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Hiking Mountain Biking Pine Trees Jul 7, 2022
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Related Hikes (5)
Cucamonga Peak Ridge from San Sevaine Flats
Cucamonga Peak via Middle Fork Trail
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South Fork Lytle Creek Rock hopping to 4 pristine waterfalls
Middle Fork Lytle Creek Falls Little known waterfall

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You are here: Home : Hiking Last Updated on 08/25/2000    
Diff: Rating 7/10
Scenic: Rating 8/10
Tech: Rating 6/10
South Fork Lytle Creek
         Rock hopping to 4 pristine waterfalls
Location: San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California
Region: Lytle Creek Region
Wilderness: None
Total Distance: 7 Mi
Elevation Gain: 2,000 Ft
Season: Year-round
Type: Out & Back
Total Time: 4.4 hr
Time In: 2.67 hr
Time Out: 1.75 hr

Hike added by
on 08/25/2000
Driving Directions
From Hesperia, take I-15 past the 215 junction to Sierra Ave exit. Make a right and go towards Lytle Creek. Go a few miles up Lytle Creek Rd, past a 25mph speed limit sign and then park somewhere near a 2nd 25mph speed limit sign, you will have passed a ranger station and some sort of ranch on the left with a fancy sign out front. If you get to Middle Fork Rd, you've gone a little too far. There are a bunch of large turnouts on both sides of the road, park at one of these.
Hike down a trail, across the flowing creek & hike up the dry South Fork Lytle Creek. After a little ways, Bonita Waterfalls will be at the edge of the canyon on your left. Keep hiking up the creek, staying to the right when the creek branches off to the left. Eventually the creek turns and heads down this canyon, the end of which looks like small landslides have occurred. Head down this canyon; eventually there will be 3 waterfalls and then this bathtub shaped depression in a rock on the creek - good place to cool off. Climbing around this section is a little difficult. We went up the left side and then quickly back down to the creek. Then on our way out we went down the other side where there is a large tree that you can hang onto while maneuvering yourself on the slippery rock & sliding back down. I doubt a dog could make this section. Further up the creek, there is "Y", the right branch is a flowing creek, the left branch is dry, more open and larger. We took the left branch towards the Joe Elliot Tree. Eventually it pretty much dead-end's at some steep rocky slopes, maybe you could find a way around if you had a while, but in the time we had, it was pretty much the end of the hike; any way you go, you'll be on some darn steep slopes.
We went back out and had most of the day to try to get to the Joe Elliot Tree, but once again we didn't make it. The gnats were just as bad this time, you get to know what it feels like to be a horse and have flies on your eyes all day - it's pretty miserable - you breath em, you eat em, you clog your eyes up with em. It get's tiring swatting at the d*mn things, then they get stuck in your eyes and you can't really see where you're going. But anyway, after the creek turns down the canyon to the left (where a few incense cedars are) the rocks seem to get larger. It is dry and hot for a little ways, then it gets shady and the water starts flowing. Then some rocks up there were entirely covered orange with ladybugs. Keep hiking up the creek and you get to the first of three 10-20 ft waterfalls spaced about 100ft apart or so. Hike around the waterfalls to get to the top of each. With the 3rd waterfall, water flows over this thick mossy looking growth like a carpet and that is beautiful. After the waterfalls, there is this section of creek where the water comes down like a steep curvy waterslide and there is this bathtub shaped depression in the rock there and lots of ladybugs. Getting around this section is a little difficult. On the right there is steep, slippery rock with a large tree, maybe 15-20ft up - this is the way we came down. Someone had tied a yellow rope around the tree which was pretty small and rotted and broke when we pulled on it. We climbed up the rock on the left of the creek instead, above and past the "waterslide" section and then back down into the creek. Keep hiking up the creek and after a little ways, it forks, we took the left, larger, more open, and drier branch. Hiking up this there was a puddle here and there but really no water to speak of. We noticed some tires embedded in the creek bed scattered here and there. We also saw these small metal gear looking things (2), and further up there was an old rusted pickup truck bed burried under some rocks in the creek bed, and further up there was a red car in a few pieces that was totally smashed and partially buried by rocks in the creek bed. A little farther up there was a young bighorn sheep that had been killed and it's bones were there along with a big pile of crap. A few hundred feet more and the creek dead-ended at some steep rocky slopes and we were out of time anyway so we turned back. Get back to my truck and some @ss@@les had egged it - that stuff stinks when you try to get it off.
Trail Condition
There are lot of large rocks to climb over in this hike. There are a few patches of a trail on the beginning portions of the hike but really the creek is the trail and you rock-hop pretty much the whole way up.
Forest Details
There are mostly deciduous trees along the creek. A little ways into the hike there are some big-cone douglass fir & a few scattered incense cedars. The waterfall section of this hike is beautiful and is well worth the effort if you can bear the gnats.
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