San Gorgonio Wilderness

**Some portions of the San Gorgonio Wilderness remain closed due to the Lake Fire, for more information call 909-382-2882**

The United States Congress designated the San Gorgonio Wilderness in 1964 and it now has a total of 96,595 acres. The Wilderness is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service and resides within the Sand to Snow National Monument.

San Gorgonio Mountain was originally known as "Old Grayback" by locals until officially designated by the US Geological Survey (from the Spanish heritage) on the original topographical map of the area produced in 1899. At 11,502 feet, it is the highest peak in California south of the Sierra Nevada. The San Gorgonio Wilderness derived its name from this peak within its boundaries.

Most of the San Gorgonio Wilderness is above the 7,000 foot level. Two rivers (which would be called creeks anywhere but in Southern California), the Santa Ana and the White, flow out of the Wilderness. The numerous streams in the Wilderness Area do not always flow in late summer, and locating water can be difficult. Two small lakes, several meadows, and large, heavily forested areas provide a beautiful sub-alpine oasis in the dry lands that surround the mountain range. The isolated environment contains many threatened and endangered plant and animal species, as well as bear, deer, mountain lions and bighorn sheep.

The summit of the 10,624-foot San Bernardino Peak provided the initial point in 1852 from which all of Southern California was surveyed. There are 81 miles of trails in the National Forest portion of the Wilderness, and approximately 20 miles of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail in the BLM portion.

Free wilderness permits are recommended for all hikes in the portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness managed by the San Bernardino National Forest. A Forest Adventure Passes (or Interagency Pass) is required for use of the facilities at the Vivian Creek, Momyer, and South Fork Trailheads. Wilderness Permits and Adventure/Interagency Passes may be obtained in person at Mill Creek Ranger Station, Barton Flats Visitor Center (summer only), and Big Bear Discovery Center (Fawnskin). Wilderness permits may also be requested up to three months in advance by visiting this San Gorgonio Wilderness Association Website. There is a quota (limit) on the number of day and overnight hiking groups allowed in the wilderness, so please plan ahead and obtain permits in advance, especially on summer weekends.

Campfires are not allowed in the San Gorgonio Wilderness at any time.  Gas stoves are allowed, with a wilderness permit.

Group size in the San Gorgonio Wilderness is limited to 12 people and 8 head of stock.  Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Follow this link to a handout describing San Gorgonio Wilderness Trails

For an overview of the Sand to Snow National Monument, click here.

For more information, please contact:

Mill Creek Visitor Center (909) 382-2882 (closed Tues/Wed)