Fish Creek Meadows

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Fall colors on Fish Creek
Aspens on the Fish Creek Trail

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.

Fish Creek Meadows

  • Location: San Gorgonio Wilderness east of Angelus Oaks.  On highway 38 from Redlands, drive east for 33 miles and look for an unsigned road (Nf-1n02) at mile marker 33.48.  The road soon becomes dirt, but should be passable for most vehicles.  After 1.3 miles, turn right on 1N05, another dirt road, and go 1.6 miles to the parking area.  A free San Gorgonio Wilderness Permit from the Mill Creek Ranger Station is required.
  • Agency: San Bernardino National Forest/Mill Creek Ranger Station
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet
  • Suggested time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty rating: PG
  • Best season: June – November
  • USGS topo maps: San Gorgonio Mountain; Moonridge
  • Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 8

This trail passes by the famous Aspen Grove of the San Gorgonio Wilderness.  While the aspen trees are now (11/2/10)  bare, the hike is still very enjoyable.  Except for the trickling stream, you can expect just about complete silence, and during the fall, there’s still a lot of good non-Aspen foliage to see.

From the parking area, descend and cross the creek into the wilderness.  The trail to the right heads toward the aspens; to the left is your route.  You parallel the creek, walking by Jefferey pines and white firs.  Notice a huge hollow tree about a mile in.

Shortly after, you cross the creek again and then a big meadow comes into view.  You can reach the meadow by scrambling through some trees.  Half a mile later, you reach the junction with the Fish Creek Trail after two miles.  You can retrace your steps, or go farther given the time and energy–if you head right and keep on walking, you’ll eventually end up on the summit of San Gorgoino.

One comment

  1. The Adventure Pass is no longer required at the Fish Creek/Aspen Grove parking area is no longer required. Court decisions have limited fees to areas with developed facilities. Since this is a trailhead, only, no fee is permitted. Also, there’s a rut in the dirt road from last year that stops *most* low-clearance vehicles. More adventurous, risk-taking drivers do proceed, but the vast majority of cars (9/10, I would guess) in the parking area are high clearance. Parking down before the (usually) dry creek crossing adds about a mile each way.

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