San Gorgonio Mountain is the highest peak in California south of the Sierra at 11,499 ft. The wilderness encompasses an incredible transition between desert, and mountain environments, including an enormous variety of thriving plant and animal species, in addition to bear, deer, mountain lion and bighorn sheep.
San Gorgonio Mountain was originally known as “Old Grayback” by those that lived around it, until it was officially changed by the USGS. The summit of the nearby 10,649 ft San Bernardino Peak was the starting point in 1852 from which the entirety of Southern California was surveyed.
Most of the Wilderness is above 7,500 ft. Water is usually a problem to find in this wilderness. The numerous streams in the Wilderness Area do not always flow in late summer and fall. Two small lakes, several meadows, and expansive forested areas provide a beautiful sierra-like alpine experience. The ridge-line hike is among the best in the region.
There are 80 miles of trails in the National Forest section of the Wilderness, and over 20 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the BLM land to the east .
Permits are required for both Day Hikes and Overnight backpacking.
Check out our San Bernardino National Forest Trail Map to help you explore this amazing wilderness area.
Here is a reddit page dedicated to Southern Calif Hiking
Southfork is the best option to access the high peaks, Aspen Grove & Fish Creek require 4×4 access
Fish Creek Saddle
San Bernardino National Forest Trail MapProduct on sale
SGWA Facebook Page with trail and water updates
Hikin’ Jim’s Blog – a detailed report of the area
- Big Tree: Water year round.
- Mineshaft Flat: Water year round. Located 0.3 mile down trail below the camp
- South Fork Meadows: Water year round.
- Vivian Trail Camp: Water year round.
- Alger Creek: Water year round.
- Dobbs Camp: Water year round.
- Saxton: Water year round.
- High Creek Trail Camp: Water is normally available year round.
- Halfway Trail Camp: Water not reliable, but usually avail until mid to late summer
- Dollar Lake: normally no water
- Fish Creek Camp: Stream crosses trail .5 miles up from camp. Can be a trickle but still pumpable.
- Fish Creek Saddle: No water. Go down to Lodgepole Spring.
- Lodgepole Spring: A tiny spring below the trail before you get to the lake that is usually reliable.
Transportation around Big Bear:
Public transportation from Mountain Transit
Private transportation around Big Bear from Jayride