Each spring I head to John’s Meadow a few times, mostly as a gear check, and now that I’m older it’s a nice way to break my body into being on the trail. I believe John’s Meadow is still closed… if I’m wrong, please say so.
Anything open that’s similar, meaning a few miles in and out, plenty of water?
You are correct, James. John’s Meadow is still closed.
You could do the South Fork trail to the Dry Lake/ Dollar Lake split and back. About 3 miles one- way. There is a river at the split but not much (if any?) along the way (except at the very beginning).
You could also do the Wildhorse Trail 2E02. I posted a trip report in a thread down below with the trail name as the title. You could go as far as Wildhorse Camp (about 3.5 miles one-way). There was a small stream when I was there.
There will probably be no access to Johns Meadow for years. The Ernie Maxwell trail in Idyllwild is similar as far as far as elevation gain and loss (very little) though I’ve only done the first little bit of it on my way to climb at tahquitz.
AFAIK, Johns Meadow (RIP) and Ernie Maxwell Scenic trail are the only two local trails that contour across the mountain instead of going up to a peak or camp or other goal.