Deer Spring Trail - Mount San Jacinto
Deer Springs Trail heads up the side of Mount San Jacinto from just north of Idyllwild. It can be accessed either from the lower end at Idyllwild (5,600 ft) or from the upper end via the Palm Springs aerial tramway (8,500 ft). At its peak the trail tops 10,000 ft, this elevation change results in a wide variety of forest types. At the upper end the gorgeous old-growth trees are mostly Jeffrey pine, Sugar pine, and white fir growing alongside picturesque boulders. At the lower end the oldest pines have died, but many "middle-aged" trees are growing to fill in the gaps. In this zone there are Sugar pines, Coulter pines, western red cedar, and oaks; but perhaps the most beautiful woody plants on the lower end of the trail are the ancient madrones. For those in top physical condition it can be hiked in one long day. Alternatives are starting at one end or the other for a day hike, or taking two days and camping at one of the wilderness campgrounds.