Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak

HARD 315 reviews

Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak is a 17.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Forest Falls, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
17.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5370 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

San Gorgonio is the tallest mountain in Southern California, and a right of passage for serious hikers in the area. At 11,503', "Old Grayback" provides an excellent high altitude training for those preparing to summit Mt. Whitney, and only 90 minutes away from Orange County. There are several trails leading up to San Gorgonio, but none as steep as the Vivian Creek trail, which in less than eight miles to the summit climbs over a vertical mile. One and two-tenths miles from the trailhead is Vivian Creek Camp (7,100'). Campsites are located upslope to the right of the trail after reaching the stream: one is halfway up the slope, and the other is at the top of the slope (no camping within 200 feet of the trail or creek). One and three-tenths miles from Vivian Creek Camp is Halfway Camp (8,100'). Water is obtained from the creek 200 yards before camp. Two and three-tenths miles further is High Creek Camp (water available - 9,200'). The summit of San Gorgonio (11,499') is 3 miles beyond High Creek. The upper end of this trail offers outstanding views of Yucaipa Ridge and Galena Peak, as well as sweeping panoramic views from the top of Mt. San Gorgonio. After the South Fork Trail, this is the second most used trail in the Wilderness.

backpacking
1 day ago

Started 1/12 at 7:30 am, lots of snow from the beginning. After half way camp we took a different trail (looked like the right one) that took us an extra 2 miles out of the way through 2-3 feet of snow. Finally made it to high creek just before dark. it was about a 9 hour day due to the "detour".. High Creek was below 20° at night.
We decided not to go for the summit on 1/13 becuase of two factors: exhausted from the previous day's detour and we were told it was waist deep snow and undoable even with snow shoes (which was the only gear we were short of).

All said and done it was an unforgettable experience and the wilderness is absolutely gorgeous. Can't wait to come back and conquer Old Gray Back!

hiking
1 day ago

My third time hiking to the peak of San Gorgonio. My second time not making it to the top. Which is another story.

The views from the trails are and have always been amazing to me. This trail like many others has a wide variety of switchbacks. Of which are not excessively steep. The second half or so of the trail, this time of year (January 13, 2108) was blanketed in snow. About 3 feet of which towards the end which was one of the factors in why it went incomplete this time around.

All around great hike the trial head is not to far off from the parking lot, maybe a half mile. The USFS will ask for a permit for parking as well as if your planning to spend the night. For parking they do have a non-permit day lot.

Overall great hike of the now 5 hikes I’ve done in San Bernardino. I will come back and complete this one.

hiking
13 days ago

Very pretty and nice views. Can be hard. You will need a Wilderness Permit after a certain point. Rangers do check to see if you have the permit. Elevation is very high. Wild life is present.

hiking
1 month ago

You no longer need a permit to day hike! adventure pass is still needed. Awesome hike but a bit windy with gusts up to 40 mph! 36 deg makes a facemask and gloves a nice thing to have.

1 month ago

Hiked up San Gorgonio 4 times via 4 different routes in 2017. Always enjoyed the hikes.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail loved the peak and the hike up to it. Definitely a tough one if you don’t frequent alpine settings.

1 month ago

Was 32 degrees when we left parking lot and probably 20 degrees at top with strong winds
Very cold so bring layers and something to cover your face
Took 9 hours round trip and just over 18 miles
Only used 2 liters of water as trip was cold all day long

backpacking
1 month ago

San Gorgonio was awesome. We went in both Oct & Nov. This hike is definitely challenging with a pack! The views were absolutely stunning. You will bot regret this hike! Although it was super cold so be prepared. Breathing in that cold air with the high altitude was killer but durable. We took frequent breaks to adjust to the altitude due to being dizzy and light headed. So take as much breaks as you need. I'd do this hike again an again an again lol.

hiking
1 month ago

TLDR: This is an excellent and challenging day hike. This is NOT a beginner or intermediate level hike. If you are at all out of shape or not used to hiking at altitude, you should not attempt this. But if you've done something like San Antonio comfortably, then San G is the summit for you.

This hike has two "strenuous" sections. The first is right after you make it to the trail head. It's a steep 25-30 degree incline on slippery small rocks for nearly a mile. The second is once you reach the ridgeline at around the 7 mile mark, where you are looking at a 20-25 degree incline for a about 1.25 miles. You will also be above 10000ft at this point and sun exposed.

As of Dec 1st, there is water flow at several points before and including High Creek Camp.

The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. I had a map, compass and GPS. I did not need those items, though I would still ALWAYS carry them "just in case".

A permit is NOT required for a day hike.
Visit http://sgwa.org/wilderness-permits/ for more info.

hiking
1 month ago

Somewhat of a lackluster summit, but a nice hike up. There aren’t too many places in SoCal you can get a big mountain feel, and this has it. I hiked it as a day hike in November and had more than enough time / daylight.

hiking
1 month ago

Went here with the intention of getting all the way to San Gorgonio peek. Unfortunately had a late start due to not having an adventure pass ahead of time, and having to wait til 8am for the local store to open. Tip: buy adventure pass ahead of time. I haven't hiked or worked out in over a year and the trail wasn't too bad, it's definetely tough specially that first mile but it's steady. I loved the views. Will definetely be back to make it all the way up!!

hiking
1 month ago

Had a late start, about 0930 approx.. I only made it to the junction of Half way camp and Vivian creek trail due to the person i brought wasn't conditioned for such an adventure. Still a great trek. Lots of beautiful views within just the first mile or so. The first mile really isn't that bad if you have decent endurance level. Keep in mind i carried only about 15 lbs in my pack. If you're going to bring a partner or group, I highly recommend them being in shape so they do not ruin or halt your Plans!

trail running
2 months ago

Nice hike that oscillates between easygoing scenic wooded strolls and vertical treks up dusty switchbacks. The peak is a bit underwhelming and the lookout 2/3 the way up is better in my opinion.
I prefer the Cactus to Cloud hike up Mount San Jacinto next door.

2 months ago

It was one of the best hikes I have done in Southern California so far. I highly recommend it to anyone considering this adventure.

2 months ago

Enjoyed this trail and High Creek Camp!

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike Oct. 8. that was 3 weeks ago. The trails were easy to follow and well maintained. It was a tough inclining. 1.5 miles before getting to the top. I got sick from elevation (I was sick and elevation added to my sickness. So, a little advice don't go farther if you are feeling the sickness. It was a bad decision because I was about to collapse if I didn't get to take a 20mins nap). I gave up already but my friend pushed me to keep going. We hiked a little farther until we see the San Gorgonio peak about .3miles away and that's when I took a 20mins nap. That made me feel better and continue the hike all the way to the peak and back down.

Overall, it was a great experienced. As I said, trails were well maintained and easy to follow. Also, its more than 18 miles. We hiked the trails in a day from morning to night.

I will try to hike San Gorgonio Peak again next year.

hiking
2 months ago

I really enjoyed this hike! The trail is hard during the 1st mile and the last 2 miles! 4.30 hours to reach the summit, 3 hours to come back and 30 min at the top enjoying the awesome view. I am thinking now to do it with snowshoes ❄️

3 months ago

The best hike I have done in Los Angeles or Orange County. I did it in one day, it was brutal. You see so many different terrains. Small creek running the first half of the hike, can filter and drink.

backpacking
3 months ago

Did this hike with my two boys over the summer. Beware that this is hike is longer than it states. From the parking lot, it's almost a mile to the actual trailhead.
It was raining when we left the parking lot. Most people coming back down said they got caught in lightning and heavy hail at the top. We got lucky and it started clearing on the way up.
The trail passes through lots of different terrain… Fern Meadows, green scrub, and rock.
Once you reach the trailhead the 1st mile is tough. About 1000 feet of gain over a mile. After that it's pretty moderate.
We camped at Highcreek which has water running through the camp. A great place to rest before summiting the next day. Look for the waterfall to the right of the trail just before camp. My boys thought that was cool.
It's a bit of a slog to the summit. Once above the tree line, it's a little farther than we thought. There is a camp at the summit sheltered by rocks from the wind, but we didn't want to chance it with the weather. Some guys coming down said they had camped up there the night before and it was beautiful. I think we'll try that next time.
This was seriously one of the most beautiful hikes we have done all in all. There are many other trails to explore, but many were closed due to the lake fire a few years back. Some reports have said they should be open soon though and we look forward to trying them out as well.

backpacking
3 months ago

Hard!!!

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