgonio Mtn. (left) from Kitching Peak
The roads leading to the trailhead are pretty much straight forward 2 wheel driveable and easy enough to follow. If I remember correctly it may have been high clearance 2 wheel near the t-head.
I've added a link to another sight with personal reviews that give a first hand account of directions and access to the peak in this link
Coachella Valley from Kitching Peak
To request permission through the reservation write:
Morongo Tribal Council
12700 Pumarra Road
Banning, Ca. 92220
Call the Mill Creek Ranger Station to inquire about a possible permit for this hike. 909-382-2882
Old Greyback from the Kitching Peak Trail
There are no campgrounds in the area.
For camping near the trailhead in the east branch of Millard Canyon beyond the boundaries of the reservation contact the Mill Creek Ranger Staion: 909-382-2882
Weather and forecast
For the Kitching Peak current weather and forecast click here