San Jacinto Peak is easily accessible, as many trails penetrate the San Jacinto Wilderness. The most popular route involves taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway from Valley Station (2,643 ft) in Palm Springs up to Mountain Station (8,516 ft). From there, one can easily climb the mountain face via trails. Another method is to hike to the peak from the nearby mountain town of Idyllwild. The climb is popular and not overly strenuous. The Cactus to Clouds trail climbs over 10,000 ft from the Desert Art Museum in Palm Springs to the summit at 10,800 ft . Climbing the mountain’s north face, via the Snow Creek Drainage, is no longer legal as this route passes through private property.
The mountain is quite rugged in places, with several outdoor hazards that hikers may be unprepared for, including high altitude, severe weather, steep rock faces, and wild animals. Hikers and climbers die or are harmed every year.
From the peak, Mount San Gorgonio can be seen across the San Gorgonio Pass. Also easily visible below is the Coachella Valley, which is home to the Salton Sea. In addition, much of the Inland Empire to the west can be viewed on a clear day.