Mt. San Gorgonio (South Fork Trail)


The hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio is a major accomplishment for any Southern California Hiker. It is the highest point in Southern California. The trail is strenuous but the views and sights are totally worth it.


Brian Skalsky

Start/Finish points

To get to the South Fork Trailhead going from Orange County take the 91 freeway east towards Riverside. Stay on the 91 freeway which eventually becomes the 215 freeway. The 215 freeway eventually intersects with Interstate 10. At the 215 freeway and Interstate 10 interchange, take the 10 going East toward Palm Springs. Exit from the 10 on University which is in the city of Redlands. Make a left and follow University (You will pass through Redlands University) until you meet Highway 38. Take a right on Highway 38 going toward the mountains. In several miles you will pass the Mill Creek Ranger Station (A good place to stop and ask any last questions you may have), continue on up into the San Bernardino National Forest. Highway 38 will take you to the trailhead. Exit highway 38 onto Jenks Lake Road (This road is located before Barton Flats). Take Jenks lake road a couple of miles and the trailhead is on your left hand side. It is a large parking lot with a big sign indicating the South Fork Trailhead. (A Forest Adventure Pass is needed as well as a free wilderness permit for the San Gorgonio Wilderness).

Nearest Towns


Mt. San Gorgonio is located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness (56, 722 Acres). To day hike or overnight backpack in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, you must have a wilderness permit for a day or overnight hike (The Permit is Free). The total length of the hike to the summit is 23.6 miles round trip with a 4,601 foot gain in elevation. This is a very popular trail to hike to the summit and you will likely see people on the trail as well as in the campsites. The permit quota often fills up for this hike, so get your free wilderness permits in advance. The trail is well maintained and is in good condition. All trails are well marked, except right by Dry Lake. This hike is very strenuous and only fit hikers should hike to the summit. It is a good idea to train on other hikes like Mt. Baden Powell or Mt. San Jacinto in preparation for this hike.

For this hike you take the South Fork Trail which passes Horse Meadows and then crosses into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The South Fork Trail Goes to South Fork Meadow, where you take the trail to Dry Lake. There is camping available at dry lake (Water available at Lodge pole springs) as well as further up at trail flats (No water). The trail continues all the way to the summit. There are several other trails that go to the summit (Vivian Creek and Fish Creek).



The permit is available from San Gorgonio Wilderness Association.


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