A lightly trafficked, but moderate to strenuous hike up to the Black Mountain fire lookout station which promises ample views of the gorgeous San Jacinto Mountain range as well as having plenty of boulderers to watch as they scale the large rock formations sprinkled along the entire hike as you make your way towards the summit.
- Located within the charming stretch of "The Village Lane," which includes various shops along a raised wooden patio section with ample outdoor seating, Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew is a quaint coffee stop to enjoy prior or after your hike.
- Traveling from Los Angeles, take the I-10 East towards Palm Springs. After passing through the city of Beaumont, you'll take 8th Street / CA-243 exit towards Idyllwild. Continue on CA-243 for the next 12.5 miles until you reach the sign noting the turnoff to "Black Mountain". You'll drive along a dirt road for a couple hundred yards until you reach the parking area near the trailhead for Black Mountain. Ample parking is available for a hand full of cars, so if you arrive early parking shouldn't be difficult at all.
- NOTE: You need a Southern California "Adventure Pass" to park at the trailhead for Black Mountain.
- Luckily, the trail to the Black Mountain Lookout Station is incredibly straight forward. Beginning at the parking lot right off of CA-243, you'll trek uphill for a solid mile until you reach a plateau with scattered boulders all around. Here, there's a high chance you'll be able to spot a few boulderers in the area as you pass through working your way up the gradual incline.
- After another mile, you'll reach the Black Mountain Scenic area, which offers stunning views of the San Bernardino Mountains (where the main hero image for this hike was taken).
- You'll then carry on, uphill, another 1.2 miles until you reach a trail split. This will be quite noticeable as you pass a wooden sign noting "trail" in the direction you've just come from earlier. Head towards the trail to the left / straight ahead (or due east) instead of the trail to the right (or southeast) which you'll know you're on if you reach a water shelter.
- Once you pass the split, a road gate will appear about a hundred yards ahead and will lead you into the Boulder Basin Campground. Spot the signs directing you towards the "lookout" station on the southeast side of the campground.
- Enjoy the views at the lookout and then return the way you came.
- Elevation at summit: 7,708 feet