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Cactus to Clouds Trail

The Cactus to Clouds Trail (C2C) is a hiking route in California. It begins in Palm Springs, California, and ascends to San Jacinto Peak. With a net elevation gain of roughly 10,300 feet (3,100 m), it has one of the greatest elevation increases among day-hike routes in the United States. The elevation gain happens in only 16 miles (26 km), also making it one of the steeper trails of its length in the world. The trail runs roughly parallel to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and the upper part of the trail runs very close to the Mountain station of the tramway.

The initial part of the route is called the Skyline Trail, which climbs 7,900 feet from the desert to Long Valley, in about 11 miles. There, it joins another system of trails, where hikers may gain another 2,400 feet (over 5 miles) to the summit. The route from the desert to the peak and back to the desert is about 32 miles long. A common way to tackle the hike is to walk the way up to the peak from the valley, then head back to the tram station, and then take the tram back down to the valley floor. Separate records are kept for the climb of Skyline Trail (first 11 miles), for C2C (16 miles one way from the museum to the peak, Cactus to Clouds), and for C2C2C (valley floor to the peak, and back to floor).

A hike up this route typically starts behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Skyline Trail starts along a path known as the Museum Trail, continues to a junction with the North Lykken Trail, before becoming an informal trail, not maintained by government agencies. At its end, it joins the Desert View Nature Trail in Mount San Jacinto State Park. The Skyline Trail ends at Long Valley at the end of the Nature Trail. At the end of Skyline, there is a ranger station where it is sometimes possible to obtain potable water. From here, the route continues to a trail junction called Wellman Divide, before reaching the summit of San Jacinto Peak.

There is a nearby cross-country mountaineering route to San Jacinto Peak, called the Snow Creek route. The approach rises even more dramatically than C2C, gaining 11,000 feet in just 7 miles.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cactus to Clouds Trail", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.