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DesertMud - Hiking, Mountain Biking, Pine Trees, Southern California
Hiking Mountain Biking Pine Trees Jun 16, 2024
Special Instructions
Wilderness Permit Req'd
Mill Creek Ranger Station
34701 Mill Creek Road
Mentone, CA 92359
(909) 794-1123
NF Adventure Pass Req'd

Related Hikes (5)
San Gorgonio Peak via South Fork Trail, Dollar Lake
9 Peaks in the San Gorgonio Wilderness 30 miles, 9 peaks, 9200ft elev. gain, 1 day
San Gorgonio Peak via Fish Creek Trail
San Gorgonio Mountain via South Fork Trail, Dollar Lake Saddle
San Gorgonio Peak via Vivian Creek Trail

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You are here: Home : Hiking Last Updated on 08/18/2003    
Diff: Rating 10/10
Scenic: Rating 9/10
Tech: Rating 3/10
9 Peaks in the San Gorgonio Wilderness
         30 miles, 9 peaks, 9200ft elev. gain, 1 day
Location: San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California
Region: San Gorgonio Region
Wilderness: San Gorgonio Wilderness
Total Distance: 30.5 Mi
Elevation Gain: 9,200 Ft
Season: June-Nov
Type: Loop
Start Elev: 5,510 Ft
Peak Elev: 11,501 Ft
Total Time: 14.4 hr

Peak List Peak List
Peak Name Elevation
Alto Diablo 10,563 Ft
Anderson Peak 10,840 Ft
Charlton Peak 10,806 Ft
Jepson Peak 11,205 Ft
Little Charlton Peak 10,696 Ft
San Bernardino East Peak 10,691 Ft
San Bernardino Peak 10,649 Ft
San Gorgonio Peak 11,501 Ft
Shields Peak 10,680 Ft

Hike added by
on 08/16/2003
Driving Directions
From Los Angeles take I-10 east; take the Orange Street (CA-38) exit, drive 14 miles east to junction with Forest Falls Road. The trailhead is reached by turning east off Highway 38 to Forest Falls. Continue up the road 3 miles to the large parking area (5,400') on your left 100 yards before the fire station.
Hike Momyer trail from trailhead parking lot. At ridge head left (west) and reach San Bernardino East and San Bernardino. Head back on ridge (east). On the ridge near Anderson, there was no apparent trail to the peak. We hiked off-trail to the peak and found pieces of a trail coming back down. Shields peak is a big pile of rocks. The trail skirts the north side of the peak. We took off-trail to the peak and back down to the trail. There were small patches of trail to the peak but nothing worth staying on. Alto Diablo (a small bump) was not difficult to find. The trail switchbacks up the side of the peak 6 times and skirts the north side where there are a few poor paths to the peak which is only about 20 feet off the main trail. On the USGS topo, this peak is marked 10563 ft. Covers on tablets left by boy scouts on the summit registers of a few of the 9 peaks label it as 10,430 feet. But at the 10,563 peak was an lidless ammo can with a rock cover with registers labeling this peak as Alto Diablo. This peak is where I met up with and began hiking with Bill, Scott, and Arvind. At this peak, all of us except Bill were a little concerned about our water supply. Scott had the High Meadow springs coordinates in his GPS, so we got back on the trail and followed it until we were about due north of the springs. We headed down the slope and found the spring without a problem. There's a large patch of lush green grass surrounding the springs area. We filled up on some water and walked the contour back to the trail near Dollar Lake Saddle. We continued on the trail. We didn't head up to Charlton until we got near the saddle between Little Charlton and Charlton. We climbed up to the saddle (off-trail), dropped our packs on the saddle, went to Charlton, picked up the packs, went to Little Charlton. We continued down the other side of Little Charlton and back on the trail. We walked the trail until we were southeast of Jepson Peak. We took off-trail again, dropped our packs on the ridge southeast of Jepson, and walked the ridge about 1/10 mile to the peak. We picked up the packs, and continued down the ridge to the trail. Hiked the trail up to San Gorgonio. After a few minutes there we turned around, headed back for the Vivian Creek trail. We finally met up with Brendan on our way down from San Gorgonio at the trail junction with Vivian Creek Trail near the summit. That was probably our longest break of the day and lasted maybe 15 minutes. We then headed down Vivian Creek trail. Bill decided to run down the trail, get Arvind's car and meet us at the Vivian Creek trailhead parking lot. I met Bill in the parking lot just after he had pulled up and Arvind and Scott were just a few minutes behind me. I chose to walk back to my car.
I posted this hike on the Outdoors Club website. 5 people signed up for it.

5 of us started on the trail at about 5:50AM (Bill, Scott, Michelle, Arvind, Matt). Brendan had opted to get his own wilderness permit at 6:30AM when the ranger station opened and camp on top of San Gorgonio for the night. The sun rose fast and the hours passed... The day wore on until sunlight was gone...

I believe the mileage is right around 30 miles with 9200ft elevation gain/loss. Definately a difficult and demanding hike for a day.

Michelle, great effort out there. I'm sure you could have made it if the day was a few hours longer. Thanks for making the right decision!

Scott, the GPS was a big help.

Bill, Arvind, Brendan, it was nice meetin ya. Thanks for coming along.
Ya'll made this hike a lot of fun. It was a long day but a good one. Took a beatin on the joints but I guess that's what they're there for!

Times are as follows and were approximately the same for the 4 of us: 5:50AM start from Momyer trailhead parking, 9:30AM San Bernardino East, 10:00AM San Bernardino, 10:30AM back at Momyer/San Bernardino trail juncion, 11:00AM Anderson, 11:45AM Shields, 12:20PM Alto Diablo, 2:10PM Charlton, 2:30PM Little Charlton, 3:20PM Jepson, 4:10PM San Gorgonio, 7:40PM Vivian Creek Parking lot, 8:15PM Momyer trailhead parking lot.

The 5-peak hike I lead last weekend in the San Gabriels, 3T's - Harwood - Baldy, was a good warmup for this hike but a warmup's about all it was. Today's hike was a good deal more demanding than last weekend, mileage-wise and also off-trail hiking. I'd recommend doing the 5-peak hike or something more difficult before attempting this 9-peak hike.
Trail Condition
Lower Momyer trail is a little brushy in places, then the brush thins a little and then thickens again where thick manzanita and mountain whitethorn are prevalent. The trail along the ridge is good to very good for the most part. Vivian creek trail is very good. There is also some off-trail hiking in this hike -- nothing difficult but still off-trail.
Forest Details
Hiking up the Momyer trail, it was nice to start seeing lodgepole pines because it meant I was at about 9,000ft.
Notes about this hike report
Original Outdoors Club writeup that I wrote:

----Update August 11, 2003----
By signing up for this hike I assume that you are familiar with the trails in the area, both the ones we will be on and other trails that may act as possible escape routes. If you have never hiked in the San Gorgonio area before or are unfamiliar with the trails/route or are not confident in your route finding abilities or will not be able to navigate back to the vehicles ON YOUR OWN, do not sign up for this hike. I also assume that you are comfortable doing this entire hike alone as that may be the case if our paces differ. You must be aware of your hiking abilities and limits and be able to make sound judgements on your own. You must keep adequately hydrated and keep your energy level up. You must keep your eyes open for rattlesnakes along the lower Momyer trail. You must be comfortable at elevations above 10,000ft because approx 13 miles of this hike will be near or above 10,000ft.

Here are some ways out or ways to shorten the hike without completing the entire hike.
#1: Do not go to San Bernardino East or San Bernardino Peak, this will take about 4 miles off hike.
#2: Return down Momyer trail to vehicles
#3: Take the Falls Creek trail from Dollar Lake Saddle back to vehicles. I believe there has been a lot of recent bear activity along this trail.
#4: Do not go to San Gorgonio and take Vivian Creek Trail down.
#5: Skip any/all of the actual peaks.

Note: I've read that Alto Diablo Peak (not USGS recognized) is difficult to find. It is approx 10,500 feet elevation and ~1 mile East of Shields Peak. I believe the trail passes right near the summit however.

If you will be joining us on this hike, please review the following:

Maps at
http://www.desertmud.com/images/9peaks1.jpg (Starting location shown is incorrect, it should be East of location shown.)

----End Update----

A hike similar to this one which starts in Angelus oaks is normally done as a 2-4 day backpacking trip. I intend to complete this hike in a day.

Pace will be fast. This WILL BE a very demanding, difficult hike. Beginning hikers are NOT welcome. If you are unfamiliar with doing multi-peak hikes, this is not the place to start.

About the 9 Peaks:
From http://www.sgwa.org/faq.html From west to east, they are San Bernardino Peak, San Bernardino Peak East, Anderson Peak, Shields Peak, Alto Diablo (a curious "pile of rocks" not recognized by the U.S. Geological Survey, but recognized by the Boy Scouts of America and many "locals"), Charlton Peak, Little Charlton Peak, Jepson Peak, and Mt. San Gorgonio. These peaks are generally linked up by Boy Scouts groups and others on a three-day outing beginning at the Vivian Creek Trail and culminating at the San Bernardino Peak trailhead. There are other peaks in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, but those listed above are all located along the several mile long ridge from San Gorgonio to San Bernardino Peak.

The Momyer/San Bernardino/Vivian Creek loop is ~26 miles hiking with ~9100ft of elevation gain/loss.

From Momyer trailhead, hike to San Bernardino Peak Trail, just east of San Bernardino East Peak. Make a left (west) and hit San Bernardino East and San Bernardino (~2 miles), retrace your steps back and continue East on San Bernardino Peak Trail to Anderson Peak, Shields Peak, Alta Diablo, Charlton Peak, Little Charlton Peak, Jepson Peak, and Mt. San Gorgonio. Go back to Vivian Creek trail and head down. Walk down road back to vehicles.

Start at 5:30am. I'll probably camp in the parking lot Friday night.

Plan to complete hike in 12-16 hours. We should be back at vehicles before sundown... but then again maybe not, so bring a flashlight of some sort.

Water should be available at High Meadow Springs which is a few hundred feet below trail and 5 peaks into hike... in other words, you will need pleanty of water to get you there. Beyond that, next water will be along Vivian Creek Trail at High Creek. This will be after all uphill hiking has been completed. So you will need to bring pleanty of water. I plan to carry 7 quarts. I suggest 7 quarts as a minimum. Also bring pleanty of food.


I have a wilderness permit for 6. I don't plan to hold this hike together as a group hike, I like for everyone to go at their own pace. So if you join this hike and your pace differs from everyone elses, you might be hiking alone most of the day... if you are not comfortable with this, do not join.

From Los Angeles take I-10 east; take the Orange Street (CA-38) exit, drive 14 miles east to junction with Forest Falls Road. The trailhead is reached by turning east off Highway 38 to Forest Falls. Continue up the road 3 miles to the large parking area (5,400') on your left 100 yards before the fire station.

~26 miles hiking
~9100ft elevation gain/loss
Start 5:30am at Momyer Trailhead Parking.
Adventure Pass Required to park.
Finish at about sundown.
9 Peaks (if all goes well)
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