Momyer Trail to Wilderness Boundary

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Momyer Trail
View of Yucaipa Ridge from the Momyer Trail
Momyer Trail Cactus Flower
Cactus flower on the Momyer Trail

Note: This trail is closed until October 8, 2021 due to the El Dorado Fire. Click here for more information.

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.

Momyer Trail to San Gorgonio Wilderness Boundary

  • Location: San Gorgonio Mountains near Forest Falls.  From Redlands, take highway 38 east for 15 miles.  Bear right onto Valley of the Falls Drive where the highway makes a hairpin turn and drive 2.9 miles to the trail head, on the left side of the road, just before the fire station.  A National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 for the day or $30 for a year) is required for parking. Click here to purchase. If you want to go past the wilderness boundary, make sure you pick up a free permit at the Mill Creek Ranger Station on highway 38.
  • Agency: San Bernardino National Forest, Mill Creek Ranger Station
  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,700 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Altitude, Elevation Gain, Steepness)
  • Suggested time: 3 hours
  • Best season: May to November
  • USGS topo map:  San Gorgonio Mountain
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 8

This trail–named for a conservationist with the unfortunate handle of Joe Momyer–climbs steeply up the south side of the San Gorgonio ridge.  Much of the trail is exposed, so make sure you get off to an early start if the day is hot.  The hike begins with a tricky crossing of Mill Creek.  The water usually flows quickly, so be careful (you may have to go upstream a little to find a place where you can negotiate the stepping stones).  The trail continues on the other side of the stream, passing in and out of groves of pines and black oaks.  During the exposed stretches of the trail, prickly pear grows along the slopes, meaning that hikers get the chance to see the unusual combination of pines and cacti at the same time.

The trail continues it steep ascent, taking in views of Mill Creek and the Yucaipa Ridge to the south.  Almost three miles in, you arrive at the San Gorgonio Wilderness Boundary.  Making it this far is a good workout in and of itself, but should you want to go farther, you’ll need a free permit (which can be found at the Mill Creek Ranger Station, so get it in advance if you think you might want to go into the wilderness).  Shortly beyond the boundary, the trail splits, with the left fork heading up toward San Bernardino Peak and the right leading to the Alger and Dobbs trail camps.


  1. Thank you for this blog! I love getting my posts and dreaming about the hikes. I actually live in far NorCal now, but am planning to head back to SoCal. The blog with its pics makes me want to be there now! While I’m still here in NorCal I’m thinking of doing the same and posting pics of cool hiking places here. Thanks!

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