Dog Friendly Hikes Hiking Trails

Black Mountain Trail Idyllwild 02.07.15

This Saturday morning I finished hike number 13/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015, and have now completed 103 of my goal of 1000 miles for this year. My initial plan was to hike Mt. Wilson via Mt. Wilson Trail in Sierra Madre, but a forecast of rain pushed that hike until Sunday. Luckily, the storm wasn’t set to hit much further east until late in the day, so I decided it would be good to head east and try a new trail. After a quick search online, I came across Black Mountain, which is just south of Banning on SR 243 on the way to Idyllwild. This hike is 7.25 miles roundtrip with 2700ft of elevation gain.

Black Mountain Trail
Black Mountain Trail

After driving for 12 miles on SR 243 we saw the sign for Black Mountain trail and proceeded on the short dirt road to the parking lot at the trailhead. There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot, which is always nice to see. Julia and I got Isla and Lilly in their hiking harnesses and made our way onto the trail.

Dirt Road and Parking Lot
Dirt Road and Parking Lot
Trail Head
Trail Head

The trail itself started out as sandy, with slabs of smooth rock underneath. There wasn’t much shade initially, but the exposure cut out after a short while. Isla has just recently developed a fascination with small boulders. I’m not sure how she got it in her head that dogs can climb, but she tries to scale anything she can jump on.

The Doodles
The Doodles
On the Trail
On the Trail

After about 3 miles of hiking you get the best views of Black Mountain, and can see the density of conifers that give it it’s name. The smells from the Fir and Pine trees were incredible on this warm winter day. The trail also starts to gain in steepness at this point. After climbing for a short while we came across a few trail signs and a faint fork. Straight ahead was the access road that opens in the summer, we veered right on the trail to the summit.

Leave no Trace
Leave no Trace
Water
Water

At this point we noticed the first traces of snow and ice. It’s only in small patches of shade, so no precautions were necessary to accommodate for this. The final views as we approached the top were like something out of a movie. It was pretty cool to see the lookout tower at the summit with sprawling views of Southern California.

To the Tower
To the Tower
The Lookout
The Lookout
View of SoCal
View of SoCal

We spent some time relaxing at the top while the dogs rehydrated and ate some snacks. The views of San Jacinto were great, and we could see the storm clouds looming far out west. After we had taken in the views and explored the summit a bit, we made our way back down to the car for our journey back home.

LookOut Walkay With Dogs Underneath
Lookout Walkway With Dogs Underneath
San Jacinto
San Jacinto

9 comments on “Black Mountain Trail Idyllwild 02.07.15

  1. Beautiful views! It’s great they have a look out tower so you can really see everything!
    My little cocker spaniel thinks boulders are there for her to climb on also! She used to love our rock retaining wall that was 6 feet high to climb on!

  2. A 52 hike and 1000 mile challenge sounds awesome but I wouldn’t come close. Maybe a 25 hike challenge. Good luck and keep posting.

    • 25 would be a lot! Setting goals helps me wake up early on the weekend and get outside, I find I do far more in life when I make commitments beforehand 🙂

  3. I find the hard part is not the early start on the weekend, but getting up on monday morning when you’re still “recovering” from the hike!

  4. Awesome views. We just had a cold snap in Texas, but I’m hoping to get out this weekend to a trail somewhere. New job started today so backpacking gear buying can begin in earnest again soon! Keep up the quest Drew.

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