Cactus to Clouds

DATE: Nov 11, 2018 Sunday
END DATE: Nov 11, 2018 Sunday

Trip/Event Location: Palm Springs CA

Trip Leader(s)

Phoenix, AZ United States

Meeting Time: 3:00 AM

Max # People: 8

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level:

Very Strenuous

(Do you qualify to attend with this trip difficulty rating? Click Here.)

Region: California/Hawaii

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Disclaimer: The club and its members take no responsibility and will not be held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur during club events. Outdoor sports are inherently dangerous and accidents will happen. By joining the club or participating in any events posted on the GayOutdoors web page you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. Anyone with an internet connection can post a trip on the GayOutdoors web site. It is your responsibility to determine if this person has the experience and competence to lead the trip. GayOutdoors does not certify or confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips.
Be Prepared: Please be prepared to be self-sufficient. Have your own provisions such as first aid kit, food, water, extra clothing for unplanned weather, etc. Have your EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET completed and in your backpack; it may save your life, and help reach someone who greatly cares!
Pace: There may be activities when the group is either slower or faster than your current ability. Please know that because this is a group activity, it's hard to accommodate everyone's pace perfectly. Our desire is not to leave anyone, however there have been times when it is in the best interest of all to split up. Please do your part by knowing your own abilities, communicating with the organizer head of time if you would like to start early and have us catch up or fine with finishing on your own.

Climbing from the floor of the Sonoran Desert to the 10,834’ alpine summit of Mount San Jacinto, this is without question one of the world’s most difficult hikes. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt it, but inevitably several pay the ultimate price for a lack of preparation.  Hyperthermia, hypothermia and dehydration are real, life-threatening risks that Cactus-to-Clouds hikers must carefully avoid.

Our reward, however, will be sensational views along the entire route, coupled with an unmatched sense of accomplishment. After summiting Mt. San Jacinto, we will return to the valley floor in the afternoon via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

We’ll hike almost 22 miles round trip at high altitude with over 10,000’ of elevation gain. That’s only 800 feet shy of the climb from Mount Everest basecamp to the summit of Mount Everest, and more than a vertical half-mile more than the climb up Mt. Whitney, the tallest point in the contiguous United States.

This hike will be extremely strenuous and is suitable only for experienced hikers in peak condition. The hike leader reserves the right to qualify participants.

Our hike will begin at 3:00am and take us about 13 hours to complete, including a lunch stop at the summit. A forecast of rain or snow 48 hours before our start cancels, as does fewer than four signups as of 8pm, Wednesday, November 7. Pack at least 6 liters of water, lunch and the rest of the Ten Essentials, including clothing for a wide range of temperatures. 

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

We will meet at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA, 92262 at 3:00am SHARP on Sunday, November 11. Park on the street, not in the museum parking lot.

Trip Leader


Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

Phoenix, AZ

United States

members signed up for this event

guest member

Outdoor Fitness Level: Strenuous

Los Angeles, CA

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Palm Springs / Los Angeles, CA

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Los Angeles, CA

United States
Discuss This Trip/Event
CJDGO Posted Nov 10, 2018 at 12:31 PM

For those who end up going down the tram with me, I will PROBABLY have a car waiting to pick me up to shuttle back to the museum. Other options include Uber or Lyft (using Wifi in the valley tram station) or calling a cab to get back to the museum.

mbros4162 Posted Nov 10, 2018 at 9:33 AM

Did we want to set up a car shuttle? Two of us can leave ou car at the tram station on Saturday. Just means a few will need to carpool to the trailhead which will depend on where people are staying.

HikerMark Posted Nov 9, 2018 at 1:55 PM

Additional notes: Bring money for a 1-way tram ticket down ($12ish). Also bring cash for the cab ride from the lower tram station back to the museum, probably $5-$8 each. CJ’s note about water is CRITICAL. We'll do an early assessment to make sure we're all on track, and another at 4,300’. Anyone struggling will need to turn around for your own safety. After that, it becomes more dangerous to descend (due to the heat/lack of shade) than to keep going up.

CJDGO Posted Nov 8, 2018 at 10:49 AM

Our weather forecast is looking pretty ideal: sunny, dry and cool. Expect temps in the low 50s when we start the hike, mid-40s at the summit, and a high of perhaps 60 when we reach the tram at the end of the hike.

CJDGO Posted Nov 8, 2018 at 10:42 AM

Refilling water at the spring at the Long Valley ranger station is indeed an option. That's about 12.5 miles into our hike, after 80% of the climb is already done, so be sure to pack enough water to make it that far.

Nelson Posted Nov 7, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Will we take time to refill at the ranger station in Long Valley?

CJDGO Posted Nov 6, 2018 at 3:27 PM

How much water should you bring? Because this hike is very strenuous and our route is entirely dry, plan on A MINIMUM of 6 liters. That's about 1.5 gallons. A full 3L hydration bladder plus a (mostly) full gallon jug of water is not unreasonable. As for the "Ten Essentials," be sure to pack a headlamp and fresh batteries, since the first 3-4 hours of our hike will be in darkness.

CJDGO Posted Oct 26, 2018 at 6:23 PM

Check out the excellent, exhaustive (and exhausting!) summary of this trail at

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