Due to record snowfall, a rescue team in southern California is asking Pacific Crest Trail hikers not to travel the 60-mile section through the San Jacinto Mountains.
California’s mountains are in the middle of one of their snowiest years on record, after a late February storm buried much of the state. In a matter of weeks, the Sierra Nevada received 12ft of snow. It closed some ski areas and forced Yosemite National Park into indefinite closure. Southern California’s mountain areas have seen snowfall of nearly 7 feet, trapping residents and forcing Governor Gavin Newsom into declaring a state emergency in 13 counties.
That storm coincided with the beginning of the Pacific Crest Trail’s official season, with the first northbound thru-hikers departing from the US-Mexico border on March 1. While most NOBO hikers plan to depart later in the season (March 1st), permits are valid from March 1st through May 31st. It won’t be long before those hikers begin to reach Paradise Valley Cafe at mile 151.9, which marks the beginning of the ascent into the San Jacinto Mountains and the first meaningful high-altitude section of the trail.