Views from Tahquitz and Red Tahquitz Peaks

The following picture shows the view to the north from Tahquitz Lookout, with the peaks shown on the topographic map and Wellman Junction labeled. The location of Saddle Junction is indicated, but Saddle Junction itself is hidden behind the Lily Rock Ridge and cannot be seen directly. All the pictures below were taken on 2 August 2007. Although that day had high humidity and thus poor visibility, the pictures show the visible peaks clearly.

San Jacinto Peak itself is not visible from the Lookout since it is behind Jean Peak. Jean Peak, elevation 10,670 feet, appears higher simply because it is closer to Tahquitz Peak, even though it is actually 134 feet lower than San Jacinto Peak, elevation 10,804 feet.

San Jacinto Peak is visible from Red Tahquitz Peak, since one's vantage point has moved enough to place Jean Peak to the left of San Jacinto Peak:

Again, Jean Peak appears higher than San Jacinto Peak due to it being closer to Red Tahquitz.

The following picture shows the view to the northeast from Tahquitz Lookout, again with the peaks labeled:

The dropoff of the distant ridge at the extreme right is the beginning of the drop into Tahquitz Creek canyon near Caramba Camp, but the Creek itself is not visible from the Lookout. The location of Tahquitz Creek at Caramba is approximately as far beyond the right edge of this pix as the distance from 7484 to the right edge.

To help understand the view to the east from Tahquitz Lookout, the following topographic map shows the area:

The South Ridge Trail, the Little Tahquitz Valley Trail, and the actual Pacific Crest Trail are shown in dark blue, with the use trail to Red Tahquitz shown in green.

Red Tahquitz is not actually the highest peak in its vicinity, which is the peak labeled 8792 feet elevation. That 8792 peak is clearly seen as a separate peak from the Lookout.

Red Tahquitz itself is a double peak with very close separation. The highest of the two peaks is the southern peak, called South Red Tahquitz here, and is the one with the summit register can. Its elevation is given at 8738 feet on Tom Harrison's San Jacinto Wilderness Trail Map.

The following picture shows the view to the east from Tahquitz Lookout, toward Red Tahquitz, with lines identifying the 8792 peak, North and South Red Tahquitz Peaks, and the saddle between them:

The following picture shows an enlarged view of South Red Tahquitz, which shows its drop-off to the south.

For comparison with the pictures taken from Red Tahquitz, the following picture is marked with a rough line following the ridge close to the Lookout:

Note that as viewed from North Red Tahquitz, the Lookout appears to be almost in the middle of a flat part of the ridgeline of Tahquitz Peak (since North Red Tahquitz is seen to be almost in the middle of the flat part of the near ridgeline).

The following picture shows the view toward the Lookout from North Red Tahquitz, with the Lookout circled:

Note that the Lookout is indeed roughly in the middle of a flat part of the ridgeline. Also remember that left-to-right is 180° reversed between the view from Tahquitz Peak and the view from Red Tahquitz Peak. Thus the high ridge seen to the right of Red Tahquitz is seen to the left of the Lookout in the corresponding pictures.

The following pictures were taken from about 50 feet north of South Red Tahquitz, 30 feet north, and from South Red Tahquitz itself. You can see the Lookout beginning to disappear behind the ridgeline that appears just to the right of South Red Tahquitz in the view from the Lookout shown above. The Lookout is circled in each picture.

The above sequence of pictures demonstrates that one is indeed seeing South Red Tahquitz from the Lookout.

The ridgeline identifications above were derived from the following maps that show sightlines from Tahquitz Peak. A blue diamond marks the location of the highest ridgeline seen along each sightline. The locations of the highest ridgelines visible from Tahquitz Lookout are given as red lines which connect the blue diamonds. Trails are shown as dark blue lines.

The locations of the blue diamonds were deduced from elevation profiles constructed by National Geographic's Topo! program, except for the Red Tahquitz ridgeline, which was derived from the work above, for the following reason.

Most of the deduced highest ridgelines are accurately given by that elevation profile. However, when two ridgelines have almost the same elevation angle as seen from Tahquitz Peak, there is uncertainty as to which ridgeline is actually the highest.

There are two sources contributing to this uncertainty. First, when the highest ridgeline is in the immediate vicinity of Tahquitz Peak, the topographic maps do not have enough resolution to include all the local bumps, which are very important when they are close to the Lookout. Second, those elevation profiles are derived from digital data that are often not terribly precise for ridges.

For the highest ridgelines to the north and east of Tahquitz Peak, the major uncertainty is in the view of Red Tahquitz Peak. The photographic work above was done on 2 August 2007 to establish which points on Red Tahquitz Peak we could see the Lookout.

These maps can also be used, in conjunction with the identified peaks in the photos above, to locate landmarks in the foreground. In fact, these maps were used to locate Wellman Divide, Saddle Junction, and the location of Caramba Camp. These maps show

Versions of all the pictures without labels are also available online by removing the _label from the name. One way to do this is to display the picture in a separate browser window (a right click selecting View Image works in Firefox), and then delete the words _label in the URL).

I thank Dave Stith for helping to establish the visibility of the Tahquitz Lookout from Red Tahquitz, and for reviewing the accuracy of the labeled peaks and locations in the photographs.

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Copyright © 2007 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 4 August 2007.