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The South Fork Trailhead is at 6,900′ and is located on Jenks Lake Road, 2.5 miles from Highway 38. From the large paved parking area, the trail starts on the opposite side of the road across from the vault toilet. The trail climbs gently towards Horse Meadow and then 2.5 miles from the trailhead it crosses the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary. Here there is a short side trail (NE) to a photo overlook (Poop-Out Hill, 7,740′) and a Wilderness information display. The main trail then continues another 1.7 miles to South Fork Meadows (8,200′). Here the trail forks: to the left (east) is Dry Lake (1.5 miles, 9,000′) and to the right (west) is Dollar Lake (2 miles, 9,300′).
The Dry Lake camping area is spread through two drainages. The first has only one or two good camping sites. The second, in the largest draw, has almost all the sites as well as Lodgepole Springs (about.25 mile up the trail towards Fish Creek Saddle-9,000’.) (Remember that camping is at least 200 feet from meadows, streams, springs, trails, and other occupied sites.)
One and three tenths mile further is Trail Flat Camp (no water.) Three-tenths mile further on is Mineshaft Saddle (9,700’,) from which the hiker may choose to climb to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio (11,503’.)
The 3.5 mile Sky High Trail from Mineshaft Saddle to the peak is occasionally steep, often rocky, and usually snow-covered in the early fall, winter, and late spring. This climb should always be done with care. Warm garments are necessary since the wind can pick up sharply at the peak. Summit Camp is just west of Mt. San Gorgonio and is best reached by either the Sky High or the Vivian Creek Trail. Rocky and windswept, the trail presents a panoramic view of Southern California. Here you will find a few rock walled shelters to take protection from the frequent buffeting wind.
Camping at Dollar Lake is at Dollar Lake Forks Trail Camp (9,300’) located approximately 0.3 miles from the lake. Camping is prohibited within 0.25 miles of Dollar Lake, including camping on the ridges above the lake.
Dollar Lake Saddle (9,960’-no camping here, no water) is located 0.7 miles beyond Dollar Lake. From the saddle, it is 5 miles to the summit. One popular campsite accessible from Dollar Lake Saddle is Red Rock Flat (10,100’,) ¼ mile west of the saddle. High Meadow Springs (10,400’) is ½ mile further with water available for both camps.
- Trail Measurement: 9.3 Miles
- Compass Latitude: 385739N
- Compass Longitude: 1202617W
- Numeric Latitude: 38.9607387
- Numeric Longitude: -120.4379759
- Elevation in Meters: 1529
- Elevation in Feet: 5016
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