Summary: A hike along the Aspen Grove Trail in the San Gorgonio Wilderness is almost guaranteed to cure just about any ill...streaming water, lush green conifers and lovely stands of aspen trees (rarely seen in Southern California), along with an uphill climb amidst summer wildflowers and verdant ferns await the weary and forlorn hiker escaping the cement jungle of Southern California suburbia. Silence (disturbed only by the mosquitoes along the creek in June and July-bring an appropriate line of defense) is also a cherished feature of a hike along this trail. The Aspen Grove Trail can be taken to its end to intersect with the Fish Creek Trail, one of the main routes used to access several paths leading to the summit of San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest point in California south of the Sierra Nevadas. A free permit is required for all wilderness trails, and can be obtained at the Barton Flats Ranger Station on Hwy 38 six miles west from the Heart Bar Campground.
Trailhead: In the city of Redlands, exit Interstate 10 at Highway 38-travel northeast for 32 miles to Forest Service Road 1NO2 (look for sign directing you to Heart Bar Campground, Coon Creek, and Fish Creek. Turn south (right) and continue for 1.25 miles to FS Road 1NO5, then turn right at fork. Continue along the rough road (passable for most two-wheel drive vehicles) 1.5 miles to the Aspen Grove Trailhead on the right. A Forest Service Adventure Pass is required to park at the trailhead, and a wilderness permit is required to hike past the signed wilderness boundary line. Both are available at the Barton Flats Ranger Station on Hwy-38 six miles west of the Heart Bar Campground, or at the Ranger Station at 34701 Mill Creek Road/Hwy 38 in Mentone (about 12 miles east from the intersection of University and Lugonia/Hwy 38 in the city of Redlands). (Lat:34.14767 Lon:-116.78979)
Trail Guides for San Gorgonio Wilderness-Aspen Grove Trail:
by Stienstra and Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Horses,
Ranger Contact: San Gorgonio Ranger District-(909) 794-1123
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Patricia Barnes, who has posted 23 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Jessica on 8/22/2012
LOST CAMERA! If you find a red camera on Fish Creek somewhere a mile before the saddle, please turn into Mill Creek Ranger Station. I'd love to see if the memory card with all our summit photos is still viable! This was a great hike. Not strenuous, but LONG! Next time I'll cut out the extra distance by starting at Fish Creek. The top was majestic with HUGE thunderheads nearby - a little un-nerving and we didn't spend much time up top, but absolutely beautiful!
Reviewed by TJ on 7/13/2012
A great look in to the beautiful San Gorgonio terrain on a well-maintained and relatively easy trail. For those in passenger cars, don't let the 2 or so mile drive to the trailhead on the dirt road dissuade you. Take it slow and you'll be fine. One quick note. When you descend from the parking area you'll come to a stream and a fork. Take the trail on the left for Aspen Grove and to the right for the Santa Ana River Trail. If you're there for the Aspens, about 3/4 of a mile on SART brings you to a grove that must be gorgeous in Fall. To lengthen the out and back on the AGT, take a right at the Fish Creek junction, about 2.5 from the TH. Easy climbing, solitude and a diversity of plants and trees. A nice hike for the novice and experienc
Reviewed by Steve on 8/14/2011
Hiked on 7/27/11. Enjoyed the aspens. There are many photo ops in the grove depending on where the light is. They are beautiful looking up through the fluttering leaves with the blue sky beyond. Continued up to the meadow on the left and then the Fish Creek Trail junction. Trail is a moderate but steady elevation gain with a few manageable stream crossings. Plenty of shade. We plan on returning in Oct. to see the aspens change.
Reviewed by David on 11/2/2010
Nice hike - the aspens are bare, but the area is still very attractive. There's still a lot of foliage, and the meadow is worth checking out. You can see some of my pictures and my trip report here.
Reviewed by RS on 10/23/2010
Hiked on the peak of foliage color on the past two weeks. The Aspens are surprising small (also the leaves). Not as grand as what you see over Sierra area but they are beautiful nevertheless. A few pot holes on the dirt road but it is still accessible by my Civic.
Reviewed by alexj on 5/10/2009
This hike si very scenic never thought you would see aspens in socal. This trip reminds me of the Sierra nevada or colorado. The coolest part of the trip was when i saw big black bear crossing the path
Reviewed by CAHIKR on 11/2/2008
A great hike, the road is easy to follow just stay to the right at the only junction. Nice fall colors along the trail, except the Aspens had already dropped all their leaves. The best part was Fish creek meadows.
Reviewed by Lori on 7/26/2008
What a beautiful place. Pretty easy trail. Hiked to Fish Creek trail then continued on to the right for another mile. Rested by a beautiful meadow where we watched a doe watch us. Started back on the trail and there she was. Just standing on the trail. Looked at us and walked off up the side of the hill. So many different aspects to this hike. Aspens were gorgeous. Lots of different flowers in bloom. So much lush green by the stream. Hiking in was warm but hike out there was cloud cover. An all around great hike with the exception of a slight delay due to the rattling of one very pissed off snake hiding under a big fallen tree right along side the trail. First encounter and I will NEVER forget the sound. I hope it is the last!! BE CAREFUL
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