San Gorgonio Mountain via South Fork Trail and Sky High Trail

based on 24 tracks & routes #125 hike out of 462 in
10.9 mi
5 hrs 13 min
4,567 ft
Elev Gain


This is an easy trail, but difficult hike due to the milage and elevation gain, San Gorgonio Mountain in San Bernardino National Forest.

This trail goes by Poopout Hill, Dry Lake, and Mine Shaft Saddle.

The South Fork trail to San Gorgonio is more than 20 miles round trip, but it is a beautiful southern California hike (now scared by a forest fire). On a clear day the Pacific Ocean can be seen. Also seen from the summit looking north is Big Bear Lake. This area of the San Gorgonio Wilderness was ravaged by a fire just a few years ago and is in recovery.

Depending on the degree of snow pack from the winter, dry lake may or may not have water. Once passed Mine Shaft saddle continuing on the trail to the south east, a C-47B Dakota USAF wreckage can be seen. The plane went down in a snowstorm on 12/1/1952 killing all 13 on board. The last of the debris is scattered down the slope with the prop and part of the hull near the trail.

A slightly shorter trail is Fish Creek and involves a rough dirt road for access. Vivian Creek trail starts in the valley on the south side of San Gorgonio and is the shortest trail to the top, but has the most elevation gain.

Even though this is southern California, summer thunderstorms exist so be mindful of the weather. Also summit temps can be chilly, go prepared especially for such a long hike.

Getting Started

Day permits are required by the Forest Service. If hiking midweek, filling out a self serve permit at the ranger station at the bottom of hwy 38 is easy enough. If you are planning a weekend hike it may be necessary to procure a permit in advance. Contact the San Bernardino ranger station. Leave highway 38 for the road to Jenks Lake. Once passed the Jenks Lake turnoff, the South Fork parking will be on the left. After parking the trailhead is across the road.

Taking Children

Older children used hiking long distances can do this hike, although it is certainly challenging.

This is an alternate route for San Gorgonio Mountain Loop via South Fork Trail.

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