Galena Peak is the high point of an area known as the Yucaipa Ridge. It is located in the San Bernardino National Forest on private land. It is a few miles directly south of the summit of San Gorgonio, Southern California's highest peak.
The climb is basically a cross-country trip that takes you from the Vivian Creek Trailhead East following the Mill Creek Wash aprox. 2.5 to 3 miles where you will end up at the Mill Creek Jumpoff or headwall. Watch for constant rock fall from the Northern side of the canyon. Climb the headwall and follow the ridge Southwest a short distance to the East summit of Galena Peak where you can sign the register. The West summit is a 10 minute walk further and is 30 feet higher. The climb is aprox. 6 to 6.5 miles roundtrip with 3200 feet of elevation gain.
The views from this rugged looking and seldom climbed peak are nothing less than spectacular. Especially on a clear winter day. To the North lies San Gorgonio and the entire San Bernardino Ridge with good views of Dobbs, Jepson, Charlton, Shields, Anderson, San Bernardino East and San Bernardino Peaks. To the South and Southeast one can see Sawmill Canyon and in the distance Mt. San Jacinto with the fingers of Snow Creek reaching to it's summit. To the West one can see Mt. Baldy and the San Gabriel Mountain Range. Far below are dramatic views of Mill Creek Canyon and Forest Falls Road.
Views From The Summit
To get to the Vivian Creek Trailhead parking from interstate 10 at Redlands take either the Orange Street or University Avenue exits North several blocks to Hwy 38 and turn right. Drive Northeast for about 14 miles to the intersection with Forest Falls Road. Go right and continue for 4.5 miles to the Falls Recreation Area. past the town of Forest Falls. Drive to the Vivian Creek Trailhead parking area at the end of the road and walk uphill through the picnic area on the dirt road. At any point you can drop into the wash. Be careful if the water is running high.
No permit is required as long as you stay outside the San Gorgonio State Wilderness. If you do enter the State Wilderness you will need to obtain a permit from the ranger station in Mentone at 34701 Mill Creek Road. You can also request a permit via fax at (909) 794-1125. The rangers will tell you that Galena Peak is on private property and is off limits. I have read reports from others that state they have not seen any landowners. As well, my partner and myself did not encounter any problems with landowners.
An Adventure Pass is required for each vehicle parked at the Vivian Creek trailhead. Fees are $5.00 a day or an annual pass can be purchased for $30.00. These can be obtained from any Southern California ranger station or from many of the local merchants.
When To Climb
Galena Peak can be climbed year round. It is a great Winter snow climb with the option to climb any of the steep chutes on the South side of Mill Creek Canyon rather than the headwall. Beware of loose rock. Wear a helmet.
Water, good footwear for traveling on boulders, helmet, iceaxe, crampons and snowshoes in Winter.
Contact the San Bernardino National Forest, San Gorgonio Ranger District, 34701 Mill Creek Rd., Mentone, CA 92359
(909) 794-1123 or fax (909) 794-1125
Currant Weather Conditions
There are many campgrounds in and around the area and at several of the nearby trailheads. If you intend on camping within the San Gorgonio State Wilderness you will need to obtain a permit from the Mill Creek Ranger Station at 34701 Mill Creek Rd., Mentone, CA. Phone is (909) 794-1123 or you can request by fax (909) 794-1125.