Along the Desert Divide in the San Jacinto Mountains, there are numerous friendly peaks to visit, most of which are found on the Hundred Peaks Section list and entail several miles of an approach. Rock Point is among those but is quite easy to reach via a well-maintained and heavily used Class 1 trail. It’s up to you if you have what it takes to obtain the actual summit – Class 5 bouldering moves on the summit block. Do not despair non-climbers, the summit register rests gently within inverted coffee cans in a boulder cave below the summit block.
The name “Rock Point” appeared on the State Mining Bureau Geological Map of California in 1916 and became the present day use-name. Rock Point was on the original HPS Peak list of 1946 and seems to be a very popular destination for grade school packs and hordes of HPSer’s looking for an easy “bag.” Summit block and summit register are found on the southwestern peak of the proper although maps will show the 5282’ benchmark on the northeastern peaklet.
From I-15, north or southbound, 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 roads, complete with competition "S-curves" to Mountain Center. Once you reach Mountain Center at the intersection of Hwy 243 to Idyllwild and Hwy 74 to Palm Springs, stay to your right and on the 74. In approx 10 miles, you will reach Toolbox Springs Road on your left, a sign for Pathfinder Ranch sits on the corner. Turn left here.
Or you may exit in Temecula onto Hwy 79S and drive east toward the 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 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, Paradise Cafe; probably the ONLY good place to eat for many, many miles. Continue on for approximately 4 miles until you see Toolbox Springs Road on your right.
Once you’ve turned onto Toolbox Springs Road, in approx 0.6 miles you will take a left onto Butterfly Peak Road. Approx a quarter mile later, turn right onto Table Mountain Road. Less than a quarter mile later, there will be a narrow paved road on your right marked “private property,” park along Table Mountain Road near here and begin approach on foot on the paved road.
Rock Point as seen from trail approach.
From the parking area along Table Mountain Road, begin your trek on the narrow paved road marked with “private property.” This short road will come to a “T,” and at this point you will turn left and continue along the fence.
Quite soon you will encounter a locked gate, you’re only option is to take a right-hand turn once passing alongside the gate and continue uphill between two fence lines.
Stay on main trail heading for Gold Hill, it is the only “hump” along the trail that is not mainly granite. Ignore an obvious trail turn-off on your right prior to reaching Gold Hill. There are many faint use trails on the western side, most likely for access to bouldering; this area is littered with hundreds of playful stone!
Once coming just southeast of Gold Hill, you will come to a fork in the trail; take the right fork and follow old jeep road south for about ¾ mile to a clearing. The left fork is the turn-off for Butterfly Peak. Heading south, you will drop a bit in elevation to a dry creek bed and switchback many times, meandering through brush and croppings of large boulders; Rock Point becomes visible on your left-hand side to the south. Eventually you will come up to a cheap wooden sign staked in the ground boosting “Rock Point” with a handy arrow pointing you to a well-ducked trail on your left. The trail becomes steep and winds through Manzanita and scratchy Chaparral.
As you reach the summit ridgeline, two huge summit blocks are quite obvious to your right. The true summit is notably the block on the eastern side. To your left along the ridge is a small formation of boulders in a depression and further north is the benchmarked peak; neither seemed interesting enough to visit.
There are several options to climb the summit block – dependent on your skill level. No bolts or anchors exist on this block. We found that an ascent from the east and another on the southern side of the block were relatively reachy 5.4 and easily down-climbed.
[img:347960:aligncenter:medium:True summit of Rock Point - whether you can climb it or not.]
Please 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.
- Compliments of NOAA.