San Diego Trail Tramps ~ Scheduled Hikes for 2012

  Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, Idyllwild, CA

Downstream from Idyllwild the winter runoff flows.

Date:  Sunday, June 17th, 2012  9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Location: 107 miles N/NE of San Diego, 2 hr. drive

"Google Maps" Directions from the Uptown District Shopping Center in Hillcrest/San Diego to Trailhead at Humber Park, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA: 107 mi, 2 hours 5 mins: Take 163N/I15N to Temecula, then 79N to 74E thru Hemet, to 243 N into Idyllwild. Follow the signs to Humber Park, which is about two miles NE of downtown Idyllwild. Turn R onto Pinecrest Ave., turn L to stay on Pinecrest Ave, take the 1st R onto S Circle Dr., turn L onto Fern Valley Rd, take the 3rd L to stay on Fern Valley Rd. Deadends at Humber Park parking area loop and trailhead for Ernie Maxwell Trail and Devil's Slide Trail.

NOTE: Parking is usually crowded. Park in the lower levels of the parking area and look for the Ernie Maxwell trailhead sign on the right side of the Humber Park Loop road. A Forest Service Adventure Pass is absolutely required to park here. (See below for details.)

When hikers depart from the Hillcrest carpool area at 9:00 AM, they should arrive at the trailhead parking lot at about 11:00-11:30 AM. After a final sign-in with our group and last minute updates by our hike leader, we'll begin the hike.

Ernie Maxwell Trail Map

Hike Description:
Easy, 5.2 mile roundtrip hike, with gentle grade and 400' elevation loss/gain. Beautiful forested trail, great views of Tahquitz & Suicide Rock. Hike time is 2.5 hours roundtrip (3 to 3.5 hours including lunch). It begins at 6100' and crosses streams along the way. It's a great walk for botanists, as many different species of trees can be found along the way. Leashed dogs are OK on this popular trail. However, no dogs are allowed in the adjoining California State Park side, and stiff fines are levied for it.

Misc. info:
Humber Park is not really a park, but is a trailhead/parking lot. The facilities at Humber Park are basic, a couple of wilderness toilet facilities and a picnic table. Before going on a hike anywhere around Idyllwild, you must get a hiking permit (not required for the Ernie Maxwell trail) at the San Jacinto Ranger District at 54270 Pine Crest (at Highway 243) in Idyllwild. The station is open 8AM to 4PM. (Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer.) The hiking permit is free, but there is a $5 Forest Service Adventure Pass required for parking at the trailhead in Humber Park. (See below.) Bug spray can be useful for nasty horseflys in the summer.

Idyllwild, the largest city in the San Jacintos, is a tiny town without any streetlights. Keep in mind that the town basically shuts down around 8 pm in case you have a post-hike hankering for a burger. ;^ ) If you do have an appetite, may we suggest "Joanne's" for $5 beer and $12.95 BBQ (ginormous portions, no vegetarian dishes, CASH ONLY !!!) around 3:30PM for good music under the redwood trees.

Forest Service Adventure Pass:
A U.S. Forest Service Adventure Pass is required in order to park vehicles on some Forest Service lands. A day pass costs $5, a yearly costs $30 and a second-vehicle pass costs $5. Holders of an Interagency Senior Pass, Lifetime Access Pass or Interagency Access Pass, do not need an Adventure Pass.

Businesses that sell the Adventure Pass in or near Idyllwild and the San Jacinto Ranger District are: Idyllwild Chevron in mid-town, Idyllwild Ranger Station (54270 Pinecrest Ave, Idyllwild), Idyllwild Shell, The Market Place at Pine Cove and Lake Hemet Market.
For more information on areas that require a pass, or on other vendors in your area, call the U.S. Forest Service at (909) 382-2922.


Anybody wishing to camp, should make reservations at Idyllwild County Park. online at or 800-234-7275.
Contact Info:  
Idyllwild Park
54000 Riv. Co. Playground Rd.
Idyllwild, Ca 92549
(951) 659-2656
88 campsites, each $20/night. Hiking trails, fire/grill rings, restrooms, coin-op showers, pet friendly, nature center, etc.


If you plan to stay for the weekend in Idyllwild and prefer additional ammenities, GLBT reviews suggest the Peaceful Mountain Inn, where they have the "Best Mountain Views" for Idyllwild lodging. Affordable and pet friendly!