Hike Name: Fobes Trail (Forest Service Trail # 4E04) to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT)
Name of area/general location: San Bernardino National Forest, Garner Valley
Land Acknowledgement: The Fobes Trail is located on the ancestral lands and traditional territories of the Cahuilla People. To learn more about the original residents and stewards of the lands, visit native-land.ca
Trail rating: Easy to moderate, primarily due to the elevation change, which is approximately 800 feet.
Trail mileage: Approximately 4 miles round trip (not including mileage on the PCT)
For more information: San Bernardino National Forest, San Jacinto Ranger District (909) 382-2921
Description of area, sights, wildlife and any key markers on the trail:
This in-and-out hike begins at the terminus of Fobes Ranch Road in Garner Valley. The trail winds through chaparral and oaks and interesting rock formations. About one-fourth of the trail winds through lands that the U.S. Forest Service has recommended for a wilderness designation. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for the endangered (federal and state) least Bell’s vireo, a songbird which has been documented in this area. You might also see the endangered (state) Mojave tarplant (California Native Plant Society 1B.3 rare plant ranking).
The trail intersects with the PCT at Fobes Saddle, south of Spitler Peak and north of Palm View Peak. If desired, once you reach the PCT, you can hike in either direction in order to do a PCT section hike of any desired mileage. Alternatively, you can take in expansive views of the Coachella Valley which can be seen from the PCT. Return to your vehicle by hiking the Fobes Trail in reverse. On the descent, you can enjoy the views of Garner Valley and Thomas Mountain, especially if you missed them on your way up to the saddle.
Directions: From the nearby community of Idyllwild, drive south on Highway 74 (Pines to Palms Highway) for about 11.3 miles. Pass Lake Hemet (which will be on your right side). Turn left on Fobes Ranch Road (6S05), just beyond mile marker 66. Travel on Fobes Ranch Road for about 4 miles. Stay left at a fork 0.4 miles north of SR74 and stay right at the signed fork at mile 3.6. There is parking for about three vehicles at the trailhead. Fobes Ranch Road is a dirt road that can be a bit rough, so it is recommended that you use a high clearance vehicle to drive from Highway 74 to the trailhead.
Note: An Adventure Pass is not required to park at the Fobes Trail trailhead as there are no amenities there. Please remember to pack out all of your trash and other personal items when you leave.
Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.