Cactus to Clouds Trail

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Cactus to Clouds Trail
San Jacinto Peak from the east near Cactus to Clouds.jpg
Upper reaches of the Cactus to Clouds Trail on San Jacinto Peak's east face
Location Palm Springs, California
Trailheads Palm Springs Art Museum
San Jacinto Peak.
Use Hiking, Backpacking
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Very strenuous, difficult to follow, temperature extremes, no water[1][2]

The Cactus to Clouds Trail from Palm Springs, California, to San Jacinto Peak is a hiking trail. With a net elevation gain of 10,300 feet (3,100 m), it has the greatest elevation increase of any trail in the United States. It gains it in only 18 miles (29 km), also making it one of the steeper trails of its length in the world.[3] Also known as the Skyline Trail, it climbs 7,900 feet from the desert to Long Valley where it joins with the main trail to gain another 2,400 feet to the summit. The trail is ten miles to the tram in Long Valley or twenty miles to San Jacinto Peak and back down to the tram.

The trail starts behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. The bottom portion, known as the Museum Trail, continues to a junction with the North Lykken Trail. At its end it joins the Desert View Nature Trail. Hikers may proceed to Long Valley and then continue to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway or San Jacinto Peak.

With the exception of the final few miles to the summit, no portion of the Skyline Trail is an officially sanctioned trail of any public land agency; however, public access to the area is allowed. It is maintained by local hikers, who have painted directions onto rocks and maintain an emergency water cache.


  1. ^ "Skyline trail: Cactus to clouds". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Cactus to Clouds Hiking Guide". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ Harris, David Money and Harris, Jennifer Money, Afoot and Afield Inland Empire, Wilderness Press, 2009, pp. 231-233.

Coordinates: 33°49′31″N 116°33′02″W / 33.82528°N 116.55056°W / 33.82528; -116.55056