Mount San Jacinto and the San Jacinto Mountains rise above Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, offering spectacular panoramic views of the desert valleys below from a perch of 8,516 feet. An aerial tramway takes visitors to Mountain Station near the top of the state park, offering an easy-access starting point to the trail system spread throughout Mount San Jacinto State Park and the surrounding wilderness.
Unfortunately, dogs are neither allowed on the tram, nor in the vast majority of the state park. Mount San Jacinto’s growing season is particularly short, and the habitats are extremely fragile. This means that dogs are not permitted in the wilderness areas, although they are permitted within the hiking trail system that connects the wilderness areas to the greater boundaries of the state park.
Be sure to watch for designated postings if you are unsure of whether or not you have entered a wilderness area. It is difficult to enter these areas unknowingly. Black Mountain and most hiking on the Idyllwild side of Mount San Jacinto State Park is a good place to begin hiking, as these areas are well outside the wilderness areas of Mount San Jacinto.
California Department of Parks and Recreation manages the Mount San Jacinto State Park, and they are the ones who are responsible for preserving the fragile ecosystems found at the high altitudes of the state park. Dogs, no matter how well-behaved, threaten the delicate balance of life in these regions. It is still possible to enjoy the state park with your dog outside of the wilderness areas.
Just be sure to pack everything that you could need, as there are few facilities outside immediately available along long stretches of hikes. While not as dog-friendly as most, the Mount San Jacinto State Park offers breathtaking views of the deserts below while pitting experienced hikers against rough terrain and difficult conditions in the wintertime. Most of these hikes are for the adventurous, and of course, for their dogs, as well.