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Los Angeles Hikes

Hike the Suicide Rock Trail (Idyllwild)

  • 7 miles - Moderate Effort
  • 3-4 Hours (Total)
  • 1,830 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 7,420 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

Hiking the Suicide Rock Trail gives you the big mountain feel without climbing the big mountains. You'll have to hike uphill on the Deer Springs Trail, through the oaks that give way to pines as you get higher. The payoff is a massive slab of granite with views of the mountains surrounding you. Although you are in San Bernardino National Forest, it feels like you could be at Yosemite.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Suicide Rock Trail
  • Getting the Free Suicide Rock Trail Permit
  • Recommendations for the Hike

Permits for the Suicide Rock Trail

You need a free permit to hike to Suicide Rock. The first stop you should make is the San Jacinto Ranger Station in the town of Idyllwild, less than a mile from the Deer Springs Trailhead.  Use this address:
San Jacinto Ranger Station, 54270 Pine Crest Ave, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549

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Here's the San Jacinto Ranger Station. Parking is in the lot in front of the entrance.
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Look for the board in front of the entrance to find the permit. You can show up here 24 hours a day. The permits are outside that station.
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You want the "all other trails" permit.
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Fill out the permit, and then leave the white copy in the box at the board. Keep the yellow copy with you.

Where is the Suicide Rock Trail?

After you have the permit, make your way 0.8 miles to the Deer Springs Trailhead here:
Deer Spring Trail, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, CA 92549

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There's a medium-sized parking area at the Deer Springs trailhead. Parking is free; no parks pass or Adventure pass is needed.

Gear For the Hike

This is an "all-seasons" hike. In the summer it can be hot, and in the winter the trail can be covered with snow and ice. If you are hiking in a season when there's snow, check the excellent San Jacinto Trail Report website for current conditions. If the trail is snowy or icy and you don't have experience in those conditions, give the hike a try another time.

Otherwise you'll want to bring at least 1L of water. The hike is largely shaded but can be warm. Trekking poles are helpful on the slopes if you have them. In the summer there can be bugs; have some insect repellant on hand just in case.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2Hit SOS or just tell loved ones that you're running late where your cell phone has no service.  Review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The best hiking footwear I've ever owned. No blisters. Get them wet, they dry quickly. Lots of cushion and comfort.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProHiking maps, route info, and fitness stats on my wrist. Review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26Lightweight, carries all your gear, and your back doesn't get sweaty. Oh yea, it's also one of the most inexpensive packs you can get.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated July 2024)

Suicide Rock Trail Maps

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Keep your eyes open for logs, sticks, and rocks that block off unofficial side trails.
Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Elevation Profile

Hike The Suicide Rock Trail Elevation
It's all uphill on this hike. You get occasional breathers when the gradient eases up, and overall the climbing is steady without any very steep sections.

3D Map

Hike The Suicide Rock Trail 3d Map
We'll climb up on the Deer Springs Trail, and then onto the Suicide Rock Trail for the last mile to the overlook, perched above Strawberry Valley.

Why is it Called Suicide Rock?

Historic Idyllwild
The name "Suicide Rock" has nothing to do with actual suicides, but instead, early tourists like these guys from the 1880s. Photo Idyllwild Area Historical Society

The history of the name is a bit sketchy, but according to the local oral history shared by USFS Rangers, this is roughly how it goes.

Suicide Rock From Tahquitz
If you look at Suicide Rock from the other side of the valley (here from the Tahquitz Peak hike), you can see the vertical cliffs.

Suicide Rock Hike Directions

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Look for the wide path leading up from the right side of the parking area.
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Climb up the wide path as it bears left, avoiding any small side trails.
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Keep hiking until you see the large sign. The Deer Springs Trail starts on the right side of this area.
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The large sign informs hikers about the permit, which you should have already. The permit is good for the two parks that the hike goes through: San Bernardino National Forest and San Jacinto State Wilderness.
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Right from the start the Deer Springs Trail climbs.
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Overall the trail is a mix of sandy soil and rocks. Some sections offer a switchback to ease the grade.
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At just under a mile you'll reach the border of the state park. Keep hiking up to the left.
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Here's the San Jacinto State Park sign up close.
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As you climb you'll get glimpses through the trees of the surrounding mountains, including Tahquitz Peak ahead.
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There are level sections to catch your breath.
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At about 2 miles in you'll reach the junction of the Suicide Rock Trail. Make the right.
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Here's the sign from the junction. It's actually a little longer than 1 mile to Suicide Rock.
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This section of trail is not as steep as the beginning.
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You'll get nice views of Lily Rock, where modern free climbing was born in the 1930s.

In the 1950s the Yosemite Decimal System, the rating system used for rock climbing difficulty, was invented by climbers using Lily Rock.

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As you continue, the summit of Suicide Rock comes into view.
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Cross over Marion Creek at the gully.
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After crossing the creek you'll leave the state park and reenter the National Forest.
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Now you have to hike one last short steep section to Suicide Rock.
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And here you are! This big slab of granite is Suicide Rock.

If you want to summit Suicide Rock, just hike up through the trees on the right of the last photo. There's no summit marker. It's just a pile of rocks in the trees. I usually skip it.

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You'll get postcard-perfect views of Lily Rock and the surrounding mountains.
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There are lots of areas to explore in search of the perfect snack spot. Just be careful around the edges.
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And that's it. Once you're done at Suicide Rock, just hike back the way you came.

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This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.