South Fork Trail 1E04


South Fork Trail Map

Topographical map showing the South Fork Trail to South Fork Meadows

Area Status: Open

The South Fork Trailhead is at 6,900' and is located on Jenks Lake Road, 2.5 miles from Highway 38. From the large paved parking area, the trail starts on the opposite side of the road across from the vault toilet. The trail climbs gently towards Horse Meadow and then 2.5 miles from the trailhead it crosses the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary. Here there is a short side trail (NE) to a photo overlook (Poop-Out Hill, 7,740') and a Wilderness information display. The main trail then continues another 1.7 miles to South Fork Meadows (8,200'). Here the trail forks: to the left (east) is Dry Lake (1.5 miles, 9,000') and to the right (west) is Dollar Lake (2 miles, 9,300').

The Dry Lake camping area is spread through two drainages. The first has only one or two good camping sites. The second, in the largest draw, has almost all the sites as well as Lodgepole Springs (about.25 mile up the trail towards Fish Creek Saddle-9,000’.) (Remember that camping is at least 200 feet from meadows, streams, springs, trails, and other occupied sites.)

One and three tenths mile further is Trail Flat Camp (no water.) Three-tenths mile further on is Mineshaft Saddle (9,700’,) from which the hiker may choose to climb to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio (11,503’.)

The 3.5 mile Sky High Trail from Mineshaft Saddle to the peak is occasionally steep, often rocky, and usually snow-covered in the early fall, winter, and late spring. This climb should always be done with care. Warm garments are necessary since the wind can pick up sharply at the peak. Summit Camp is just west of Mt. San Gorgonio and is best reached by either the Sky High or the Vivian Creek Trail. Rocky and windswept, the trail presents a panoramic view of Southern California. Here you will find a few rock walled shelters to take protection from the frequent buffeting wind.

Camping at Dollar Lake is at Dollar Lake Forks Trail Camp (9,300’) located approximately 0.3 miles from the lake. Camping is prohibited within 0.25 miles of Dollar Lake, including camping on the ridges above the lake.

Dollar Lake Saddle (9,960’-no camping here, no water) is located 0.7 miles beyond Dollar Lake. From the saddle, it is 5 miles to the summit. One popular campsite accessible from Dollar Lake Saddle is Red Rock Flat (10,100’,) ¼ mile west of the saddle. High Meadow Springs (10,400’) is ½ mile further with water available for both camps.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Yellow Warning Triangle Symbol  A portion of the trail was burned over in the 2015 Lake Fire. Potential hazards include falling trees and limbs, loose rocks and ash pits. Portions of the trail may be damaged or blocked with debris.
Fees: U.S. Fee Area Logo Adventure Pass Required $5/day or $30/year. Interagency Passes also accepted. For more information, please visit our recreation pass page.
Permit Info: Day use permits will be required beginning September 1, 2020. For overnight permits, reserve through the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association.
Usage: Heavy
  • Group size limited to 12 people and 8 pack/riding animals per group.
  • No campfires allowed.  Portable gas stoves are allowed.
  • Camp on a durable surface at least 100 feet away from trails and water sources.
Pack It In/Pack It Out Pack out what you pack in and Leave No Trace! 
Closest Towns: Angelus Oaks
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead
Information Center:
Mountain Top Ranger District | Big Bear Discovery Center
40971 North Shore Drive, Highway 38
P.O. Box 69
Fawnskin, CA 92333
1-909-382-2790 Thursday thru Monday. (Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

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