Skyline Trail

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Skyline Trail

Postby joelbraun » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:55 pm

Hi all, just an update I hiked up just past 4300 feet today March 1st and the trail was in good shape. It appeared that the snow started around the traverse and continued up past Coffman’s crag. It was such a beautiful hike I can see why people get addicted! I even had the luck to see about 10 deer around 4000 feet. Thanks to all the locals for all the great advice. I look forward to completing the trail next time the tram is up and running!

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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Ed » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:02 am


Congratulations on the hike. I am envious about the deer, I have never seen more than a few at a time on the trail. SanJacJon has a new snow report:

This is on the other side of the mountain, on a south-facing slope which probably receives both more precipitation and more sun than the upper Skyline Trail. But perhaps one can extrapolate from it a bit.

In my experience, 4300' is about 40% of the total time and effort to the tram station, with no snow on the trail. It may be different for other people.

Best of luck on your next one!
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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby cynthia23 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:12 pm

Ed and Ellen make excellent points. I also want to throw in my two cents--descending Skyline is amazingly tiring. In some ways, it's worse than going up. The most I've ever descended was from 7000 feet and it was BRUTAL. My legs were shaking at the end, and I had to lie down several times. And, I had been doing many descents and was extremely well conditioned at that point, too. There is just something about that much steep downhill that is super hard on the body. So those who plan to descend should be wary. It's no small thing.
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Re: Skyline Trail

Postby Ed » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:31 am

cynthia23 wrote:So those who plan to descend should be wary. It's no small thing.

My sentiments exactly, Cynthia. And with the final touch of descending from the picnic tables in the dark, which in an exhausted state is probably dangerous as well as torture. I've never descended from above about 4600' on Skyline, and never want to, particularly with knees which, when I was in my late 30's, were described to me by an orthopedic surgeon as the knees of a man in his 80's. But there are people in different universes. I have three or four times encountered people coming down from a round-trip Skyline or even Cactus-to-Clouds. I greet them with comments such as 'You are going the wrong way!', or 'The tram is not that expensive!'. I think coming down Baldy by the Bear Flats Trail is good calibration for a retreat on Skyline, about 6000' of elevation loss over about 6 miles. Or perhaps descending Rabbit, on a day hike from the Indio side.
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