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Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak [CLOSED]

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San Gorgonio Wilderness

Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak [CLOSED] is a 19 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, 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.

Length 19.0 mi Elevation gain 5,492 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Hiking Running Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Rocky Snow Closed
Description
Waypoints (9)
Facilities
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Getting There

Note: As of 8/17/20, the San Gorgonio Wilderness is closed due to the Apple Fire. For more information, please see https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6902/ 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.

Picnic Area at Vivian Creek

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543 Permit Information http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino

Apply for your permit early. This is the second most popular trailhead in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, and permit quotas often fill up in advance. The permits are free, and the entire process can be handled via fax. Start hiking early. The trailhead parking officially opens at 6am. We got there about 5:35 and there were only a few spots left in the upper lot. It's a long day, and by starting early you'll avoid the worst of the heat. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking. Be prepared. Yeah, it's the old Boy Scout motto, but on an all-day mega hike like this, preparation really counts. Carry the 10 essentials. It's a long trail. Don't underestimate the water and electrolytes you'll need.

Directions from Palm Springs, CA: San Gorgonio Wilderness is located in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties positioned 2 miles north of Morongo Valley and approxiamtely 10 miles northwest of Palm Springs. It can be accessed by Interstate 10 from the south and State Highway 62 provides access in the Morongo Valley area.

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Reviews (1792)
Photos (1938)
Recordings (1817)
Completed (2818)
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Heidi Vu
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Hiking
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Elly Crowell
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Hiking

This is a fantastic trail. When you get over the rock field and start going up, it’s pretty hot out the gate. Great trail until the last 2.5ish miles (pretty exposed and feels like it goes on forever). Unfortunately we didn’t get to finish this time because the El Dorado Fire sprung up during our hike. When we saw the smoke we turned around immediately.

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Geoff Obst
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Hiking

Trail is in pretty decent shape. Water is still flowing at High Creek.

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Nick Menio
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BackpackingGreat!

4th time doing this hike, 1st time backpacking to high creek and camping out. The other 3 times we slept on the summit. Much easier trip to camp at high creek and lightweight hike to the summit. High Creek has running water, which is always the big question. We saw a black bear at High Creek Camp, that was scary and exciting. Bring your bear box, we roped up a bag of food up a tree. Also saw a stump still smoking once we got to the ridge line after the first switchbacks after heading to the summit from high creek. Really great two days.

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Niki Le
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Hiking

Very long hike and can be strenuous but the view is gorgeous and totally worth it. There are some shade along the way but definitely bring lots of water.

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jordan Henry
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking

US Forest Service closed access to trailhead. Signs posted to not access the road leading to Vivian Creek. Air quality very bad because of Apple fire. Trail is closed because of nearby Apple Fire

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Adam Ortlieb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020

Hiked San Gorgonio on 6/19. Well, it took me two attempts. The first time I took a wrong turn, spent an hour trying to regroup, jumped off a rock and fell into some sharp brush, and eventually turned around because I was too short on time. A couple days later I came back and summitted. I walked up on a huge rattlesnake on the third mile. Eventually he let me pass. I found this hike to be a huge challenge but really rewarding. The last mile up was tough.

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Juliana Halpert
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Hiking

Valley of the Falls road is currently CLOSED. Don’t see any other way to get to the trailhead.

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Nate Sayre
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Hiking

Great trail, easy to follow. The rivers, waterfalls and views distract you from the difficulty. Amazing views from the top. Was fortunate enough to witness the Apple fire from the summit. Just make sure you follow the signs on the way down at Dollar Lake Junction, there’s a sign where the trail split informing you which one leads back to Vivian Creek.

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Shumin Guo
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HikingGreat!

Great day hike overall, the view is spectacular! Unfortunately, due to the near by wild fire, it’s hard to see the San jacinto peak.

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Cristina Kelley
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Hiking

Went this last Saturday 8/1/2020 while the Apple Fire was burning on the other side of the ridge. We made it to the ridge line for lunch at midday and saw the fire burning and growing as we ate. The fire blotted out the sun as we hiked back down. The photo is from about 2.3 miles into the trail.

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Idele Gonzalez
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HikingNo shadeRocky
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Allison Swanson
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Hiking
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Allison Swanson
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Hiking
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Zee Double
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Hiking

solid 4 miles from High Creek

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Tiancheng Xiao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingBlowdownBridge outBugsNo shade
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Jaime Dost
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HikingBugsGreat!Rocky
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BbLinh Tran
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Hiking

The first two and last two miles were the hardest! The rest of the trail had a steady incline or was pretty level. Absolutely loved the view at the top! 65% was shaded so not too hot until two miles before summit. Really pretty views.

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Kylin Zhuo
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Hiking

The feeling of lack of oxygen is awful in the very last miles before getting to the peak. The creek is nice, I got some drinking water.

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Jenna Lau
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Hiking

top

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Jacob Galvan
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Hiking

Hard but fun

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Mickey Toth
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Running

nice hike bit short but I’ll take it

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Jimmy P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
Hiking

Hike Gorgy on July 24 Last of the socal 6, now I want to to other routes up all the peaks. Makes SJ feel easy (July 22). Never hike on weekends due to crowds. Always start early in the dark with headlamp to get parking, avoid crowds and heat. Bugs never a problem with skin-so-soft and always use sunscreen. Please mask up, social distance and leave no trace like wrappers, orange-banana peels. 4:50 Car and start. 6073 ele 5:30. SG wilderness sign. 7095 ele 8:00. High camp. 9265 ele 11:00. Junction. 11250 ele 11:15 summit 11380 ele 1:00. High camp. 9265 3:05. SG wilderness sign 7090 3:40. Car 10hrs, 40 min

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Jake Sithu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
Hiking

Date and time: 7/17/20 (6.5 hrs up + 3.5 hrs down = 10 hrs total) Trail condition: Very well maintained and easy to follow. Exposure: Good amount of shade throughout from big tree to tree but it is not continuous. The last 2.5 miles at the top are completely exposed where there are no trees, sunscreen or UPF clothing is a must. Water Source: As of 7/17/20 the creek is flowing well all the way up to High Creek Camp. Climbing: None. Although the last 2 miles or so at the top is very rocky terrain and there is a very minor boulder scramble at the summit. Bugs: In the forest areas around bushes and especially near the creek do have quite a few bugs but if you keep moving it’s not a problem. However, this is just a small section and most of the trail has no bugs whatsoever. Wildlife: Only encountered one large deer. But I always carry my bear spray on me when I’m hiking. I did this trail on 7/17/20 as a day hike. The creek was flowing well all the way up to High Creek Camp so there is plenty of water. The difficulty of this trail really comes from the length, it is long and feels even longer on the way up. The trail itself is not difficult at all with mostly a steady incline and is well maintained. The first 1.5 miles after crossing the dry creekbed is very steep, but after that, the next 2 miles or so goes through a flat and beautiful forest. The middle sections all the way through High Creek Camp and the switchbacks are moderately steep but nothing too bad. The last 2.5 miles or so at the top are again very steep with rocky terrain and completely exposed since there are no trees at the top. The best advice is to go very early in the morning especially if it's your first time since you don't know how long it will take you and you don't want to be caught in the dark on the way down. Overall, this is a great and challenging hike with amazing views and I will be doing it again in the future.

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