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


Sam Fink Peak

(UTM 352372)

Location: Riverside County, about 6 miles east of Idyllwild, 112 miles from Los Angeles


Auto ClubRiverside County, Los Angeles and Vicinity
Forest ServiceSan Bernardino National Forest
USGS ToposPalm Springs 7½, San Jacinto Peak 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
 Viewable JPG file - Approximately 1.2 megs
 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: Tahquitz Peak (LO), Red Tahquitz

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 14 miles round trip on trail and cross-country
Gain: 4500' total, 2600' out plus 1900' on return
Time: 7-9 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, strenuous

Original: Joe Young, January 2000


  • Drive I-10 to Banning. Exit at 8th Street (SR 243). Note your odometer and go as follows:
  • At 0.2 mile, turn left.
  • At 0.7 mile, turn right on San Gorgonio Avenue.
  • At 1.4 miles, keep left on SR 243.
  • At 25.0 miles, Idyllwild Ranger Station (San Bernardino National Forest) on the left. Turn left on Pine Crest Avenue. Note your odometer and go as follows:
  • At 0.6 mile, intersection. Make a half right on South Circle Drive.
  • At 0.7 mile, Fern Valley Drive on the left with a sign "Humber Park". Turn left.
  • At 1.2 miles, fork. Keep left.
  • At 2.2 miles, trailhead on the left. This is the climbers trail for Suicide Rock. Keep straight.
  • At. 2.6 miles, Humber Park. Park here.


  • The Devils Slide Trail begins at the upper right corner of the parking lot. From this trailhead (6500'), hike up the trail 2 1/2 miles to Saddle Junction (8100'). At this point there are four trail choices.
  • Take the Willow Creek Trail for 1.1 miles.
  • When the trail begins to veer north toward Hidden Lake Divide and Long Valley, leave the trail and follow a faint use path/deer trail east down a ridge and then down to Willow Creek. This trail is locally known as the King Trail and avoids the bad bushwhacking on the old trails that burned in the Mountain Fire.
  • Cross Willow Creek north of Laws Camp (7400'), climb over a low ridge, cross a tributary of Tahquitz Creek, and climb slightly to rejoin the old Caramba Trail.
  • Follow the faint remains of the Caramba Trail to Caramba Camp (6600'), 3.7 miles from Saddle Junction.
  • Cross Tahquitz creek at the south side of Caramba Camp. Follow a use trail past Tahquitz Creek to the overlook campsite on the slope.
  • Climb the slope southerly, curving around to the left staying about 50 yards below the cliffs until you reach a ridge, or one can take a bearing on the saddle from Caramba Camp and hike along the bearing to the saddle through open country. The climb to the saddle is steep and about 500'.
  • Cross the ridge and contour around until you reach the saddle at 7200'.
  • Turn left (southeast) and scramble to the summit.


The 2013 Mountain Fire was started by an electrical malfunction at a ranch in the Garner Valley and burned large patches of the San Jacinto Wilderness including portions along Tahquitz Creek east of Skunk Cabbage Meadow. The Caramba Trail from Reeds Meadow and the Cedar Trail from Willow Creek Trail to Laws were wiped out and are now overgrown.


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. A quota applies between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Permits may be obtained in 90 days in advance from:

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


Peak 7339' is not named on the USGS or USFS maps. In 1999 the Hundred Peaks Section named this peak for R. S. (Sam) Fink, one of the original players of the "hundred peaks game" in the 1940's. Sam Fink was the second person (after Weldon Heald) to climb 100 peaks in southern California. He was the first to complete the HPS List, and was the first to complete it a second time. From the late 1960's until the mid 1970's Sam cleared a route from Red Tahquitz south over South Peak to Antsell Rock, known as the Sam Fink Trail. Today, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) follows much of this route.

The Hundred Peaks Section's highest award, given annually, according to Secton Bylaws, "made in recognition of distinguished overall service to the Section," is named for Sam Fink.

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