Old Deer Spring Trail

General Palm Springs area.

Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:17 pm

When and why was the old trail abandoned? Why was the trail moved to the current location?
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Florian » Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:51 am

I think the current route keeps the trail fully on State Park land. Also the property owners up Chipmunk Drive probably didn't want people parking on their private road.
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Wildhorse » Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:13 am

I first hiked Deer Spring in 2002. It had already been moved to its current location. Friends told me that the old trail head was near the junction of North Circle and Pinecrest.

Did you hike the trail before it was moved?
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Florian » Thu Dec 02, 2021 7:05 am

I hiked it a couple of years ago. I went with someone that knew a property owner and let us park at his house on Chipmunk Drive. The route joins the current trail right at the Suicide Rock junction.

I'll send you a private msg.
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Wildhorse » Thu Dec 02, 2021 11:20 am

Thanks, Florian. I posted a reply.

I assume the Deer Spring Trail was built or evolved casually a long time ago, like Devil Slide. Later, as Idyllwild development grew, it became a nuisance to people who lived near the trailhead or whose property it crossed. Friends who told me about the old trail beginning at Four Corners had lived in Idyllwild in the 80s and 90s. They are gone now. I have assumed that the new trail was built in the 90s, but that is a guess. The development of Chipmunk may have been the reason. I wonder if anyone who remembers what happened is still around and watching this discussion board.

When I imagined that I was hiking in wilderness, finding evidence of old trails and finding relics hidden in the wilderness was interesting. It still is, even while I realize that wilderness is not what I once thought or wished. Now I look more for wilderness, or wildness, hidden in places that are trammeled, but the history of the trails and the land still interest me.
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Ed » Thu Dec 02, 2021 3:58 pm

I hiked it once in the 1970's, and once in recent years. Can't remember crossing any private property when I hiked it in the '70's. I do not remember a trail to the top of Suicide Rock then. Could have been there, but I had climbed Suicide Rock from the other side a few times, lunched on the top, did not think of it as a place served by a trail, and do not remember the turnoff on the Deer Springs trail that is there now.

I would like to know more about the history of our trails, to straighten out my own memory. For example, when I hiked the Vivian Creek trail on San Gorgonio in the 1970's, I don't remember the series of exaggerated switchbacks above High Creek found there now.
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Wildhorse » Fri Dec 03, 2021 12:10 pm

Thanks Ed. Did you hike the Deer Spring Trail to San Jacinto in the 70s? Do you remember where the trail started when you hiked in the 70s?

My guess is that people parked on Pine Crest and the trailhead was near North Circle, based on what I remember from a discussion with friends in the early 00s.

It looks like people built houses on Chipmunk in the late 80s and 90s. That may be associated with moving the trail.

The trail may have started on or crossed private land in the 70s and earlier. My guess is that the trail name is old. The oldest trail may have passed through or ended at actual the Deer Spring in the relatively flat area near Marion. Later the Park may have moved the trail to make it easier to hike and maintain and to divert hikers away from Deer Spring. Just guessing, but if true, the trail would have been beautiful and the hike to San Jacinto would have been much more interesting and fun.

Ed, my guess is that the Suicide Rock trail from Deer Spring trail may have been constructed later. Maybe social trails preceded it, either where it cuts off now, or somewhere else.

I too would love to know more about trail histories. My experience has been that land managers (Park, USFS and BLM) try to erase trails and their history when the trails are troublesome for the managers. Erasure includes building new trails with the old names, changing maps, blocking views of the old paths, and sometimes destroying old paths. It’s sort of like the urban history term - erasure of memory.

I still hike trails, but I prefer to find my own routes like people did a long time ago. Sometimes I find old paths.
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Ed » Fri Dec 03, 2021 3:43 pm

Wildhorse,

Yes, I hiked the Deer Springs Trail to the peak in the 1970's. When I hiked it again in 2014, my impression was that it was not the same trailhead, perhaps further west on Hwy 243 than the old trailhead, but probably not far. I don't recall passing any streets or residences on the old trail. The main thing I remember is hoping this would soon be over the last few miles! 2014 was no different in that respect. It is a great hike, particularly if you take the Strawberry Cienaga loop.

I have wondered why there is so little trail history, and found your explanation interesting. But many institutions have little interest in their own history.
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby zippetydude » Sat Dec 04, 2021 6:20 am

Hi Wildhorse! Hi Ed!

Interesting topic, the old trails and routes are fascinating to me too. I don't frequent San J much except for Skyline, but over on San G I know the South Fork trail was rerouted sometime after the 70's. I had a map that had the old trail on it. Sadly, that old map is long gone. There also used to be an old mining road up the ravine from Slushy Meadows to Dry Lake, and you can still see some last vestiges of it is you take the ravine up instead of the trail.

As far as the Vivian route, you can still find some of the old trail...just turn left about 100' past the Halfway Camp sign and go a little way up the slope. The old trail is still there and quite passable. It meets back up with the current trail, but if you continue on the current trail til the next bend for a switchback, don't make the turn but rather just keep going straight and bingo, you're back on the old trail again. Kind of fun finding the old routes.

I don't know about the old trail route above High Creek. I agree the the switchbacks are excessive, so I just stay away from the trail entirely and go up the rocky ravine directly to the ridge.

Over on the San Bernardino Peak trail, there used to be an old trail from Columbine down to John's meadow. I haven't been that route in years now, so I don't know it's condition.

Good talking with you guys again!

z
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Re: Old Deer Spring Trail

Postby Ed » Sat Dec 04, 2021 11:36 am

Thanks, Zip. When I started hiking the Vivian Creek trail again after an absence of about 30 years, there were a number of things that seemed different, and I puzzled over whether it was a memory problem or the trail had actually changed. The Bear Flats trail on Baldy, on the other hand, seemed to be exactly as I remembered it. Except there are far more people on it now.
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