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See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.


Antsell Rock


Location: Riverside County, about 5 miles east-southeast of Idyllwild, 115 miles from Los Angeles


Auto ClubRiverside County, Los Angeles and Vicinity
Forest ServiceSan Bernardino National Forest
USGS ToposIdyllwild 7½, Palm View Peak 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
 Viewable JPG file - Approximately 720K
 GPX file or Google Earth KML file to download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)
 Routes as shown on CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)

Nearby Peaks: Southwell Peak ("South" on USGS topos), Apache Peak

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 14 miles round trip on trail and cross-country
Gain: 3600' total, 3200' out plus 400' on return
Time: 8-9 hours round trip
Rating: Class 3, strenuous, climbing helmets required
Navigation: Difficult

Original: John Backus, July 1987


  • Go south on I-215 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.
  • Continue east on SR 74 for 3.5 miles to Apple Canyon Road on the left. Turn left.
  • Pass the entrance to the Hurkey Creek Campground on the left and continue 2.6 miles to a large parking area on the left. Park here. This is the parking area for the Spitler Peak Trail.


  • The Spitler Peak Trail, 3E22, begins at a square post at the north end of the parking area. From the parking area (4950'), hike up the trail to where it meets the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on the ridge between Apache Peak and Spitler Peak.
  • Turn left (north) and follow the trail to a trail junction just south of the two summits of Apache Peak. The PCT goes right.
  • Keep left and hike up to the saddle between the two summits. Hike north along the main ridge until it descends again to the PCT north of Apache Peak.
  • Continue on the PCT until you reach the saddle between Apache Peak and Antsell Rock (about 6900'), just west of the boundary of Sections 23 and 24. There is a trail junction (not obvious) near this saddle. The trail to the left goes down Apple Canyon about 2 miles to the Zen Center, then another 2 miles on a road to the Spitler Peak Trail trailhead. Continue northwest along the PCT.
  • Go about 1/2 mile farther on the PCT to a minor gully where there should be a duck on the uphill (left) side of the trail.
  • Leave the trail and go up the loose steep slope to a saddle between two rocky prominences. The one to the right (west) is the summit.
  • From this saddle, go along a brushed-out trail along the left side of the summit prominence about 15 yards.
  • Then follow a ducked class 3 route up the rocky face to the summit ridge and then left up to the summit.

Note: HPS policy requires the possession and use of a climbing helmet on Class 3 terrain or where the hazard of rockfall is present.

Printable version of this route


From Southwell Peak
(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 1.5 miles one way on trail, use trail, and cross-country
Gain: 500'
Time: 2 hours one way
Rating: Class 3, strenuous, climbing helmets required, with Southwell Peak
Navigation: Difficult

Original: Frank Dobos, November 1992



  • From Southwell Peak, descend back to the PCT.
  • Hike this trail south past bump 7520'+ to saddle (7200'-) on the ridge just before the trail descends on the left (east) side. This is about 1/2 mile north-northwest of Antsell Rock.
  • Leave the trail here and follow the rocky ridge that alternates between class 1 and class 2. Pass the rocky bump just north of Antsell on the right (west) side and hike up to the face of Antsell in a narrow notch.
  • Facing Antsell, a large class 3 crack goes up to the right. Go up this crack to a ledge at the top.
  • Turn left and contour left up past some trees into a gully. Go up this gully crossing an easier rock path until you come out on the ridge.
  • Turn right and go up the ridge to the summit.

Note: HPS policy requires the possession and use of a climbing helmet on Class 3 terrain or where the hazard of rockfall is present.


If you hiked in from the southeast, it is not necessary to go all the way back to the saddle where you left the trail. Descend back down into the notch at the base of the vertical crack. From here descend east-northeast down a steep gully to the PCT. There are one or two spots on this route that make it hard to ascend. Descending is no problem except for possible rock fall.

Alternatively, you can descend via Route 1 to the saddle southeast of Antsell Rock. It is recommended that you have ascended this route before using it for a descent.

It is recommended that this peak be climbed with someone who is already familiar with the route.


Trips to this Peak listed in the Schedule must be led by "M" rated leaders or above, or by "I" rated leaders approved by the Angeles Chapter Safety Committee.

Wilderness permits are required under all circumstances. Permits are limited to 12 hikers. Permits may be obtained from the Idyllwild Ranger Station just off SR 243 at 54270 Pine Crest Road. There is a self-issue permit stand outside of the ranger station. Permits may be obtained in advance from:

San Jacinto Ranger District
54270 Pinecrest
P.O. Box 518
Idyllwild, CA 92549
Voice: (909) 382-2921
Fax: (951) 659-2107

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