** Use at Your Own Risk **
See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.
Location: Riverside County, about 11 miles south of Palm Desert, 129 miles from Los Angeles
- Auto Club: Riverside County
- Forest Service: San Bernardino National Forest
- USGS Topos: Martinez Mtn 7½, Toro Peak 7½
explanation of usage
- Nearby Peaks: Sheep Mountain
Printable version of this route
ROUTE 1 - Cactus Spring, Gully Route
Seasonal Closure: Sheep Mountain and Martinez Mountain are subject to a voluntary seasonal closure to protect bighorn sheep habitat, except for the months of October, November, and December. This seasonal closure may become permanent at some time in the future.
- Distance: 16 miles round trip on trail and cross-country
- Gain: 4300' total, 3500' out plus 800' on return
- Time: 8-9 hours round trip
- Rating: Class 2, strenuous
- Navigation: Intermediate
- Leader Rating: "I", normal conditions
- Route: Possible rock fall problems in the gully
Original: Roger Mitchell, August 1967
DRIVING ROUTE 1
From the west:
- Take I-10 or SR 60 east to SR 79 in Beaumont.
- Go south on SR 79 to the Ramona Expressway. Turn left (east).
- Go east and then southeast on the Ramona Expressway until it ends at
SR 74. Turn left (east).
- Go east on SR 74 to Mountain Center (junction with Idyllwild Highway
- SR 243).
- Continue east on SR 74 for about 21.5 miles to a paved road
(7S06) at a sign "Cactus Spring Trail". This is just
across from the entrance to Pinyon Flat Campground.
- Go south 1/4 mile to the (paved) "Sawmill Trailhead" parking lot.
From the north:
- Travel east on I-10 to its interchange with Monterey Avenue
near Palm Desert. Exit right (south) on Monterey. Reset
- At 6.0 miles, Monterey crosses 111 in Palm Desert and becomes
SR 74. Continue straight.
- At 21.3 miles, turn left (southeast) on a paved road (7S06) at
a sign "Cactus Spring Trail". This is just across
from the entrance to Pinyon Flat Campground.
- Go south 1/4 mile to the (paved) "Sawmill Trailhead"
HIKING ROUTE 1
- From the parking area (4040'), hike east along the road to an
- Continue straight ahead at the beginning of the Cactus
Spring Trail. This is shown as a short road segment on the topo. Hike
along the trail as it goes right at a fork and descends to a road near an
old dolomite mine.
- Turn left (east) on this road and follow it past the
mine to where the trail leaves the road. This is the old trailhead.
Continue east on the trail as it goes over several rises and then descends
to Horse Thief Creek near BM 3492.
- Follow it across the creek as it climbs
over a hill to avoid a waterfall and then descends back into a wash.
- Follow it east along this wash to Cactus Spring (usually dry), about 2 miles beyond
Horse Thief Creek.
- Continue on the trail as it follows a wide wash.
- Soon it leaves this wash on the right, just north of bump 4996'.
- From here, Martinez can be seen straight ahead. It has three saddles.
A large gully descends from the saddle on the right. This is the one to
- Leave the trail and continue up the wash. Follow the wash around the
left side of a low ridge and up this gully to the summit ridge.
- Turn left (north) and go up to the prominent summit block. It can be climbed
from the southeast side. Elevation 6562', shown on the map, is not
For large parties
Where the trail leaves the gully, continue up the trail to where it
crosses a saddle south-southwest of the summit. This is just north of BM
5168 on the topo. Leave the trail here and follow the ridge up to the
summit keeping right at obstacles. This route is poorly ducked.
NATURAL HISTORICAL NOTE
The Cactus Spring Trail is an old Indian route.
Both Sheep Mountain and Martinez Mountain are in the Santa Rosa Wilderness, but your sign-in at a wilderness register box near the beginning of the Cactus Spring Trail currently replaces the usual wilderness permit process for both day hikes and overnight trips.
Martinez Mountain is also on the
DPS Peak List.
Please report any corrections or changes to the
Mountain Records Chair.
Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
© 1998-2004 - All Rights Reserved