The San Gorgonio Wilderness is the climax region of the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California. Located on the San Bernardino National Forest approximately 75 miles east of Los Angeles (click here for vicinity map), the Wilderness receives approximately 200,000 visitors per year. Its 58,969 acres harbor two small lakes, meadows, streams, 100 miles of trail, densely forested northern slopes, and rugged terrain. Elevations range from 4,400 feet to 11,499 atop namesake Mt. San Gorgonio. Eleven of twelve peaks in the Wilderness recognized by U.S. Geological Survey maps are over 10,000 feet in height, with Mt. San Gorgonio being the highest. As the highest peak between the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Mexican border, Mt. San Gorgonio offers unparalleled views of metropolitan Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert. More great information here.
I hiked to the top, passing Dollar lake and its attached ice flow in the 1950s and 1960s, usually spending the night either at Dollar Lake or Slushy Meadows on the return. From what I am now reading the lake is no longer? Dried up? So I assume the the glacier-like adjacent ice is also gone? In that era there was a boulder adjacent to the lake with an overhang which provided some shelter from moisture. AT Slushy Meadows there was a hollowed out tree which provided "emergency" shelter from an unexpected down;pour. Be sure the rangers know of your plans...and check out with them.
Easy to access and park. Dramatic canyon and creek scenery. A perfect early morning summer hike! There were points alongside the creek in which one could almost swim but definitely splash around. Clear, chilly water. The hike up the hills past the creek area also affords some awesome views. Lots of great spots for picnics; just bring lots of bug repellent.
This really nice trail (for the area) is now part of the new Snow and Sand National Monument, run by the impressive Wetlands Conservancy (check out their website, they have many nice parks, and do a great job). Trails are in excellent shape, any water to be crossed will have a wooden bridge.
FYI - 3 years ago you might see 1-3 other cars there (depends on the time of year) - now you may see 40 cars there. You can easily park outside the lot if needed. It's become a very popular trail. Dogs on leash OK. It's 600 feet up and down by my GPS. It's nicely graded. There is a shaded picnic area near the parking lot.
Would not suggest this hike in the middle of summer. Extremely hot! Took my children along age 6, 5, and 3. They did not cope well with the heat. Fortunately they have a wadding pool across from the Rangers station. Trout pond if beautifully made. Great spot next to rangers station to stop for a bite. A covered area with many picnic benches. The creek is pretty shallow at this point, just about ankle deep in most places. We plan on returning in fall or spring in hopes to complete this trail. We arrived late in the day and you are strictly asked to depart by 5. Ample free parking.
loved it, i'm a fan of desert type trails. ran into a diamond back, luckily not bit. if you plan on hiking a good while, then i'd take a snake bite kit, otherwise, the ranger station is not too far. bring lots of water anytime, but especially in the summer. otherwise, i enjoyed it and i'd go back
My family loves going here. we haven't gone to all the trails. We usually get stuck playing in mud and sand. But its still fun. Today, we went up to the left fork trail where you go up along a narrow ridge to top. Stone house is 6 miles if you go straight. It was so much fun. I love geology and nature. Last time,we saw a big horn sheep on the side of mountain by trout ponds.
This trail is so cool. If you have studied geology you will love all the cool ricks. I live seeing how the wind has shaped the hillsides. The hike along the river is fun,but there was barely any water. some parts just little ponds. It's January and the rain from earlier gone. The flowing little river we saw two years ago can only been seen by the positions of rock,drift wild,and drying mud. Some water still runs. We went of the left trail by the sign for the Stone house 6 miles and info on Pacific Rim. we went up until the trail narrowed very scary if you were scared of heights.
Well Dollar Lake is completely dried up, as are most of the creeks. We found one spring that was still running and there was a creek at the bottom of a very steep drop. Otherwise there is no water source. Besides that the hike was beautiful! Lovely view of de surrounding mountains as you are hiking up, and a lot of changing leaves in early fall! Perfect temperature this time of year and was overall a great hike. There was three people in the group and four dogs. Everyone did great but make sure to bring water since there is hardly any water sources. We clocked the distance at 14 miles round trip. Got there at 10 am and got back to the truck at 5:30 pm but we stopped a lot and weren't in a rush. Just don't forget you need a permit and an adventure pass. No Rangers today but you never know!
Lynda C. on South Fork to Dollar Lake Trail
I decided to hike this after spending the day hiking with a meet up group yesterday. I felt a bit tired and had spent the night in Big Bear. This was a close hike on the way home. The weather was hot but beautiful. There is always a ranger there to check for permits. I hiked as far as Dollar Saddle. There were a couple fof hikers going to the summit of San G. I was soooo tempted. It was late though. And I worried that I didn't have a water filter. I decided to add Dry Lake Viewpoint which is about 1.2 mi past Dollar Saddle. It is also known as Charleton Peak. 10840.I turned back about 2mi from the peak.WHen I got back to the car. I only had one cup of water left. Guess that was a good decision for this day. Next time…to the peak!!!
Beautiful views of mountains & canyon! Dogs& I took the trail leading toward PCT south (up the mtn.) good steep workout going up & back down the south loop. Just dropped up back onto the road, no trail beside road, then hiked that back to the parking lot.
Lynda C. on South Fork to Dollar Lake Trail
I dont know why it says Banning here when the trailhead is actually San Bernardino near Big Bear. A very picturesque hike that passes along a large stream. It is worth it to stop and enjoy the cool water.