The Fish Creek Trail head is located at the Fish Creek parking area. This parking area is accessed from SR38 via Forest Route 1N02 and then 1N05. The turn-off from SR38 is at Heart Bar. The Forest Routes are graded dirt roads, with the trip from the highway taking 30-40 minutes. There is one water crossing at the Santa Ana River which can be high in spring.
The Fish Creek Trail, being well designed and offering excellent views, makes for a fine and pleasant hike. The trail head is located just above 8,000 ft. of elevation with car camping available at nearby Mission Springs Campground. The trail head itself is located on the wilderness area boundry, making this hike a protected wilderness experience right from the start. For the first half-mile the trail descends to Fish Creek before begining a gentle climb. Soon beautiful Fish Creek Meadows comes into view among tall pines & firs. Beyond the meadows the route ascends above 9,000 ft. in a series of broad switch-backs (not the short frustrating kind) with south & east exposure and excellent views of the Ten Thousand Foot Ridge and the Little San Bernardino Mtns. After the fourth mile or so Fish Creek Saddle is gained. At 9,800 feet this wide saddle offers camping with spring water not too far away. Beyond Fish Creek Saddle the traverse of the north face of Lake Peak is the first part of this route that may be found to hold onto snow into late spring. More than a few glimpses of Dry Lake are available through the trees at this point. Upon emerging from the north slope of Lake Peak while approaching Mine Shaft Saddle, startling views of the surprisingly close summit of San Gorgonio appear. At Mine Shaft Saddle the Fish Creek Trail meets the Dry Lake Trail and the Sky High Trail leading to the summit. From the trail head to Mine shaft saddle 2,000 feet of altitude is gained in about 5.5 miles. The final 3 mile section to the summit is described elsewhere on this site. The Fish Creek Trail is an excellent alternative for those who find the Vivian Creek Trail a little to steep and punishing.
Due to the fact that the Forest Routes leading to the trail head are not plowed in winter, this is an unlikely trail for snowshoeing. However, it is very possible to encounter hard snow and ice on Lake Peak and beyond toward the summit. Ice axes and crampons may be necessary depending on the condition of the snow surface.
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