Hike Organizer: Paul Kemp
Location: San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest
Hike Difficulty: Strenuous 9/10
Distance: 17 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 5500 feet
Time: 9-10 hours
THE MORONS AT MEETUP ADMINISTRATION HAVE TAKEN AWAY THE OPTION TO USE COLORED TEXT IN THESE DESCRIPTIONS SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ THE WHOLE WRITE-UP IF YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS HIKE. THERE IS A LIMIT ON NUMBERS, IF YOU RSVP 'YES' AND THEN CHANGE YOUR MIND, AS A COURTESY TO THOSE ON THE WAITING LIST, PLEASE UPDATE YOUR RSVP ASAP.
San Gorgonio Peak is one of the "Three Saints," a name occasionally used to describe the high points of the three tallest mountain ranges in Southern California: Mount San Gorgonio, San Jacinto Peak (high point of the San Jacinto Mountains), and Mount San Antonio (high point of the San Gabriel Mountains). This will be 3 of 3 in a series of hikes.
INTRODUCTION: San Gorgonio Mountain , also known locally as Mount San Gorgonio, or Old Greyback, is the highest peak in Southern California at 11,503 feet (3,506 m). It is part of the San Bernardino Mountains, and lies within the San Gorgonio Wilderness, part of the San Bernardino National Forest. Spanish missionaries in the area during the early 17th century named the peak after Saint Gorgonius. Since it is the highest point in a region which is separated from higher peaks (e.g. in the Sierra Nevada ) by relatively low terrain, San Gorgonio Mountain is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the United States .
HIKE DESCRIPTION: The trail leaves the upper end of the picnic area and follows a dirt road for ½ mile, crossing Mill Creek Wash and starting a steep mile-long climb to a beautiful hanging valley, and Vivian Creek camp. The trail follows Vivian Creek for 1 ½ miles before reaching Halfway Camp at 8,100 feet, and then switchbacks 2.3 miles to High Creek Camp at about 9,200 feet. Just after the trail crosses the creek in High Creek Camp it will start a series of switchbacks up the west facing slope to a 10,000+ foot ridge where there are vistas towards the Banning Pass and the San Jacinto Mountains. The trail continues along the ridge, eventually passing the junctions of the Dollar Lake Trail and then the Fish Creek Trail. The trail continues for another ½ mile to the summit pile of rocks, the highest point in Southern California.
This is an arse-kicker of a trail, with a capital ‘a’ and a capital ‘k’. A monster hike, you might say. The elevation gain is almost a vertical mile in less than 8 miles distance: this is steep! You must have an excellent level of physical conditioning, and very recent hiking experience of at least 12 miles with several thousand feet elevation gain is necessary to go on this hike. Ideally, you will you have been on one or both of my Mount San Antonio and San Jacinto peak hikes in the previous two weeks. If not, I will need you to e-mail me a summary of your recent hikes in the week leading up to this hike.
WHAT TO BRING: At least 4 liters of water, although there maybe water available from the streams along the way to allow you to start with less water. If so, you will need to bring a water filtration device. Also, sunblock, sunglasses, hat, camera, snacks for the trail (preferably high-energy), lunch etc.
DIRECTIONS: Take 10 freeway east past San Bernardino to the Orange Street exit (SR 38). Continue for one block east, turn left (north) ½ mile to Lugonia Avenue, turn right on SR 38 (east). D rive northeast for about 14 miles to the intersection with Valley of the Falls Road. Bear right and continue 4 ½ miles to the Falls Recreation Area, past the town of Forest Falls. Drive to the parking area at the end of the road and walk uphill through the picnic area on the dirt road to reach the trailhead.
For those wishing to carpool meet at the Pomona Park and Ride, just north of the 10 freeway at the Fairplex Drive exit, at 5 a.m.