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South Fork Trail to Dry Lake

HARD 264 reviews

South Fork Trail to Dry Lake is a 11.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Angelus Oaks, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,250 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

horseback riding

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

If you're not used to high altitude hiking, this hike may be challenging. The Ranger station has the most updated map, but even then don't believe the switchbacks it displays; there are about nine or ten at the four mile mark just past the junction of three streams.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

About a 12 mile hike. Not hard. Good long moderate hike for active hikers. Dry Lake is awesome, reminds me of alpine lakes in the Sierra Nevadas. Has water. Some mud and ice but easy to step around. If you don’t go before the rainy season I’d recommend waiting until next summer after the snow melts. Got to see 2 deer, does. Lots to see on this trail from the meadow to poop out hill to the stream crossings to Dry Lake and views of the San Gorgonio peaks. Trail gets more beautiful as it winds on up out of the burnt pines into greener forest and wider stream crossings. A couple of the stream crossings have a likelihood of getting your feet wet. Not too bad though, should dry out while hiking. Only saw 2 other hikers all day. Recommended definitely.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Trail is throughout burn area so not much shade, sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen! Foliage is changing colors and beautiful right now, lake still has a bit of water! As stated by others, Trail is a bit longer than All Trails reports.

backpacking
bugs
rocky
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

GREAT WORKOUT! I clocked 12 miles total as well when I got back to the South Fork parking lot. There are lots of sticker bushes on the trail so I definitely agree with the previous reviews on wearing full pants. Hiked it today, a Tuesday, and I saw only three other hikers on the trail. The lake is NOT dry, it’s low but still lots of water. Beautiful views!

hiking
closed
over grown
rocky
washed out
2 months ago

Shortly into the hike there is a detour around a closed trail section but your back on the main trail in no time. The hike is very diverse with ferns and springs to rocky old growth slopes with unfortunately lots of fire damage. Very pleasant hike to Dry Lake. If you are camping, make sure you stay to the left fork of the trail around the lake.

South fork trailhead to dry lake

The trail is very easy to follow, not difficult. Well maintained. Very green and beautiful. Will definitely go back.

Perfect trail for Mt. Whitney training. Went up South Fork and looped around on Dry Lake Trail. Trails are in good condition and very well marked. If I could rate this six stars I would still rate it five for the simple fact that there are too many pine needles on the ground, the Forest Service hasn't raked this part of the forest for a while; they also need to polish the rocks, they are dusty.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Good trail condition. The alternate trail on the first 1/4 mile is the steepest part. Wear pants, the shrubs are hugging the trail constantly. A few water crossings where I was thankful to have waterproof boots and poles.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

This was a great trail. I started at 7am, and the weather was great on the way up. Got to the lake at about 10am, hung out for an hour then headed back down. It was pretty hot going back down, but not unbearable. Still a great hike with beautiful scenery. Seemed to be a little busy today, probably due to the holiday weekend, but still pretty quiet compared to trails in the LA area.

hiking
3 months ago

Dry Lake was very full in August 2011. So it hasn't been 14 years.

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

we back packed it to dry lake. perfect weather. lots of flowing water at the saddle. Creek flowing at dry lake to filter. 3am start time to hit San g. Alo of miles. Such a pretty hike.

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

It was a perfect day! Cloudy weather with temp of 70’s ! Beautiful trail with many wild flowers and streams. I saw only 6 people on the trail! So quiet and relaxing! I saw 2 beautiful deer also. There are a couple of steep uphills but not too bad. I totally enjoyed this trail!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful, with lots of wildflowers. All clear, lots of water a short distance off trail in South Fork Santa Ana River. Quite warm but no bugs.

hiking
4 months ago

7/21/2019 Very large parking lot, Adventure Pass required. There are bathrooms and trash cans located in the upper left area of the lot. The trailhead is across the street from the bathrooms. Starting at 6:00 am I was in shade most of the way to Dry Lake. Mostly gradual gain with a couple steeper parts. There are still loads of beautiful wildflowers in bloom. There are several tiny stream crossings where you’d have to work hard to get wet and a couple crossings where having poles definitely helps walking on rocks and logs. Cresting a small hill brings Dry Lake in view and it did not disappoint. There is still a lot of water, but the water level has dropped several feet. Definitely a Five Star hike! Trail Rating ***** I’d do it again tomorrow **** I’ll do it again, after I hike new trails ***I’ll do it again if someone asks **I’ll begrudgingly do it again *I’ll never do it again

backpacking
bugs
4 months ago

Amazing trail soooo green. The lake was pretty full but I was told by the ranger that it was so full it was pouring out. Yes Rangers checking permits for overnighters.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome day hike. Got a permit for an overnight at dry lake so spent the night. The lake is full for the first time in 14 years per the rangers. Beautiful views, great temperatures. Trail has a decent gain but is short. Nice halfway point to the summit. Wildflowers everywhere and plenty of water at the crossings.

hiking
bugs
no shade
5 months ago

We started at 5:45am and had shade nearly all of the way up. Lake still full. Abundant wildflowers, especially in the switchbacks. Lots of water in creek crossings. Started back down at 9am and the sun was brutal. 4 liters of water.

hiking
5 months ago

This is my absolute favorite hike in the area! There is still a detour at the start of the trail, but it is well-marked and easily negotiable. Trails crews have been busy since I was there last about a month ago. A lot of scrub has been cleared off of the trail and downed trees have been cut...no more climbing over! Flowers are in abundance and streams are flowing. You can avoid wet boots by easily rock-hopping or crossing on logs. Dry Lake is still full and beautiful. Don't know how long it will last...get there before it's gone!

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