San Gorgonio Hike via Vivian Creek Trail Head

Hiking “old gray back” in the San Gorgonio Wilderness located in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains.

Hike Stats:

  • 19.1mi Round trip
  • 5,600ft of elevation gain
  • 8hrs total hike time
For more Trail info click on my Strava

Map to Vivian Creek Trail Head


Hike Profile

San Gorgonio Hike profile

Hike Recap:

I was really surprised by how beautiful of a hike this was. There is some really nice scenery as you make you way above tree line.

starting out you cross Vivian Creek and then hit a steep section for about a mile or so then you’ll set in at a pretty constant climb until the last mile.

The trail is in very good condition and as far a Southern California hikes it wasn’t crowded at all.


Permits are required for this hike click here to visit the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association‘s web site where you can print day hike and over night hiking permits.  You will have to fill these out and fax them in, you also want to make sure that they get approved. For our day hike we had no issue with permits.


There was plenty of water along the trail when we hiked it in the beginning of October. With the last available water about 2-3miles before the summit. So if you aren’t going to pack what you need don’t forget your (filter/tabs or UV) water filtration. Make sure you contact the Rangers to see if seasonal water is available, Mill Creek Ranger Station(909) 382-2882. For our hike we had mild  temperatures (mid 70’s) I brought 3liters of water and 16oz of electrolyte replacement. Durning the hike I consumed 2liters of water and all of the electrolyte replacement. for more about hiking hydration click here.  

San Gorgonio Hike


At the top you’ll be at 11,500ft above sea level, if you have never been up this high you will definitely feel the elevation in your lungs. We brought an Oxygen Saturation meter up with us and I was at 90% saturation compared to 99% at sea level. Looking south you’ll see San Jacinto, looking to the north you’ll be looking at Bear Mountain, Snow Summit and Big Bear Lake. At the top the “true summit” can be a little crowded, we hung out off the side a little bit by some of these rock wind shields. Definitely a good training hike for Mt. Whitney…

San Gorgonio Hike

Remember how I said it’s a beautiful hike..

Heading down

The Vivian Creek Trail is in great condition and that allows you to move quickly coming back down, so if you hear a frosty beer calling it wont take long to be reunited with your sudsy buddy. (*disclaimer you can not drink beer in the parking lot, they will ticket you*). Or you can take your time and snap a few pics. You don’t really see a change of the season in Southern California but there were a few yellows showing through making it feel a bit like fall.. Other than it being 75 degrees and I’m hiking in shorts..

Short video from our hike
More Photos click to enlarge

As always if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email! click here