Summary: This trail is a monster, definitely one of the most demanding in Southern California. You gain nearly a vertical mile in less than 8 miles distance. On the way up, you will encounter no more than 400 yards of downhill, and around the same amount for flat trail. It is up the entire way, and most of that way is steep. So, the way back is easy pickin's.
The steepest sections are the beginning mile of the trail, after you cross the creek (don't tire yourself out here, no matter how badly you want to get up, I paid for it later,) and the mile and a half after the saddle where you can first spot San Jacinto, nearing the summit.
Only take this trail if you are in top shape. It tested my endurance, I could see the peak and was thinking of turning around. It took me nearly 7 hours to summit, and only 3 1/2 to get down. If I do this one again, I'll camp, so I can enjoy it.
The view is obscured by shoddy air, but you do get a lot of cool forest scenery on the way up.
Trailhead: From Redlands - take the 38 East. Stop at the Mill Creek Ranger Station to get your permit, if it is during the week, you will probably be okay if you are early. If it is a weekend, you might want to get your permit in advance, contact them for instructions. They leave permits outside for first come, first serve in the morning before they open.
Continue on the 38 East for a few miles, turn right at the junction with Valley of The Falls Road, follow this road until it ends and park in the parking area near the locked gate.
Follow the road until you actually see the trail veer off into the creek-bed. The second sign's arrow is pointing to the creek, but don't go there yet, follow the road for another 1/4 mile, then cross, you'll see the trail.
BRING BUG REPELLENT! You will need it desperately! (Lat:34.09905 Lon:-116.82476)
Trail Guides for San Gorgonio Via Vivian Creek:
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
San Bernardino Mountain Trails - 100 Hikes in Southern California
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: San Gorgonio Wilderness - Mill Creek Ranger Station (909)794-1123
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 23 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Dar on 11/5/2012
Hiked 11/4/12. Tricky to find. The 38 runs east/west, Get off at Orange St, turn R on E Lugonia Ave, becomes Mentor Blvd, becomes Mill Creek Rd. At Forest Home, go straight towards Forest Falls. Hiked from 8:45- 5:45. The first 1/2 mile is easy and then cross the creek. After the creek straight UP on switchbacks for 1.2 miles. Very strenuous. Trekking poles a must. Then valley floor for 1.3 miles, make up time here. 2.3 miles from Halfway Camp to High Creek, all UPHILL. 2.4 miles from High Creek to Summit trail, all UPHILL. Summit trail is .5 miles and takes 45 minutes UPHILL. Descended in 3.5 hours. Dark after 4:30, bring a HEADLAMP. Drank 3+ liters of water on a mild day. Needed gloves and warm outer layer. Have fun!
Reviewed by Steve on 10/1/2012
Just did this hike yesterday. 4.5 hours up 3.5 hours down. There is suprising still quite a bit of water in the creek this late in the summer despite the dry winter we had. The part by vivian creek at the beginning is very green and verdant. High creek is the last water you will see. Hike was ALOT harder than I remember it being 10 years ago when I last did it. Then again, I guess I am a decade older and pretty out of shape at this point.
Reviewed by Kathryn on 8/23/2012
This is a long hike, not particularly difficult, just long. There are fungus gnats that irritated the crap out of us as we started the trail. The scenery is amazing and beautiful. There had been a flash flood a few days before we hiked and it was kind of a mess in the early going. The trail was good 95% of the time, a couple spots are hard to see. The switchbacks past High Creek were loooooonnnngggggg. Overall, I would do again, 7 hours up and 4 and 1/2 hours down.
Reviewed by Desert Cat on 8/20/2012
Error: Reserved Word Found: --
Reviewed by Scott on 7/27/2012
This is an absolute monster of a hike. One of my all-time faves in terms of scenery and summit awesomeness, but my kness didn't like it much. As others have mentioned, that last stretch between the ridge and the junction with the Dollar Lake Trail is just never-ending uphill, with enough loose scree and trail-finding challenges to annoy any hiker. Even though the total mileage is less than Dry/Dollar Lake loop, this is actually a harder hike. Know that going in. Much longer than the supposed 16-mile r/t listed here.
Reviewed by Yucaipa Ron on 6/28/2012
Just make sure that when you see the Trail sign pointing north (across Mill creek) that you cross. Stop and look across Mill creek/river and you can see the other Trail sign at the base of the mtn. There really isn't a trail across Mill creek and in spring last years "path" can't be seen. Watch for snakes, we were on a group hike up San Bernardino peak trail and we all walked next to a rattler til someone pointed it out.
Reviewed by Viewer on 6/20/2012
From Run Borrega Run" i have to say that iam convinced that this is my favorite trail of all trails i ever been , i love the Dificulty of it . i went the first week of jun and the trail is very green i notice the water fall like about 2 miles away from the peak my favorite part of the trail is actually the last 2 miles near the peak i just love the views and the Old Grey Backs are so Beautiful it was so clear that day we got to see really well i loved how the Dry Lake and Big Bear looked it was Beautiful so Blue My Garming actually says 9.2 To the Peak total mileage by my garmin is 18.4 my Advice PLEASE PAY ATTENTION! TO THE SPLIT OF THE TRAIL WHEN RETURNING OR YOU WILL BE VERY LOST AND DEEP INTO THE WILDERNESS AND BE PREPARE FOR THE WORST
Reviewed by Adrian Ramirez on 1/10/2012
This trail is amazing, allot of fun if your into pushing yourself this was the first summit hike I ever did and I was 17 years old with a 45 pound pack, easy to follow and great scenery all the way up, took us 8everyay hours to summit and 3 hours back,
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, San Bernardino County Hiking, San Bernardino County Trails, San Bernardino County Hikes