The start of the Eureka Peak Trail branches south off of the eastern end of the Short Loop Trail
. From here, the trail heads south, climbing steadily at times through deep sand. The trail begins as a wide, sandy wash, but the terrain changes back and forth from a wide trail to a narrow canyon. Hikers will have to navigate sections of deep sand.
About one mile in, you'll pass the junction with the Cliff Trail
on the right. About a half mile further, the Canyon View
Trail also branches off to the right. Here the terrain transitions from narrow canyon walls to more open slopes and scrubby woods of pinyon and juniper. Keep an eye open for deer and coyotes as well as signs of bobcats and mountain lions in this area.
Once past the junction with the Canyon View
Trail, the wash forks at a sign that can potentially be obscured by brushy overgrowth. You'll want to stay right at this split to continue up the wash.
Beyond this, the wash gets more narrow and splits again with cairns guiding hikers to the left. The climb gets a bit steeper as well, winding to a high, thin saddle where you can enjoy views of Mt. San Gorgonio.
After taking in the view, the trail dips down a short, steep hill to the Bigfoot
Trail junction. But the climbing isn't over yet! Continue up a rise to a southwest-facing saddle beneath Eureka Peak. From here, the trail follows along the saddle with views across the Coachella Valley.
Keep an eye open for a sharp left at the three-mile mark, onto the Eureka Peak Summit Spur
that will take you up to the summit (continuing straight at this junction would lead to Upper Covington Flat Road). One final climb will get you to the summit of Eureka Peak, where you can pause to take in the outstanding panoramic views of the park.
Juniper and pinyon. Look for signs of deer, coyote, bobcat and mountain lion in this high desert habitat.