Before hiking Tour du Mont Blanc this summer, I took the time to do a few monster day hikes to prepare my legs for the miles of climbing. My favorite training hike was the Cactus to Clouds hike via Skyline Trail, climbing more than 10,800ft over 18 miles to the summit of San Jacinto Peak. So I decided to make my way back to hike Cactus to Clouds to celebrate my birthday.
I got an early start a little after 5 AM to beat some of the notorious Palm Springs heat. Three hours in I had hiked about 5 1/2 miles and was nearing 5000 ft of elevation, when the sun really got up on top of me. It turned out to be perfect timing as the foliage increases as you make your way north of 7000 ft. This hike was far more crowded then when I made the same trek back in May, I must have passed 30 people on my way up to the Ranger Station.
Like last time, the crowd around the Ranger Station and tramway was thick, but quickly cleared out as I made my way to the summit. It took me a little over 8 hours to hike from Palm Springs to the summit of San Jacinto Peak and a little more than 2 hours to make it back down to the Tramway. Hopefully I can make it in under 10 hours next time!
See more photos below: