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San Gorgonio Peak via Fish Creek

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Highest peak in SoCal, stunning scenery, crashed cargo plane, all day adventure
Near:Mentone, CA
Distance:18.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:3300 ft
Hike Time:9 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This hike is a significant and spectacular all day adventure. The hike starts deep in the San Gorgonio Wilderness at the 8200 foot level, and travels 9 miles to the 11,499 foot San Gorgonio Peak. The trail starts out along the banks of Fish Creek, passing a lovely meadow, and wonderful pine forests. As you gradually gain elevation, the trees begin to thin out and the landscape becomes progressively more rugged. As you near the tree line, you begin see the fascinating Limber Pine, with its twisted and bent form. The barren peak provides you with stunning views hundreds of miles in every direction. It was quite something to look across the desert and Palm Springs to see Mount San Jacinto directly across from us.

One of the more unusual aspects of this hike is the wreckage of a DC3 cargo plane that crashed in the 1950s. The fuselage and wings literally straddled the trail. Make sure to take lots of water, as this hike could take up to 12 hours including breaks and lunch.

Trailhead: From the east bound 10 in Redlands, exit on Orange Street and follow the signs for highway 38, which heads east into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. About 5 miles along highway 38, stop at the Mill Creek Ranger Station and pick up a permit for this hike (you may want to call ahead for permit reservations). Continue along highway 38 for another 25 or 30 miles to the turn off for Fish Creek and bear right. After a short paved section of road, follow the dirt forest service road IN05 for 10 miles to the Fish Creek trail head. (Lat:34.12477 Lon:-116.7694)
Trail Guides for San Gorgonio Peak via Fish Creek:
San Bernardino Mountain Trails
by John W. Robinson  (Wilderness Press)

Best Seasons: Summer, Fall
User Groups: Hikers
Ranger Contact: Mill Creek Ranger Station - (909) 794-1123
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 4   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Jessica on 8/22/2012
LOST CAMERA! If you are hiking this trail and find a red camera, please turn it into the Ranger Station! The camera will probably be toast, but hopefully the memory card with our summit photos will be viable! This was a great hike. Not strenuous, just LONG. We took Aspen Grove to the Fish Creek Trail. If you do this, remember to stay LEFT after the first creek crossing and just at the "San Gorgonio Wilderness" wooden sign. The trail forks and isn't marked. The other way will take you to the Santa Ana River trailhead. Remember LEFT! We started at 8:30am, summitted by 3:45. Make sure you bring an headlamp incase you are out past sundown and keep in mind you are in Mountain Lion country! You should have seen the paw prints in the mud! WO

Reviewed by missamy on 11/3/2011
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Reviewed by Zucco on 9/5/2011
Started at fish creek TH at 7 am, arrived at the summit at 3 pm (we werent willing to give up). We had first time hikers with us which slowed us down a bit. Amazing views of San Bernardino, Riverside and much more. Had two hike the last hour and half in darkness but we came prepared with flashlights, got in our vehicles at 8:45 pm. We are sooooo sore but it was worth it!!! Recommend a 2 day hike or stick to your 1 pm timeline to reach summit or you will have to hike in the dark (not recommend it).

Reviewed by DALE on 8/28/2011
Made for a long day hike on August 25, 2011. Started at 7:45AM at TH with temp of 50 degrees and topped Mt San Gorgonio at 1:15PM...temp of 76 degrees and mostly clear skies. Last water was in Fish Creek at 2.35mi from TH. Saw water in Dry Lake in distance after passing Fish Creek Saddle. Arrived back to TH at 6:30PM...recorded 9 hrs moving time for a total RT of 19.9mi using my Garmin GPS. We saw only 1 other person hiking this trail...very serene and excellent views! The dirt road to TH is rough and takes about 45min from highway 38 and is best done in high clearance car, truck or SUV.

Reviewed by ZGO on 6/8/2011
Hiked this on June 8, 2011. Had to turn around about 3 miles past fish creek saddle because of too much snow (i needed an ice ax or at least crampons). The trail was beautiful and if you don't mind the length, not very steep. I look forward to trying this again when the snow melts.

Reviewed by Jason C. on 7/10/2010
Loved this hike. We hiked this on July 7th to the 8th. I recommend making it a 2 day hike. We camped at Fish Creek Saddle which put us 4.7 miles from the summit. The trail is not as steep as others in the SGW. Bring plenty of water because once you pass the stream at Fish Creek Meadows there are no more. The old trail that leads to Lodge Pole Spring from from Fish Creek Saddle is almost non existent and very steep. Passed a lot of snow on the trail from Mine Shaft Flats to the summit. Took us 6 hours from the trail head to the saddle and 4 hours from the saddle to the summit, we are slower than most others. Not much wildlife on this trip, and only a few hikers.

Reviewed by Max Hardcore on 11/8/2009
We did this hike after a night of heavy beers and two hours of sleep. Took us just about 11 hours total (took a few breaks on the way up). Saw some bighorn sheep and even got a small nap in on the summit. Highly recommended! GRAB.

Reviewed by Arjuna on 10/3/2009
Parked at the Aspen Grove (which made it a 28 mile round trip) I got there way too late and was at the trail head around 10:00 AM(bad). I had to turn around .3 miles from the peak, because it was getting dark and cold, about 38 degrees. I came out of the trail at 6:30PM and back at my car at 8:15PM. Arrive early if you want to make it a one day trip and prepare for the cold. You can pick up a self issued permit at the San Gorgonio Ranger Station.(34701 Mill Creek Road, Mentone, CA 92359). You'll need an "Adventure pass" to park in the forest(get one from any Big5. You have to go east on 38 for about 30 miles from the ranger station, then turn right on Fish Creek Trail (easy to miss), right after Heart Bar Park.

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

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