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Cactus Spring to the Springs
  • Sawmill
  • Pinyon, CA 92561

Wander through wide-open spaces — and discover a piece of Greater Palm Springs history — on this 9-mile hike in the Southern Santa Rosa Mountains. After parking at the Sawmill Trailhead, just off Highway 74 near Pinyon Flats, follow the dirt road past the Riverside County Transfer Station, register at the sign-in box, and let the adventure begin. The first part of the path, which welcomes hikers and horseback riders, travels mostly downhill across the cactus-spotted canyons, passing by a defunct dolomite mine and a historic corral along the way; whether it was used by horse thieves or cattle rangers is a mystery. A few switchbacks get the heartbeat going (you’ll gain about 2,380 feet overall), so pack plenty of water, as well as a map, compass, and GPS in case you start to lose your way on the poorly marked track. When you reach Horsethief Creek, a smooth stream shaded by a lush grove of cottonwood, juniper, and pine, stop and rest before continuing on for another 4.3 miles. Cactus Spring lies along a gulch on the left and is often dry (and tricky to find).

Total Distance: 9 miles

Level: Difficult

Hiking Features
  • Distance (mi): 9
  • Distance (km): 14.5
  • Difficulty Score: 20
  • Route Type: Out and back
  • Elevation at Trailhead: 4054
  • Elevation Gain (+): 2380
  • Elevation Loss (-): 2380
  • Net Elev +/- (ft): 2380
  • Net Elev +/- (m): 725
  • Minimum Elevation: 3436
  • Maximum Elevation: 4195
  • Elevation Change-lowest point to highest point ft: 759
  • Parking Type: Paved lot
  • Location: Southern Santa Rosa Mountains
  • Sub-Location: Pinyon Flats/Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
  • Horses Allowed:
  • Historic Sites:
  • 6 - 10 Miles:
  • Free:
Trail Length
  • 6 - 10 Miles:
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