SoCal Six-Packs of Peaks challenge #6 “San Gorgonio”
ATTENTION: Special Events are different than our regular club runs and are for current club members only!
SAN GORGONIO MOUNTAIN – Elevation 11,503′ (3,506m)
Old Greyback is the tallest mountain in the San Bernardino Mountains, and the highest point in Southern California. It’s also the 7th most prominent mountain in the contiguous 48 states.
Original Six-Pack route: Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio
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.
The first section gives you a gentle, half-mile warm-up through the wooded Mill Creek Canyon.
The next section is a steep mile of switchbacks that climbs 1,000 vertical feet. It’s a forested trail with views over Mill Creek Canyon and to the west toward Mt. San Antonio.
The third section of the trail is parallels the beautiful Vivian Creek. This is an easy section and was really a highlight of the trail, with the sounds of the babbling creek, impressive pines and lush greenery.
The fourth section gets steeper, climbing past High Creek and up a number of switchbacks to the tree line. You may begin to feel the effects of the altitude as you approach 10,000 feet. The view opens up and you gain stunning vistas of Mt. San Jacinto and the Inland Empire.
The final section of the trail is a long, diagonal traverse near the ridge that leads to San Gorgonio. You climb steadily, with sparse vegetation and full exposure to the sun. It is dry and it can get quite hot, but it’s a well-engineered trail that climbs steadily and not-too-steeply to the summit
As you reach the summit ridge, you’ll pass to junctions en route to the peak. The first is a spur that leads west toward Dollar Lake. Bear right and head eastward. Another 1/4 mile along the trail you’ll reach a junction with the Sky High Trail joining from the south. Continue straight for another .3 miles to the summit.
The top is a broad expanse of gravel and rocks that is a little anti-climactic. It feels more like a big mound than a peak. But it’s the highest point in Southern California, as the 360 degree views confirm.
The return route on this out-and-back trip is back down the nearly 8.5 mile trail. Fair warning, it will feel longer. Take your time and enjoy it. The views you enjoyed on your morning climb take on a whole new look in the afternoon light.
COME PREPARED! It’s a long and high way up. Don’t underestimate the water and electrolytes you’ll need, extra food , extra layers, small first aid kit, etc …