trip report: rabbit peak

General Palm Springs area.

trip report: rabbit peak

Postby futbol » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:15 pm

Hiked Rabbit Peak (and Villager) in the Santa Rosa Range this weekend. This is widely considered the most difficult hike originating in San Diego County. The summit is in Riverside County. The trail head is off S-22 in Anza Borrego State Park. This was my third attempt. Water concerns and heat made me turn around earlier this year.

Hiked Sunday and Monday (camped at the summit). There is supposedly a way up from Palm Springs.

There was no one else on the trail. Packed in 10L H2O. Packed out ~2L. Also, it is easy to lose the use trail up these peaks, although the ridge lines are fairly obvious.

Sunrise during the descent.

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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby Ed » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:48 am

Congratulations, futbol. If you are doing Rabbit only as a day hike, it is easier to do it from Indio. There should be a route description on the Sierra Club Hundred Peaks Section website. Easier, but still not easy. I would say comparable to Skyline. Less elevation gain, but no trail, and you have to hike down. Usually done in the winter, with some hiking in the dark. Following the route should be easier these days with GPS.
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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby futbol » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:26 am

Thanks Ed!

I've day hiked Villager Peak a few times, but not planning on doing Rabbit within 24 hours, even from Palm Springs. As I was descending, I was thinking if I never do this hike again in my life I'll be ok with it. Of course, after a day or so most of us think again that it was not so bad (even though it was!).
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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby Ed » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:45 pm

futbol wrote:As I was descending, I was thinking if I never do this hike again in my life I'll be ok with it. Of course, after a day or so most of us think again that it was not so bad (even though it was!).


I'm sure many can relate!

Regarding Rabbit, I've backpacked Villager and Rabbit from the Anza Borrego side, as you did, and I've day hiked Rabbit from the Indio side. I think I prefer the latter. While the backpack went smoothly, I always feel that dry backpacks are for nut cases.
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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby backpackpack » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:09 pm

Wow. 10 liters? How long is the trail, and what is the elevation gain? That sounds intense!
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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby Ed » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:35 am

Here are the HPS writeups on Villager and Rabbit:

http://www.hundredpeaks.org/guides/30g.htm

http://www.hundredpeaks.org/guides/30f.htm

If anybody is asking for my advice, which nobody is, I recommend day hiking Villager from the Borrego Springs side and day hiking Rabbit from the Indio side. I've done both. There are people who backpack both from the Borrego Springs side (I've done that as well), and even day hike both from the Borrego Springs side. That is definitely an endurance hike. I think that last year the HPS had a five-hike series to prepare for it.

I'm one of those people who considers backpacking to be a necessary evil, and dry backpacking a sign of derangement (ok, full disclosure, I've done it a few times, but I have never claimed that I am fully rational).

I am surprised that we don't see more trip reports on these excellent hikes. Rabbit would be a good alternative to Skyline when you have the more adverse winter conditions on Skyline.
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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby futbol » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:41 am

backpackpack wrote:Wow. 10 liters? How long is the trail, and what is the elevation gain? That sounds intense!


23.8 miles and 8k feet elevation gain round trip, according to AllTrails. It was physically, but most of all psychologically intense (summit after false summit).

Most people think that is too much water, but I go through much more water than other hikers. In the Spring I have encountered snow and ice up above ~5.5k feet, but I don't count on it being there. Also, there were two places where water was stashed in bottles. I marked a weigh-point, but also did not count on that being there. Those are real trail angels who leave water all the way up there for others.
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Re: trip report: rabbit peak

Postby futbol » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:51 am

Ed wrote:Here are the HPS writeups on Villager and Rabbit:

http://www.hundredpeaks.org/guides/30g.htm

http://www.hundredpeaks.org/guides/30f.htm

If anybody is asking for my advice, which nobody is, I recommend day hiking Villager from the Borrego Springs side and day hiking Rabbit from the Indio side. I've done both. There are people who backpack both from the Borrego Springs side (I've done that as well), and even day hike both from the Borrego Springs side. That is definitely an endurance hike. I think that last year the HPS had a five-hike series to prepare for it.

I'm one of those people who considers backpacking to be a necessary evil, and dry backpacking a sign of derangement (ok, full disclosure, I've done it a few times, but I have never claimed that I am fully rational).

I am surprised that we don't see more trip reports on these excellent hikes. Rabbit would be a good alternative to Skyline when you have the more adverse winter conditions on Skyline.


I've day hiked Villager a few times. Day hike being all day hike :) . The Palm Springs approach would be interesting.

Somewhere this was mentioned as a good conditioning for Cactus-to-Clouds, and perhaps more challenging because of the isolation and no tram.
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