Joshua Tree and Cactus to Clouds Adventure

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San Jacinto State Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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Mountain Climbing

This southern California adventure will take you to the wild side as we explore pristine wilderness areas as well as push ourselves on one of the most challenging hikes in North America. The Cactus to Clouds Trail from Palm Springs up San Jacinto Peak has the greatest continuous elevation gain of any trail in the United States. Also known as the Skyline Trail, it climbs 10,800 feet in approximately 16 miles.  The good news is that we will take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway most of the way down the mountain!

October 10-13, 2024

Custom dates available

Airbnb or hotel

Joshua Trees at sunset

Day 1: Travel to Palm Springs:  Upon our Palm Springs arrival we will meet at the airport and provide transportation to our hotel/Airbnb. Time permitting, we will do a warm-up hike/activity as well as make our final gear preparations. We will then enjoy a team dinner before turning in to get some much-needed rest prior to our hike the following day.

Day 2: Joshua Tree Hiking:  Joshua Tree National Park is known for its high concentration of Joshua trees as well as a labyrinth of trails amidst towering boulders and unique rock formations. Our adventure in this park will include a 7.2-mile loop hike on three trails—the Maze Loop, Window Trail, and North View trail. We will gain 850 feet on these moderately rated trails. This adventure highlights all that is special about this national park. Time permitting, we will explore other areas of the park to get a broader perspective on all the treasures it has to offer. After our Joshua Tree excursion, we will relax for the balance of the day and make final preparations for our big ascent tomorrow. With that in mind, we will eat a nourishing dinner and get a good night’s sleep.


Day 3: Cactus to Clouds Hike: Day 3 starts with an early wake-up and breakfast. We will be on the trail before sunrise, ascending 10,800 feet in 16 miles. The hike begins in the desert environment of the Mojave and as we ascend the temperatures get cooler and the surroundings become more alpine in nature. This is rated as one of the hardest hikes in North America as it gains so much elevation in such a short distance. It is also an amazingly beautiful hike. We literally start in downtown Palm Springs and as we rise the urban-desert landscape gives way to brush, trees, and probably even a bit of snow. We will be carrying water for the entire hike—generally, 4 to 6 liters, depending on your consumption.  Once we have completed the ascent, we will take a 2.5-mile Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ride to the bottom! You will notice that this downhill ride will save you from many of the typical pains which accompany downhill hiking. Your legs will feel surprisingly good the next day even though we completed a very challenging climb. Upon completion of our amazing journey, we will have a celebratory dinner before enjoying the most well-deserved sleep of your life!

Day 4: After a restful night and a healthy breakfast we will discuss our next adventure before heading to the Palm Springs airport. If everyone has late enough flights, we can plan a morning recovery activity before bidding each other a fond farewell

Pick-up and Drop-off at the Palm Springs Airport

Ground transportation throughout the trip

3 nights lodging (double occupancy)

Park entry fees

Professional guiding services for 4-day trip

Airfare to Palm Springs


Tip for guide (10-20% of trip cost)