Tramway to San Jacinto Peak – 6 miles, elevation change of 2318 feet, strenuous.
The easiest and most popular hike to the peak begins at the Mountain Station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Leaving the Tram, descend into Long Valley and self-register for a Wilderness permit at the Mount San Jacinto State Park ranger station. Past the ranger station the trail traverses the tree-covered flanks of Long Valley Creek until reaching the broad grassy meadow of Round Valley. Deer are plentiful and relatively tame if you keep your distance.
Round Valley has numerous campsites for overnight hikers. Be sure to obtain a permit for camping before leaving the ranger station (reservations are recommended for spring and summer). You’ll quickly discover that the trail from Round Valley to Wellman Divide is the steepest part of the hike, but this section is only one mile long. From here follow the clearly signed trail to the peak. This approach is easier than the hike from Idyllwild, but is still strenuous with an 12 mile roundtrip and elevation gain of about 2,300 feet.