Vivian Creek Trail Hike to High Creek

    We should be counting our blessings that here we are in California on a seventy three degree February day.
     We should be hiking in snow shoes instead of shorts.
     I really, really wish we had some snow Usually February is a time when few people go hiking at San Gorgonio and the ones that do hike with snow boards strapped to their backs so they can snow board back down.
     This has been the driest winter any one can remember in California. Yes its nice to be playing outside on the trails in the mountains in the sunshine on a February day but I would hide the shorts away for another month for a few days of rain drops.
       On Valentine’s Day 2014 I did this hike with my best friend. We hiked a ten mile section of Vivian Creek, so more than halfway up San Gorgonio, almost near the top of Jepson Peak was our turn around point, just below High Creek Camp.
      M is a good friend. Not only did she put up with me eating cheese for the five days she stayed with me while her Air Force husband was TDY (training; lucky guy, spent Valentines Day in Hawaii) she also followed me up a mountain for hours while my hungry butt continuously ate my shorts.

      I was so hoping there would be a lot more snow on this trail at the higher elevations but there was almost none; so crazy considering a month ago this area had avalanche warnings!
     Today’s trail snack was Trader Joe’s Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Pita Crisps with some mini Brie rounds. This is an awesome trail snack when hiking.
     If I’m doing a longer hike, more than twelve miles I usually pack a full lunch but this was just enough food for this shorter version of the San Gorgonio hike.
     If you are looking to back pack this hike and camp part way Half Way Camp is nestled among the pines about 3.5 miles up. All the online reviews say it has water but I did not see any and if you are planning to camp here I would pump water about 1.5 miles up the trail at the first creek crossing. In a five mile hike up, this was the only drinkable water we came across.
      On a winters day with no snow in sight this was a easy and convenient and yes, very pretty way to waste a beautiful day outside in sunny So Cal!

Details for the Vivian Creek Trail Hike

What you will need for this hike:
Sunscreen, snacks, 1-3 liters of water depending on how many miles you want to do, Wilderness Pass ,
First aid kit, wide brimmed hat, hiking poles, toilet paper, cat trax, gloves and hat if there is even a little snow

How much altitude you will encounter:
A lot. We did two thousand feet of altitude gain in ten miles total.

How long is this hike: Up to 20 miles ( Round trip to the summit and back)

How do I get there? Take Highway 38 from Redlands about eight miles up the mountain to the sharp corner and turn off for Forest Falls. Drive about two miles through the town of Forest Falls and park at the Big Falls parking lot all the way at the end of the road.

Walk up the wash about a mile and there will be a sign saying to cross the creek for the trail head.
Before you cross the wash locate the next sign across the long river bed before you start across so you know where you are going. (People get confused here trying to find the rest of the trail)

From this point the trail is very easy to follow to the summit of San Gorgonio.
Warning; the first mile of this trail is super hard! You gain five hundred feet altitude in the first mile alone until you reach the Wilderness boundary sign! After that the trail gets way easier so please don’t give up in the first mile!
Make sure you get a Wilderness Pass from the Mentone Ranger Station off Highway 38 before you get to far up the mountain.

Local Lowdown:
Stop for lunch afterwards at Casa Maya in Mentone.;Yucatan influenced Mexican food. Try the Pork Al Pastor Tacos, the home made salsa and the home made tortillas. This is the best Mexican food around!
Also for a great lunch try
Heskas Sugar Shack or good old A & W  Hamburgers on Mentone Blvd.
There is also a fruit stand on the North side of the road on Mentone Blvd that has amazing candy, produce and dried fruit.