TRAILS of the SAN GORGONIO WILDERNESS


Free Wilderness Permits are required for all hikes into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. They may be requested in person, by mail, or by FAX up to three months in advance from Mill Creek Ranger Station. You may obtain your permit in person at the Mill Creek Ranger Station, Barton Flats Visitor Center (summer only), or Fawnskin Ranger Station (Big Bear). [apply for a permit]. All visitors parking a vehicle on the San Bernardino National Forest (in addition to the three other Southern California Forests) must also have the required Adventure Pass posted in their vehicles. Click here for details.

pineconeOpen water sources are easily contaminated by human and animal waste. Don't drink water from springs, lakes, ponds, or streams without treatment. Recommended treatment methods are iodine, boiling, or any number of filters commercially available.

PLEASE NOTE: The mileages indicated in the descriptions below should only be used as an approximate guideline, NOT exact measured distances. We have done our best to supply accurate information and distances, but inaccuracies may exist.
 

Interactive San Gorgonio Wilderness Map  |  U.S.F.S. San Gorgonio Wilderness Trail Mileage/Elevation Infosheet


South Fork | Lost Creek | Aspen Grove | Fish Creek | North Fork | Vivian Creek | Momyer | San Bernardino | Forsee Creek | Kitching Peak | Deer Springs | Bear Wallow

South Fork Trail
The South Fork Trailhead is on Jenks Lake Road, 2.5 miles from Highway 38. The trail begins at the large paved parking lot (6,900') on Jenks Lake Road East and climbs 2.5 miles where it crosses the Wilderness boundary just beyond a short side trail (NE) to a photo overlook (Poop-Out Hill, 7,740') and Wilderness information display. The trail then crosses the Wilderness boundary and continues another 1.7 miles to South Fork Meadows (8,200'). Here the trail forks: to the left (east) is Dry Lake (1.5 miles, 9,000') and to the right (west) is Dollar Lake (2 miles, 9,300').

The Dry Lake camping area (remember that camping is at least 200 feet from meadows, streams, springs, trails, and other occupied sites) is spread through two drainages. The first has only one or two good camping sites, the second, in the largest draw, has almost all the sites as well as Lodgepole Spring (about .25 mile up the trail towards Fish Creek Saddle-9,900').

One and three-tenths miles beyond Dry Lake is Trail Flats Camp (no water, 9,700'). Three-tenths mile further on is Mineshaft Saddle (9,960'), from which the hiker may choose to climb to the summit of San Gorgonio Mountain (11,499').

The 4.5 mile Sky High Trail from Mineshaft Saddle to the peak is occasionally steep, often rocky, and usually snow-covered in the early Fall, Winter, and late Spring. The climb should always be done with care. Warm garments are a necessity since the wind can and may pick up sharply at the peak. Just east of the true peak is Summit Camp, best reached by either the Sky High or Vivian Creek trail. Rocky and windswept, it presents a panoramic view of Southern California. Here you will find a few rock walled shelters to take protection from the frequent buffeting wind.

Camping at Dollar Lake is at Dollar Lakes Forks Trail Camp (9,300'), located approximately .3 mile from the lake. Camping is prohibited within mile of Dollar lake, including camping on the ridges above the lake.

Dollar Lake Saddle (9,960' - no camping here, no water) is located .7 mile beyond Dollar Lake. From the Saddle, it is 5 miles to the summit of San Gorgonio Mountain (11,499'). One popular camp accessible from Dollar Lake Saddle is Red Rock Flat (10,100'), mile west of the saddle. High Meadow Springs (10,400') is mile further with water available for both camps.

Though beautiful, the South Fork Trail is one of the most heavily used trails. If you have visited this region before, consider a trip to one of the following trails.

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Fish Creek Trail
To reach the trailhead, turn right (south) off Highway 38 about 6 miles past the Barton Flats Visitor Center on Forest Service Road 1N02. Follow 1N02 until it forks right to 1N05. Follow 1N05 (not intended for low-slung autos) about 7 miles to the trailhead (8,180'). From the Fish Creek trailhead, it is 1.7 miles to Fish Creek Trail Camp (8,600'). Water is available (normally) approximately 1/2 mile beyond Fish Creek Trail Camp (Fish Creek crosses the trail). During early spring, water may be found flowing directly through camp.   

Three and three-tenths miles further is Fish Creek Saddle (no water-9,900'). Water is obtained from Lodgepole Spring (9,000'), seven-tenths of a mile down a trace trail to Dry Lake (9,000'), or packed up from Fish Creek. From Fish Creek Saddle, it is .9 mile to Mineshaft Saddle (9,960') where it meets the Sky High Trail. The summit of San Gorgonio (11,499') is 3.5 miles further.

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Aspen Grove Trail
Turn right (south) off Highway 38 about 6 miles past the Barton Flats Visitor Center on Forest Service Road 1N02. Follow 1N02 until it forks right to 1N05. Go right up 1N05 (this is a rough unmaintained road not intended for low-slung autos) to the signed Aspen Grove Trail parking (7,400'), 2.6 miles in from Highway 38. After crossing the creek, take the trail to the left. After 1.5 miles, the trail joins the Fish Creek Trail (8,180'). This trail offers quiet and the opportunity for the visitor to explore a small remnant grove of Quaking Aspens (Populus tremuloides), only found in one other location outside of the Sierra Nevada range.

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Lost Creek Trail
The Lost Creek trailhead is across Highway 38 from the South Fork Campground. Beginning at the parking lot (6,320'), it crosses under the bridge. The beginning of the Lost Creek Trail follows the Santa Ana River Trail (2E03). After approximately .5 mile, the Lost Creek Trail splits from the Santa Ana River trail and heads up an old jeep road for about 1 mile before heading off (south/west) on a trail towards Grinnell Ridge Camp (no water-8,500'). From the Grinnell Ridge Camp, the trail descends into South Fork Meadows and meets with the South Fork Trail. This trail is one of the most underused and offers solitude and good views north to Santa Ana Canyon and Sugarloaf Peak.

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Kitching Peak Trail
Drive Interstate 10 to Fields Road exit. Turn right onto Fields Road over cattleguard, proceed .75 mile to Morongo Road and turn right. Drive through 3 S-curves to Millard Canyon Road. Take the east (right) branch of this road, following signs to Kitching Peak Trailhead (4,240'). It is 4 miles to Kitching Sink (5,570') and 5.5 miles to Kitching Peak (6,560'). No water is available at either site. This is the most underused region of the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

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Deer Springs Trail
Follow the same directions as the Kitching Peak Trail (above). On Millard Canyon Road, take the left branch and look for signs to Deer Spings (4,400'). Only Explorer Permits are issued for this area. This is the most underused region of the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

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Vivian Creek Trail
The trailhead is reached by turning east off Highway 38 to Forest Falls. Continue through Forest Falls to the top end (east end) of the picnic area at the end of the road (6,080').

The Vivian Creek Trail is the shortest and the steepest route to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio. One and two-tenths miles from the trailhead is Vivian Creek Camp (7,100'). Campsites are located upslope to the right of the trail after reaching the stream: one is halfway up the slope, and the other is at the top of the slope (no camping within 200 feet of the trail or creek).

One and three-tenths miles from Vivian Creek Camp is Halfway Camp (8,100'). Water is obtained from the creek 200 yards before camp. Two and three-tenths miles further is High Creek Camp (water available - 9,200'). The summit of San Gorgonio (11,499') is 3 miles beyond High Creek. The upper end of this trail offers outstanding views of Yucaipa Ridge and Galena Peak, as well as sweeping panoramic views from the top of Mt. San Gorgonio. After the South Fork Trail, this is the second most used trail in the Wilderness.

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Momyer Creek Trail
The trailhead is reached by turning east off Highway 38 to Forest Falls. Continue up the road 3 miles to the large parking area (5,400') on your left 100 yards before the fire station. Alger Creek Camp (7,100') is 3.7 miles. The single site is located about .25 miles below the trail.

Two miles further is Dobbs Camp (water available-7,200'). Another 1.5 miles is Saxton Camp (8,400'). Water here is obtained from a small spring .2 mile below the camp along the trail. Two miles further is Dollar Lake Saddle (no water-9,960'). This one of the most underused trails. This area offers the visitor solitude and good views of Mill Creek Canyon and Yucaipa Ridge from the upper end of the trail.

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San Bernardino Peak Trail
The trailhead (5,960') leaves from behind the Camp Angelus Fire Station at Angelus Oaks. Stay to the right up the dirt road 300 yards. Columbine Camp (water available-8,000') is 4.7 miles from the trailhead just beyond Manzanita Flats. The camp is to the right (south) of the trail and .7 mile and 300 vertical feet below it.

Two miles beyond Columbine Springs Junction is Limber Pine Bench Camp (9,200'). Water is obtained from a spring .3 mile beyond the camp.

Two and two-tenths miles further beyond Limber Pine Camp located on the San Bernardino Peak Divide Trail is San Bernardino (10,624') and San Bernardino East Peaks. Another two mile east along the Peak Divide Trail is Trail Fork Springs (water available near trail junction-10,400').

The San Bernardino Peak Trail and the Divide Trail both offer outstanding views in all directions. The flatlands of the Inland Empire lay nearly 10,000 vertical feet below Limber Pine Camp and the trail above.

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Forsee Creek Trail
Turn right (southeast) on Jenks Lake Road West off of Highway 38. One-quarter mile from Highway 38 is a signed dirt road on your right. This is a rough, rocky road not intended for low-slung autos, but is usually passable.

Three-quarters to one mile up the trail is the cutoff for John's Meadow (heading to the west). John's Meadow (and camp) is located at 7,200' and 3.9 miles from the trailhead. Plenty of water is available here year-round.

Four miles from the trailhead (6,400') is Jackstraw Camp. Jackstraw Camp (9,200') is located .2 miles to the right (west) of the trail and is supplied by a small and intermittent water source. One and nine-tenths miles beyond Jackstraw is Trail Fork Springs Camp (10,400'). Water is located about 100 yards southwest of the camp at the Spring.

To the east along the Peak Divide Trail lie two additional camps. The first, Anderson Flat (no water-10,500'), is .4 miles up the trail. The second is Shields Flat (no water-10,400') 1.8 miles east of Anderson Flat, 2.3 miles east of Trail Fork, and only 1.2 miles west of High Meadow Spring (10,300') which is the preferred water source.

This trail is mostly shaded up to Jackstraw Springs Camp, and offers outstanding sunset views west from Trail Fork Springs Camp.

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North Fork, Whitewater River
The best access to this trail is via the Fish Creek Trail (8,180'). Two camps are accessible from Mineshaft Saddle (9,960'). From Mineshaft Saddle, the trail descends northeast to Mineshaft Flats (1.1 miles-9,600'). The camp lies to the west of the trail. Water is available approximately .3 miles along the trail below the camp.

One mile beyond (and below) Mineshaft Flats is Big Tree Camp (8,400'). Water is available from the North Fork of the Whitewater River. This area is remote and rugged and offers the visitor solitude and far-off views of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree National Park.

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Bear Wallow Trail
Follow the same directions for Deer Springs Trail (above). On Millard Canyon Road look for signs to Bear Wallow Trail (4,560') after passing the Deer Springs Trailhead (4,400'). The camp (4,880') is .5 miles up an easy trail. Water is obtained from the creek.

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