Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak

HARD 944 reviews
#1 of 26 trails in

Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak is a 17.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Forest Falls, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 17.2 miles Elevation Gain: 5,492 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

Wilderness permits are required for all overnight hikes. 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.

hiking
12 hours ago

I did this hike last weekend and it was a great hike! I definitively underestimated the amount of time it was going to take! If you aren’t a fast hiker definitely bring a headlamp otherwise start early and make sure to bring at least 3 liters of water. Please bring a headlamp... there will be others on the trail and you can always hike with them, but if you are with no one... then it will be tough to see without it. Happy hiking! Enjoy the view!

hiking
1 day ago

Finally ticked off old gray back on Wednesday 08/14, started at 0400 and had near perfect conditions the entire trek. There was a bit of snow around the peak which was pleasant surprise considering it’s mid-August. It did begin to warm up a tad on our descent so our timing was fantastic. We finished in a casual 8:30 (hike time) with a cpl short breaks on the ascent and descent. Only saw one other person on the way up and saw 7 coming up when we were on our way down. Having the mountain to ourselves was awesome. Water was available, unless you’re feeling frisky I’d recommend bringing a filter.

hiking
5 days ago

very pretty but tough

hiking
no shade
5 days ago

This is the toughest mountain I’ve hiked so far. I thought Baldy was a kick in the ass but Gordonio nearly broke me. The last 2+ miles to the top, with the elevation and altitude, had me just dragged myself up, like gravity was working against me. But eventually I made it to the top and release an internal shout of glory for accomplishing such a feat.

backpacking
6 days ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
7 days ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
9 days ago

hiking
over grown
rocky
12 days ago

One of the coolest but also the hardest peak hike I've personally done. Well covered up to about 9K, great scenery. Don't recommend camping at the peak, not much coverage from the wind and little space. High Creek camp is a really nice trail camp with water running year round. Bring as much water as you can carry and a filter system, this is a pretty strenuous hike. Trail is a bit overgrown in areas, but USFS volunteers were out the entire weekend (10Aug-11Aug 2019) putting in some awesome trail maintenance. Get to the parking lot very early, the only other parking available is about 2 miles away. Overall, great hike and probably the best trainer in the area for Whitney.

hiking
12 days ago

Easily one of the toughest hikes I've done in Southern California. The hike from the trailhead to the camp (~5.5 miles of beautiful forest) is pretty straightforward, but the actual tough part starts right after. A bunch of switchbacks later, the tree cover disappears, leaving you to handle a 2 mile long steep section at a high altitude under the midday sun. Plan ahead with enough food and water so that you're not stuck with making the ridiculously long return in the dark. I'd say give it around 10-12 hours for an average hiker.

hiking
13 days ago

Got up there in about 3:45 got down in about 2:30 it was beautiful everyone you meet on the trail is incredibly nice, it was pretty clear had an amazing view of the desert and a great view of the inland empire on the way up. Should have brought more water luckily I had my life straw. Sunscreen is a must at the higher altitudes. Did it alone it should be no problem for a person with experience with altitudes of 10,000+

hiking
over grown
rocky
13 days ago

Beautiful trail!! Would recommend you start very early (we didn't, and wow did we pay for that mistake!!! Hiking the last 3 1/2 miles in the dark with my 3 kids (14, 11 and 9) was torturous!!). Also, the distance and elevation climb was intense, but then again we were climbing the highest mountain peak in Southern California!

I hate my boots!!!!! My feet hurt soooooooo bad.

This trail for the average Hiker should be considered very hard. The trails are in good condition And there are some very beautiful scenic views. Check to see with the water levels look like on the mountain because there are a few places to get Good water but be sure to carry a filter. The last 3 miles from high Creek to the summit are probably the most challenging and I had several people tell me they underestimated the hike. Be prepared and plan ahead and it will be an amazing experience. The high creek campsite had some great spots too. It gets cold on the mountain at night so bring layers.

hiking
bugs
15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Excellent trail multiple ware sources.

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

Love this trail... A more experienced friend and I started this hike at 4am Sunday Aug 4th to try and avoid some sun. The weather and temp were perfect but it was to dark to see anything that our headlights weren’t on until halfway camp. 1st mi or so was pretty rocky and loose but not unsafe. The trail after Halfway camp was awesome not too steep, still in shade as sun was rising on the other side of the mountain, sharing the company of quiet with nature (exactly what I came for). We hiked to high camp and set up tents and dropped some weight, refilled water at creek about 50 yards from camp then continued up some daunting switch backs. After the switch backs you’re more exposed to the sun but in out case the weather and temp continued to show us favor. We hit summit at 11:30ish and enjoyed the views with a small handful of other smiling faces. (Was stoaked to summit on a clean clear day). After about an hour we started the decent back to High Camp passing another 5 or 6 people on their way up. Got to camp, refilled water, relaxed and ate dinner. Crashed early and woke early. Started our decent, somewhere around Halfway camp the sun was on us and we were feeling it. The way down after that was all new to us as we couldn’t see anything on the way up because it was too dark. I was kind of amazed at how steep and rocky the trail was now that we could see in the light. Got back to trail head around 10:40ish and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t die. Overall the trail for me was challenging and beautiful, everything I came out to experience. I highly recommend it to anyone and I’m thankful to the people that continue to maintain and preserve this trail. Thanks ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

hiking
20 days ago

I’ve hiked this trail several times and I never get tired of it. Always beautiful views, wild flowers really great people to meet on this trail. I started this morning 5am - 4 pm Saturday. This is a very intense hike. Not for a beginner. Keep hydrated and take protein snacks, first aid. Start early in the morning if you expect to make it to the Top in a timely manner.

Great quick hike !

The first two miles and the last mile are challenging because of their elevation gain. Coming back at the very end I was exhausted, but It’s worth it. The view all the was stunning. Will come back again soon.

hiking
20 days ago

This is a loooong day hike. Plan for 10-12 hour day. Had a great time, but wished that I did it as an overnight.

hiking
bugs
rocky
21 days ago

Start early and bring lots of water and your filter. Last water source is at high creek camp. Bring bug spray and sunscreen! More like 20 miles total, but a beautiful trail.

hiking
bugs
rocky
21 days ago

Took some buddies out on a two night backpacking adventure in the SGW!! This place is absolutely beautiful, another world really. Met tons of new people along the way! The trail was a bit over grown in areas but not enough to leave you astray. Gives you more of the Wild feel in my opinion. Next time I plan on camping at the summit though!

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