17-18 November 2022
Ernie Maxwell Trail to Saddle Junction and back, then Ernie Maxwell loop to Tahquitz Peak and Saddle Junction
(20 miles, + 5,500/-5,500 feet).
My friends Guppy and Double Down are having their floors redone, so they decided to spend a few days at a cabin in Idyllwild. When they asked me to come join them I jumped at the chance!
Double Down and I originally thought we would do a backpack to fill in some PCT miles he has yet to cover. But a decent storm hit the mountain this week, so we opted for a couple of day hikes instead.
On day one, we climbed up from their cabin to the Ernie Maxwell Trail and did a there-and-back up to Saddle Junction via the Devil’s Slide Trail.
After a fun dinner at the Idyllwild Brewpub and a cozy sleep in the cabin, we set out the following day on a longer loop, heading the other way on the Ernie Maxwell Trail.
From there we climbed up some roads to the South Ridge Trailhead. It was steep but really pretty!
At the top of the South Ridge Trail there is a historic fire lookout. We chatted a bit with another hiker and two search and rescue folks who were accompanying an electrician who was doing some work on it.
Back on the PCT we stopped for a nice break in the snow. One of us might have glissaded.
When we got to Saddle Junction, our welcome committee was gone! It’s amazing how fast the snow is melting up here….
From there we headed down Devil’s Slide again and back to the cabin.