The Devil’s Slide Trail is one of the more popular and heavily-used trails in the San Jacinto Mountains. It’s also, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful! Renowned for offering panoramic and far-reaching views, a well-graded and clearly marked path, and a no-nonsense steady climb up the mountain, the Devil’s Slide Trail is popular year-round. Not a particularly lengthy trail at 2.5 miles, The Devil’s Slide is used by many hikers and backpackers as a gateway trail; a trail that is used to reach other, more lengthy trails that traverse the deeper parts of the San Jacinto Wilderness. A personal favorite of mine, the Devil’s Slide Trail is a trail that I have hiked too many times for me to attempt to count. I have hiked the trail so many times that I can visualize virtually every nook, twist, and turn on its path. Offering unsurpassed scenery of forested valleys and mountain ridges, the Devil’s Slide Trail is a popular location for photographers as well. I myself have snapped countless photos from various locations on the trail; The photographic opportunities are endless!
The trail begins in Humber Park which is a few miles east of the town of Idyllwild. Humber Park is a large parking area with a few tables and chairs and a restroom facility. Starting at an elevation of 6,300 feet, the Devil’s Slide Trail starts its moderate, heart-thumping climb up the mountain side. For those who are not in the best of physical condition or accustomed to the high altitude, the first half mile or so can be fairly challenging as your heart and lungs adjust to the strain and elevation. Passing through large clusters of pine and oak trees, large portions of the trail offer good shade cover. And, depending on the time of year, there may be a few trickling streams and creeks for you to cross. The trail levels out slightly towards its middle reaches and then makes one final steep ascent towards its terminus. Just before reaching the top, the trail enters an open area that offers superb views of the western valleys and lowlands. On clear days, when the wind has swept the valley air clean of smog, it’s possible to make out the hazy blue outline of the Pacific Ocean far to the west. Many hikers elect to take a rest stop here to marvel at the far-reaching views while catching their breath.
The trail reaches its terminus at Saddle Junction, 2.5 miles from its starting point in Humber Park. Saddle Junction is a beautiful, heavily-forested plateau area that is the junction of five different trail heads. Located at 8,000 feet, Saddle Junction is in a truly alpine environment. With large, hearty, weather-tested pine trees and lush grasses and shrubs, Saddle Junction is a picturesque location that many hikers use as an ideal rest/lunch spot. There are many large boulders and rocks here that make great napping or lunch spots. And for the lucky hiker, an occasional deer may be viewed eating from the lush grasses and shrubs that help to make Saddle Junction an enticing and pristine location deep in the San Jacinto Mountains.
A great day hike and training hike, the Devil’s Slide Trail is a great way to experience the deeper, more remote areas of the San Jacinto Mountains, while at the same time getting a great workout. With a round-trip distance of five miles, the Devil’s Slide Trail makes a great day hike. For those that love hiking or who are new to hiking, I would recommend the Devil’s Slide Trail as a great way to explore the pristine wilderness of the San Jacinto Mountains on a well-maintained and clearly-marked trail that offers breathtaking scenery and unsurpassed views.