Hike Garnet Peak via PCT
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||4.2 miles (6.8 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||650 feet (198m)|
|Highest Elevation||5,900 feet (1798m)|
|Fees & Permits||Parking Pass|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Cleveland National Forest|
|Weather & Forecast||Latest Conditions|
|Stay Safe||Copy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.|
Garnet Peak offers commanding views from the Laguna Mountains over the Borrego Desert and surrounding mountains. It’s one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the area. In this hiking guide, we’ll take the PCT to the Garnet Peak Trail, the most scenic route that offers plenty of parking at the trailhead. Don’t let the short distance fool you; the views on this hike are worth it.
Where is the Garnet Peak Trail?
We’re not going to take the Garnet Peak Trail directly to the summit. The parking for that trail is limited, and the approach lacks views. So instead, we’ll park a short way down the road at the Penny Pines Trailhead, follow the PCT along the escarpment to the Garnet Peak Trail, and then climb to the summit. Use this trailhead address:
Penny Pines Trailhead, 12031 Sunrise Hwy, Mt Laguna, CA, 91948
Don’t confuse Garnet Peak with Garnet Mountain, which is about 3 miles north of the trailhead and lacks a trail. You can still scramble to the summit there if you’d like, but I won’t cover it in the guide here.
You need a National Parks Pass or Adventure Pass to park here.
Gear For the Hike
If you’re not familiar with the Laguna Mountains, they can be extreme. In the winter, there can be snow and cold temperatures. In the summer, it can get pretty warm (but usually there’s a breeze). So check the weather before you go. You can do this short hike in fitness or light hiking gear. The summit of Garnet Peak can be extremely windy.
Joby GripTight Smartphone Flexible Tripod
Take your selfie stick game to the next level. Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.
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Black Diamond Cosmo 300 Headlamp
If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Smartphones can work as flashlights, but that drains the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in a reasonably priced and high-quality headlamp like this Black Diamond. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.
Latest Price – REI | Amazon
REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $30 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, free shipping, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.
REI Membership – REI
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated June 2022.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Garnet Peak Trail Maps
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Garnet Peak Trail Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
Garnet Peak first appeared on the USGS topographic map in 1942. The peak is named after the gemstone, commonly found in red, that was mined in the area.
This guide last updated on May 23, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.