Views · Wildlife
The summit of Spitler Peak provides incredible views of both the desert to the east and Garner Valley to the west. The trail meets the PCT before climbing a ridge to the somewhat exposed summit. The hike is within the San Bernardino National Forest.
Need to Know
There are no restrooms at the trailhead. Day use permits are not required.
Approach this hike by driving up Apple Canyon Road from Highway 74 near Mountain Center and Lake Hemet. Before the sharp S-turn to the left, there is a parking area on your right, as well as the trailhead. The trail winds among the chaparral before switch-backing up towards the divide. On the north side of Spitler Peak, the trail gets steeper and you hike through remnants of oak and pine that were burned in the 2013 Mountain Fire.
A seasonal stream is crossed several times before reaching the divide and the PCT. Going south/right on the PCT, you follow the narrow ridge to the slopes of Spitler Peak. Leaving the trail, regain the ridge that leads up to the summit among trees and rock outcrops. The steep angle relents but a false summit requires you to hike another 100 yards to the summit proper and a sweeping view of Garner Valley, Palm Springs, as well as the rest of the PCT as it leads up near Mount San Jacinto.
Descend by retracing your steps back to the parking area at the trailhead.
History & Background
The PCT, Pacific Crest Trail, is 2650 miles in length and runs from the Mexican Border to the Canadian border. Being on any section of the PCT, even the quarter mile on this hike, is inspirational.
Shared By: James Nuce