South Fork Trail to San Gorgonio Mountain via Mine Shaft Saddle

HARD 16 reviews

South Fork Trail to San Gorgonio Mountain via Mine Shaft Saddle is a 20.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Angelus Oaks, CA that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

20.3 miles 4566 feet Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

cross country skiing

horseback riding

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

This is the long distance high altitude hike which is legendary. Best done in two days with overnight primitive camping at Dry Lake, Lodgepole, or Trail Flat. Water is found (seasonal creeks, check w/ Ranger) about four miles in at the junction of three creeks, then at Lodgepole Spring by Dry Lake. Not for the faint of heart, altitude and pack weight are serious factors. Done right, sea level hikers will have a day to acclimatize to the altitude before making the ascent to Mt. San Gorgonio from Dry Lake or Lodgepole camp sites. Overachievers can push to Fish Creek Saddle or Trail Flat camps.

I have done this trail six times and keep conibg back for more!

hiking
1 year ago

A wonderful but very long hike. Just an amazing experience. Did it in two days, one night. Spent the night at dry lake, made it to the summit the next morning at about noon. The hike from Dry Lake to the summit is pretty gnarly. But if I can offer any advice, it's this: BRING PLENTY OF WATER!!! There was only one spot (about 3 miles from the trailhead) where you could fill up. Other than that, nada!!! And make sure you have your permit. I saw zero hikers, but five backcountry volunteers who were nice but eager to check to my credentials, which is cool. I am glad someone is keeping on eye our wildernesses.

hiking
1 year ago

This is a great hike for late spring. Be prepared for the elevation change, take your time, and have plenty of water. Some of the best views you'll ever see of the area. Awesome camping! We had the whole mountain to ourselves with only a few hikers passing by from time to time.

1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

This is by far my favorite of all of the hikes I've done in SoCal. We went in early May and there was still plenty of snow on top. The mountain actually got a storm the day before we went so the snow went all the way down to the South Fork trailhead parking lot at 6200'. We summoned the first day after going up on the dry lake side, then went down on the Dollar lake side and camped at High Meadow. If you've never done this hike before, don't try to do it in a day. There is so much to take in and look at that all gets wasted when you're In a hurry. Other than melting snow, our only source of water was at the trail split down at south Fork Meadows.

hiking
1 year ago

Did this is a Whitney trainer and it is a beast when done in a day. On a par with Half Dome in a day from the Valley, if you ask me. I encircled the whole mountain by heading up via Dollar Lake saddle, and down via Dry Lake. Cool idea and glad I can say I did it, but surviving it as a day hike is not the way to go. Backpack it to avoid the agony in your legs and feet and really enjoy this area which is quite special. The highlight is obviously the highest point in Southern California. Bring a map because although some areas are very nicely marked/signed, some critical ones are completely devoid of marking, the Dry Lake Trail when heading down from the camp at Dry Lake being a fine example. Only coming up is there a sign. As for my times, up in almost exactly 5 hours, down in a tad less and I was moving. Sky View trail is how you access the summit after Dry Lake, and it's a cool trail, but be prepared for a somewhat tedious, repetitive experience. It's just a lot of traversing of scree fields and then switchbacks. Monotonous for sure. The Dollar Lake route is prettier. The summit offers spectacular views and bragging rights.

Did it in one day last year. Training for Whitney. Beautiful hike

camping
2 years ago

We went from the South Fork trailhead (not the campground), stayed at Lodgepole first night, summited the next afternoon. We were supposed to stay at High Meadow the second night, but got insanely lost and ended up leaving.

We went beginning of August, and there was no water. Anywhere. The creek at South Meadows had barely enough to filter. The springs we were told (by the rangers!) we could use were bone dry. We ended up out of water and almost passing out from dehydration after summitting.

If you're not an experienced hiker, don't do this as a day hike. Stay a night halfway. Your body and sanity will thank you.

hiking
2 years ago

by far my favorite trail, great for training and a must do for any socal backpacker. There are multiple peaks/ views with drop boxes and sign in logs. I suggest starting at the lower parking lot along Jenks road, hike to jackstraw for night 1, then uppermeadow night2, drop your packs at the saddle and day hike San g. then return via dry lake to Jenks road. If you're tired after San g, spend the night at dry lake, the hike from dry lake to Jenks is cake, but it seems to take forever

hiking
2 years ago

Amazing view looking down on San Jacinto from the peak. Great piney scenery and semi shaded trails throughout much of the beginning of this hike make it one of my favorites. Be careful to check water availability and snow/ice conditions before picking a place to set up camp. Lots of the water sources are diminished due to a very dry year. Icy trails here are treacherous and have recently claimed the life a moderately experienced hiker.

hiking
2 years ago

Did it in one day but we were in good condition. Altitude got to one of our group and they didn't get to the summit. Funny to see chipmunks living in the rocks at the top. They come right up to you and take food from your hand. Incredible views. Highest spot in Southern California. There are bears around the camping and picnic areas, so careful!

hiking
3 years ago

Booty-kicking backpack trip. My friends and I hiked all the way to High Meadow Spring which was gorgeous. Then we hiked to the top and stayed the night protected by the rock cairns left by others. BRING EARPLUGS is you do this because your tent will be flapping all night. Phew. Hiked out via the dry lake trail which was amazing. I highly recommend that trail. You even get to see a plane crash. The price (there's always a price) is some additinal distance. I estimated about 22 miles for the total backpack trip. Tough, but worth it!

hiking
3 years ago

I love this trail and it is my favorite way to get to San Gorgornio. It is a great tough workout but it is through the most awesome forest along rivers that you can imagine. As you climb the excitement heightens and once you get to the saddle junction where all the trails meet...you know where you are and it is not much longer to the peak. Yipee!!!

hiking
3 years ago

Easily both the dumbest and sickest things I've ever done was hike this 25 mile trail in one day. Oh and it was on NO SLEEP! Ridiculous. My friends and I had no idea what hiking was except that one of them had done it before and knew you needed to bring a backpack with water in it. We gathered at his place in Redlands and couldn't sleep due to excitement... so we left at about 3am. We ate some Dennys and reached the trailhead at around 5am and took off. The three of us, and one flashlight and two backpacks full of water and sandwiches. I remember trying to stay as close to my buddies on the trail and trying to use look where my buddy flashed the light for where I would step. It was eerie walking through head-high sage bushes in darkness... we talked loudly, non-stop until the sun came out.
After around 6.5 hours, and seemingly endless switchbacks, we had reached the summit. The 360 view was amazing. What a great sense of accomplishment. We could see the ocean! We slept on rocks and baked in the sun for about an hour. We were so exhausted. Our PB & Honey sandwiches and Nilla Wafers provided minimal nourishment. Haha!
We decided to scree surf down the giant, granite slide side of the peak (this saved us a ton of switchback time which we probably needed in order to get out w/o being rescued when I think about it). As we started reaching the boulders near the bottom of the peak face, we looked up and saw a family of Mountain Goats acending the other side of the crescent shaped peak. I saw the goats leap across huge gaps of about 20 feet wide and 10 feet up onto other ledges. The big horn male stood tall, chest-puffed and just watched us as his family moved away from us. We were still far from them and we just watched in awe.
We went on and it soon became apparent to us that we needed to get the heck off of this mountain. Our legs were starting to feel it and the blisters, sun-burns and chaffing were far gone from just being a nuissance. We took a couple short cuts (don't worry, we didn't cut switchbacks) and we made it down past dry lake and the creek in a short time. However, the rest of the trail seemed like it never would end. We kept remembering parts of the trail and assumed we were almost done... but we weren't... it went on forever. After 4 hours from leaving the summit, we were back at the car and I collapsed.

We were dumb. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS TRAIL IN ONE DAY! I was sore for a week and dehydrated. Never again. I do plan on backpacking this trail soon as it's a perfect trainer scenario for other, bigger peaks.

camping
3 years ago

Did this one back in college while i was prepping for whitney, and it turned out to be a really fun over night trip with a buddy. We had thought about doing a one day shot but since we had all our gear any way (training with weight) we slept the night. It was a fun trail and had its difficult points, but overall I had a lot of fun.

hiking
3 years ago

This is an excellent hike for those who are in shape and want to push themselves a bit. As mentioned in the description, there is some water available along the creeks and in spring/early summer there is still water at Dry Lake. I've hike this both as a one day blitz and a more relaxed two day excursion. The first 8 miles of the hike are relatively easy and then the trail steepens as you wind up the back/South side of the mountain. Overall, a great hike!