Beat The Summer Heat and Crowds

By GearCooper Olin

late summer in socal can bring the heat, crowds and bugs to the local mountains, making the beach seem like a much more desirable place to spend the time.

however if you've got the itch to hike and bag some peaks during this time of year and you've got some good friends, a solid knowledge of the trails, and are wanting one of the best places to spend the night in the world, then night hiking might be the thing for you.

it was an august afternoon when we decided to make the trek up the 6 mile marion trail to the 10,500 foot summit of San Jacinto. We took off straight from work, having stashed our packs, trekking poles and trail shoes under our desks during the work day and eagerly waiting the evening.

at 7pm we took off waiting for the traffic to soften up and arrived at the trail head at 9:30pm. with headlamps leading the way we made the trek in the cool of night, following the well maintained trail to the summit. as the night went on, we enjoyed an empty trail and a cool night with a billion stars in the sky, and enjoyed the fun of four friends.

by 1am we were on the summit, with the crisp lights of palm springs and the high desert on one side, and the coast clouds and city lights on the other. our camp for the night was just a stones throw from the summit as a calm but stern wind would pick up allowing us the first time to enjoy some cool weather in what felt like months. the morning light was the first to wake us to one of the most incredible views below us which we enjoyed before we took off down the trail at around 6, arriving to the car by 9 and straight back to work.

as a means for hiking during the busy and hot summer months, a night hike up a well maintained trail is the way to go. remember, always take friends, always know the trail, and always bring the gear you need for a safe trek. you are responsible for having the gear you need and for your own safety. for me, I slept like a baby in my phantom 15 and bivy and my trekking poles were a must. make sure to get a permit too and check out these resources for other information.

regardless of the time of day, San J is an excelent hike and one that is a must in the socal area and a great training for other bigger hikes like whitney.


Night or Day, San Jacinto is one of the best hikes in SoCal. Check out other views from the summit and share yours with #sanjacintopeak

get out there!

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