Highlights along the trail included magnificent vistas of Desert Divide (Spitler Peak to the NW and Pyramid Peak to the SE) that we were on. The San Jacintos (very clear today) to the NW. To the north, the Coachella Valley from the Saltan Sea in the east to the Gorgornio Pass (with San Bernardino Mountains, San Gorgonio in particular looming even further north) to the west was clear and incredible to see. To the east, both Pinyon Flats and the Santa Rosa’s above were visible. Garner Valley was visible to the south, cupped by Rouse Ridge and it’s Thomas Mtn. Also to the south, Palomar Range (Palomar Mtn. was clearly visible).
The Fobes Trail travels from the northern part of Garner Valley to the Pacific Crest Trail at the Desert Divide. The trailhead is reached by turning north of SR74 onto a 4 mile dirt road, Fobes Ranch Road (6S05). The turnoff from SR74 is 6.8 miles southeast of Mountain Center just beyond mile marker 66. On Fobes Ranch Road, stay left at a fork 0.4 miles north of SR74, and stay right at the signed fork at mile 3.6. The signed Fobes Trailhead only has parking for ~3 vehicles, with additional parking a bit farther up the road.
For more reading on the Fobes Ranch Trail, see Hike 80 in Robinson and Harris, San Bernardino Mountain Trails, sixth edition, January 2006, p. 204; and Hike 48 in Ferranti and Koenig, 100 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs, 2000, p. 103.
The Cedar Spring Trail is a well-graded and switchbacked trail that passes through some very interesting habitats, as well as through a number of gates that divide Forest land from private property.
The trailhead is reached via the signed paved Morris Ranch Road, which heads north from SR74 (the Palms to Pines Highway) about four miles west of the intersection of SR74 and SR371, at the fire station just east of mile marker 67.75. It is 3.8 miles along Morris Ranch Road to the Cedar Spring trailhead, just past the Joe Sherman Girl Scout Camp, and 1/4 mile before the end of the road at the Morris Ranch.
There is very little parking at the trailhead itself, only enough for 2-4 cars, depending on whether you can shoehorn your cars into the narrow strips along the road. There is a larger parking area a bit to the south.
The portion from the trailhead to the PCT and back is 2.3 miles , with 1300 feet of elevation gain and loss. The trail starts at 5480 feet elevation, with a fairly uniform and strenuous slope of ~570 feet per mile to its high point at 6780 feet on the Desert Divide 2.3 miles from the start. The trail then descends 0.8 miles to 6400 feet to Cedar Spring (~460 feet per mile), which is the end of the trail.