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near Pine Wood, California (United States)
** Most of the waypoint flags are clickable with additional pics **
This old boys and girls camp sits on the old PCT route before the trail was moved off the forest road and shunted further West. The camp was abandoned after it was donated to the YMCA (as I understand it). A wildfire started by a lightning strike destroyed most of the camp and the surrounding forest. The ruins are still visible and the views of San Jacinto and the valley below are amazing. The ruins are fun to explore - but take care - there's rusty metal EVERYWHERE. This includes jagged sheet metal, nails, and screws.
There is water nearby (just past the pool in a steep creekbed) if you're hiking the PCT and want to take this as a bypass before heading down to the desert floor. The water must be fairly reliable because this was the end of High Summer out here, still over 100 degrees on the desert floor but the water was running strong. It doesn't add much to your mileage, if any at all. It's a great off-trail campsite if you find yourself needing spot between Idyllwild and the desert floor.
If you have a high clearance vehicle you can drive most of this and just walk the remaining 2.4 miles from the last physical barrier to the first ruins. You likely wouldn't even need 4x4 drive, just good clearance (and shocks). Just as enjoyable is hiking to the camp from the Fuller Ridge Trailhead. The GPS track on the map shows driving in from the Black Mountain Camp on the Forest Service Road.
If you're driving, just continue on the FS road past the Fuller Ridge trailhead, head left at the first fork because there is a metal vehicle barrier on the right fork. Continue following the FS Road on the GPS track and you'll eventually encounter a dead end - blocked by a 2nd vehicle barrier. You can park in the nearby clearing and then hike up the rest of the road to the camp past the barrier.
If you would rather hike from Fuller Ridge you can do it two ways. The first method is to follow the FS road down to the first fork and go right and past the vehicle barrier on foot. The road will continue down into Camp Lackey. Couldn't be easier.
The second route is more fun and substantially longer. From Fuller Ridge trailhead take the Pacific Crest Trail northbound. The trail will descend, crossing the Forest Service road once until it intersects the road again on a broad, open, ridge. You'll clearly be able to see the FS road as it continues on to the right (East) of the PCT. Leave the PCT at this point, and follow the FS road to the second vehicle barrier mentioned above. From there the directions are the same as they are for driving in.
Most of the waypoints and pictures here are from the camp itself. I noted the locations of the concrete slabs of former buildings and included pics if they were at all interesting. There's a rocky, granite ridge designated by a waypoint that offers some of the best views of the Coachella Valley from this part of the mountain.
The drawbacks are all the perilous rusty metal just waiting to give you a tetanus boost. Also, many a careless camper has broken his beer bottles and left the shards for you to enjoy.
All in all, still a very interesting part of San Jacinto, a great jaunt off the PCT if you're already stagnating on your NoBo thruhike, and even drivable for the average family with a high-clearance vehicle. It's also about 30 degrees cooler than on the desert floor... so it's nice in the summer to be out of the heat. Enjoy.
Fork in the forest road. Keep Right
There are fallen trees over the road. They may have been placed there on purpose. You can easily go around. Follow the tracks of the many folks who have done just that.
This looks like an old corral. There are old posts with wire arranged in a semi circle. It's at the end of the forest road into camp. This would be a good place to park and/or camp.
I have no idea if this was actually an outhouse. It seems to have been from the look of the hinged door on the ground and what appears to be a pit under the old foundation. But I could be way off.
I don't have any idea what this was.
All that's left on many pads are the metal fixtures and staircases
This is a great vantage to see the Coachella Valley below as well as the camp and San Jacinto Peak.
This concrete pad is littered with hundreds of old, rusty nails.
Yeah. There was a pool up here. Must have been a lot of fun in the summer. Great view of the peak from the pool. Now it's completely filled in with muck and was swarming with mosquitoes.
May have been a sign in a garden. Don't know.
I would have thought this to be the main hall or mess where lots of meals were served. The only thing remaining is the brick chimney, the concrete foundation, and all the rusted metal. It may have been a bunkhouse too since there are many old bed frames and mattress springs.
This is really the only structure still standing.
I (actually Clover, the dog) found the water. It was surprisingly clear, clean, and fast moving. It isn't easy to get to, but it's certainly a welcome sight for anyone doing the PCT and facing a 6000' drop to the desert below with only one reliable water source.
This pad has many pipes and tanks. It may have been a boiler room or pump house.
There are two barriers. One on each of the roads into the camp. The first one you encounter could potentially be driven around with a high clearance vehicle. The second one, on the back way in, isn't passable by car. But it's an easy walk.