The San Jacinto Ridge Trail is a fun one, but high in daytime traffic. So it’s perfect for a night run!
The San Jacinto Ridge Trail is one of those ones that is fairly easy except for a single part, where I’d say you need 4×4 and a lift because at places there’s ruts and cliffs and even both together! The USFS has rated it blue for moderate.
I’d personally also of said that it wasn’t one for full-sized trucks; I saw one going down it… Let’s all hope his paint made it!
Anyways, it’s surely not a Moab level trail, that’s for sure. There’s no rock crawling, etc. but I still wouldn’t expect anything smaller than 30″ of tires and some clearance on the approach angles to come through the first mile 100% unscathed. I sailed through it when my fuel pump started giving out an my 32″ mudstars kept me from bottoming out. Even though I took it uphill it is all downhill from there.
About 45 minutes out of San Bernardino, the trail takes about 2 hours to complete. There’s plenty of side-quest for added difficulty, if you so desire, as on the very first fork the Forest Service has rated the related Indian Mountain trail there as a black diamond!
So make sure to stick to the right if you are just looking for weekend fun.
The only real negative of this trail is that it is unusually crowded. There are large sections where you cannot pass without backing up. Such is anything but fun. Me personally, I also don’t like sharing the road with dirt-bikes, atvs, etc. (more because I’ll hurt them than anything else!) and even at night I was still running into them.
Still all this traffic means is the trail is better to take as a night run! There’s moderate difficulty that seems a lot scarier in the dark, and you’ll avoided getting forced to back up by someone who won’t yield right of way.
Which is exactly what me and the wife did. Also, I don’t have any of them newfangled night-lights either… just some 1990’s h4’s so the darkness was really intimidating, Especially when the fuel pump gave out!
At the very least, darkness for the most part keeps Evel-knievels away, so you can risk a bit of throttle on the rare places where the mostly closed in trail opens up.
The trail comes right out near the town of Idylwild the base-camp of the San Jacinto Mountains, and I would say it’s worth it to take the backway up there for one of the even harder trails to really make a day of it.
Estimated time: 2:30 minutes.