South Fork Trailhead, going from Orange County, take the 91 freeway east towards Riverside. Stay on the 91 freeway which eventually becomes the 215 freeway. The 215 freeway eventually intersects with Interstate 10. At the 215 freeway and Interstate 10 interchange, take Interstate 10 going East toward Palm Springs. Exit from Interstate 10 on University which is in the City of Redlands. Make a left and follow University (You will pass through Redlands University) until you meet Highway 38. Take a right on Highway 38, going toward the San Bernardino Mountains. In several miles you will pass the Mill Creek Ranger Station (Where you obtain the additional wilderness permit if you have not gotten it early), continue on up into the San Bernardino National Forest. Highway 38 will take you to the trailhead. Exit highway 38 onto Jenks Lake Road (This road is located before Barton Flats). Take Jenks lake road a couple of miles and the trailhead is on your left hand side. It is a large parking lot with a big sign indicating the South Fork Trailhead. (A Forest Adventure Pass is needed as well as a free Wilderness Permit for the San Gorgonio Wilderness).
Follow this link for the permit. The link will direct you to the wilderness permit application. You can obtain the additional wilderness permit early from the Mill Creek Ranger Station which is the easiest way, or you will have to stop at the Mill Creek Ranger Station before you go hiking. Each trail in the San Gorgonio Wilderness has a set quota for the number of hikers allowed on each trail and once the quota is reached the Forest Service doesn't issue more wilderness permits for the trail. That is why I recommend you get your wilderness permit early for your hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio. You can obtain a permit 90 days before your hike.
Mt. Baden Powell or Mt. San Jacinto in preparation for this hike.
Vivian Creek and Fish Creek). The South Fork Trail is one of the most popular routes to the summit for hikers to use. In our opinion this is the most scenic rout to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio.
San Gorgonio Wilderness Association gives weather forecasts, that are worth checking out before you hike in this area. Also you can view a live webcam of Mt. San Gorgonio by clicking Here, courtesy of BigBearWeather.com.
Dry Lake is another notable spot along the hike to Mt. San Gorgonio. It has stellar views of the surrounding San Bernardino Mountains and during most of the year is filled with water. During the summer months and early fall it becomes a meadow until snow returns in the winter. During the winter this area gets a lot of snow. For those that do this hike in the winter always make sure to check the weather conditions and information provided by the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association's Bulletin Board. If you are doing this hike in the winter you will likely need crampons, snow shoes, and good winter gear. Remember, snow can be present for many months of the year on the trail to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio so make sure to check the conditions if you are doing this hike in late fall, the winter, or the spring. If you do this hike during the cold winter months make sure you are prepared with proper gear as only experienced hikers should do this hike during the winter.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 4,601 ft. (Strenuous), Distance: 23.6 Miles Roundtrip (Strenuous), Note: be on the watch for Altitude sickness since the height of Mt. San Gorgonio is 11,502 ft.
Time to Complete Hike: 9 - 11 hours.
Good Training Hikes: Mt. Baden-Powell, Mt. San Jacinto, Saddleback Mountain, Cucamonga Peak, Mt. Baldy.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON MT. SAN GORGONIO
Mt San Gorgonio (Via the South Fork Trail, August 2011)(This Post)
View Mt San Gorgonio (Via South Fork Trail) in a larger map