As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!
Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
South Fork Trail to Dry Lake
Paradoxically named Dry Lake exists entirely of melted snow from the tall peaks above. Now is a great time to visit: although (as of 6/8/10) the lake is far below capacity, there is still some water there, and the snow levels are very low.
Cross the road and head up into the wilderness on the South Fork trail. The ascent is steady for the first mile or so, and beneath the tall pines and firs, great views of Sugarloaf Mountain (tallest peak in the San Bernardinos outside of the San Gorgonio Wilderness) can be seen. You then arrive at Horse Meadows, a large, flat area where there are a few camping buildings. A road branches off to the right; stay left, continue the ascent, cross a dirt road and reach the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary, two plus miles from the start.
From here, the grade levels out, reaching a junction with the Lost Creek trail. Stay straight and begin a steep ascent to another junction in 0.3 miles, where a trail branches off to the right for Dollar Lake. Your route stays left, where you will do three quick stream crossings and begin a long series of switchbacks. Views of San Gorgonio, Charlton and Jepson Peaks are particularly dramatic during this stretch. Finally the route flattens out and arrives at Dry Lake (elevation 9,065). If you like, walk around the 0.8 mile perimeter of the lake before heading back down.