San Jacinto Trip Report - Marion Mountain

Distance: 10 miles RT

Difficulty: Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 4,400 ft

Total time: 9 hours

Hiking time: ~7.5 hours RT

To John's suprise the gate to the trailhead was open. There wasn't too much snow on the access road, but chains for a 2WD vehicle would be highly recommended. The original plan for this day hike was to get acquainted with snowshoes at the higher elevations. John and I got to the trailhead at 8am and were on the trail by 8:30am. The trail starts at an elevation of 6,400 ft. There was approximately 4-8 inches of snow with a thick crust. The going was slow mostly because of my heavy Tecnica boots. I was trying to be careful not to get blisters.

The day was unusually clear which allowed great views of the valley and surrounding mountains. It was 30 degrees at the beginning of the hike, but it quickly warmed up once we got into the sun. We could see foot prints from about 2 or 3 previous travelers. Once we got above 8600 ft. it was difficult to find the trail. We used the GPS with points from our previous trips to get back on track. At 9,000 ft. it was time to put the snowshoes on. There was about 12-15 inches of snow, but the bushes made it impractical. With another 12+ inches of snow it would have been perfect. We stopped at 9,200 ft. for a long break. The GPS said we were 0.9 miles from Little Round Valley. We decided it probably wasn't worth the effort to go up any farther and turned around. We started to hike down at 2:45pm.

Evening was quickly approaching, and it brought with it a spectacular array of colors to paint the sky. We made it back to the trailhead soon after the sun dipped below the horizon (5:150pm). I was exhausted. The mountain was a welcomed change from the beach. I enjoyed dipping my toes into the deep pockets of snow. I'll return for another visit soon because I've really got my heart set on some showshoeing. We'll just pray for a winter storm.

Interesting article on the elevation gain from the Coachella Valley.

History of the town

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