San Gorgonio Wilderness Trail via Vivian Creek

#5 of 137 trails in San Bernardino National Forest
San Gorgonio Wilderness Trail via Vivian Creek is a 16.7 mile out and back trail located near Forest Falls, CA that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and snowshoeing and is accessible from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

16.7 miles 5157 feet Out & Back
dog friendly camping hiking snowshoeing trail running bugs forest river snow views waterfall wild flowers wildlife
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The Vivian Creek Trail is the shortest and the steepest route to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio. 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.

Note: 2010 there was a detour following the flags.

HikingGuy .com

31 Completed29 Reviews

This hike is a beast. Over 5k ft of climbing, 18 miles, it's a long day. Buy hey, it's the tallest peak in SoCal, so you have to do it. I have a full San Gorgonio hike trip report and turn by turn directions on my blog here >

Amanda Inglis

19 Completed5 Reviews

This is a hard but beautiful hike.

Robert C.

8 Completed8 Reviews

This was my last climb of the So Cal Six Pack. I did this climb on 6 September 2015 with a group of four other climbers, 3 of which I had climbed with before.

We got an early start on the trail, with boots on the ground at 5:50 am while it was still a bit dark. The initial part of the trail leads to a dry river crossing which makes it a bit difficult to find where the trail resumes on the other side. Once on the other side, the trail kicks up into some steep switchbacks for at least a mile, it backs off a little bit and mellows out after that until later in the climb where it has other steep sections to navigate.

Towards the top the altitude started playing a part in the climb, above 10,000' elevation I could certainly feel it and our pace slowed down considerably. The trail towards the end gets steep again as you near the summit, we had some question as to exactly which peak we were hiking up to since from the lower angle it was hard to determine which one was the highest. Turns out on the way up you really can't see where the top is exactly.

The top had a few people on it, a register that was pretty much full to sign in and the San Gorgonio plaque to hold up for a photo. We had slight stratus clouds and it was brisk up a the top in the wind, but with a little wind protection, very comfortable. Beautiful views from the summit!

Another great hike with some really nice and fun people, a perfect day outside in Southern California.

Kyle Kammer

4 Completed4 Reviews

Crystal G.

I was super excited to hike up this trail fresh snow had just fallen last Saturday may 16 which made it a difficult hike but wow SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!! Love the hike so scenic it was a winter wonderland but the snow made it a difficult slushy hike back!!!

Robert Schneider

14 Completed3 Reviews

did this hike in one day the first oart all switch backs and up up up when you get to vivian creek camp all forest till what I named the switch back rock garden than above treeline have a lot of sunscreen awesome views at top can even c big bear lake start early its a long hike and plan well all in all great hike. PS watch loose rocks on switchbacks took a header and tweeked knee was a ruff and paing ful 5 miles back to truck but still made it .

Brian Mcgarry

23 Completed6 Reviews

This was our first backpacking trip of the season and it was a great way to knock the cobwebs off. We started in the Vivian Creek parking lot with our dog and when we got our first look at the hill we were about to climb, we immediately started cutting weight from our packs, haha! We ended up with her having about 35lbs and my pack weighing in just about 60lbs. Way too much for an overnight trip. I think next time I can cut that down to under 45lbs with little discomfort. The first mile or so was pretty bad. Nothing but uphill after you cross the creek bed. We had to stop a few times before we hit the "zone". After the Vivian Creek Camp it flattens out some more and its just an amazing trek all the the way to the top. Best part is, now I know what I need to work out and train for the next trip, haha!

Alma Herrera

39 Completed33 Reviews

Completed the hike Via Vivian Creek, hardly any snow, great views. I definitely under estimated this hike, the beginning does seem challenging but the rest is a gradual incline towards the peak, but don't fool your self its volume is massive at times it feels like forever. Great hike tho beautiful peak view. I will definitely hike again, please hike safe and let the Rangers know your hiking San Gorgonio if this is your first hike there.

Frank Jackson

47 Completed29 Reviews

Loved the hike. Trail tends to get overgrown down below. Very windy up top a lot of times.

Mandie Brummitt

2 Completed1 Reviews

Doing the hike to the summit is do-able and well worth it for anyone who is in even moderate athletic shape. Some people hike over two days and camp along the way but doing in all in one day is achievable if you're able to focus your attention on mind over matter. It's an internal struggle as well as a strenuous hike but the views and sense of accomplishment on the summit are incredible!