Suicide Rock Trail, Mt. San Jacinto State Park

Ah, the joys of a town surrounded by a state park / wilderness. On the first day of our stint in Idyllwild, we tackled the Suicide Rock Trail in Mount San Jacinto State Park.

I sprung for an AllTrails Pro subscription so that I could download a map with the trail already marked and track our progress on my phone without a cellular connection to make sure we didn’t get off track. Best $30 I ever spent as (a) I lost cell reception before we even got to the trail and (b) California is not into trail markers. What gives, California? Give your Search & Rescue teams a break, keep hikers from accidentally getting lost.

AllTrails describes the hike as being heavily trafficked, but we went on a Thursday morning (yay vacation!) and only saw a few people on our way up. As we made our way down in the afternoon, we ran into several people. Generally, we were pleasantly alone.

Total distance: 7.52 mi
Max elevation: 7435 ft
Min elevation: 5618 ft
Total climbing: 2860 ft
Total descent: -2859 ft
Average speed: 2.55 mi/h
Total time: 05:02:54


Parking at the trail head is a pullout off Route 243, the main drag through Idyllwild. There’s a noticeable sign for Deer Springs Trail parking.

The Route

Although the hike is referred to as the Suicide Rock Trail, you’ll spend most of it on the Deer Springs Trail. Suicide Rock is a spur trail that veers off to the right, two miles from the Deer Springs trailhead.

At the lower climes, there is much manzanita, blooming with pretty pink flowers at the end of May.

Dar says I match.

As you get higher in elevation, Ponderosa pines join the mix.

At the two-mile point, you come to the Suicide Rock spur trail off Deer Springs. I am THRILLED to be going to my certain death. The naming committee around here needs some oversight.

Hooray for suicide? At least the scenery is nice.
Did I mention that the scenery is nice? So beautiful.

They make big trees here.

As you approach Suicide Rock itself, there are lovely views across the valley to other peaks.

Also rattlesnakes.

He’s more scared of us than we are of him, we are told.

The top of Suicide Rock, which is the part you’ll find by climbing the trail, is a lovely place to lie and watch cloud pangeas form and dissipate and re-form. Lizards will do push-ups in an attempt to impress you. Feel free to challenge them to a push-up-off for territorial dominance. (Back at the house, a lizard challenged my hiking companion to a head-bob-off and was horrified and chastised when she engaged him and apparently won.)

Top of Suicide Rock, San Jacinto National Park, California

Lizards do push-ups. Respect.

The Return

When you come back down Deer Springs to your car, it’s very easy to wander down a washout instead of the trail for the last 100 feet and pop out in a random spot on Route 243. In the event that you do so (we did), it’s probably quicker to just walk down 243 to the parking lot than to go back up to the trail.

Oh look, more big trees to hug.
Lizards are not afraid of you. Or they’re putting on a brave face.


Distance7.4 miles
Elevation Gain1873 feet
Moving Time3 hours, 32 minutes
Total Time4 hours, 13 minutes
Average Pace34 minutes per mile / 2.1 mph
Water Consumed2 liters
Food Duringstacks of sliced cucumber, pre-sliced cheese squares, and dry salami, mixed nuts, took clif bars but didn't need them
Temperature Range70°F


PackCamelBak Aventura hydration pack
NavigationPhone 6 with AllTrails Pro
ShoesHoka One One Challenger ATR 5 trail running shoes
Used Poles?Yes
ClothesSocks: Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew Toesocks
Bottom: lightweight long hiking pants
Shirt: short sleeve wicking tee


See my current gear, clothing, and thoughts about it on the Hiking Gear page.