The Aspen Grove trail, located within the 59,000 acre San Gorgonio Wilderness, offers the Southern California hiker a unique opportunity: visit the only grove of Quaking Aspen (Populus Tremuloides)
between the Sierra Nevada and Baja California. The remnant grove follows the banks of Fish Creek, and is a popular destination during Autumn. A typical year sees the leaves reaching their peak golden-yellow color during October, offering a pleasant addition to the dominantly evergreen foliage found at similar elevations throughout Southern California.
Climbers may also use the Aspen Grove trail as a variation of the Fish Creek approach to Mt. San Gorgonio. The trail adds approximately 1.3 miles (one-way) to the ascent via Fish Creek, Mineshaft Saddle, and the Sky High trail.
- From Redlands,take the Orange exit, heading north.
- After approximately one half mile, turn right (east) on Lugonia / CA-38
- Head east on CA-38, approximately 33 miles to 1N02, the road to Heart Bar Campground, on the right. There is a sign. Turn right (south). Note your odometer.
- At 1.2 miles, there is a fork. Bear right, now traveling on 1N05.
- At 2.8 miles, on the right (west) side of the road is the trail head for the Aspen Grove Trail (2E05).
Topo of Aspen Grove
Route DescriptionTrail Statistics
Waypoint Elevation (ft) Distance (mi)
Trailhead 7410 0
Jct Fish Creek Trail 7975 1.3
Fish Creek 8320 4.1
Fish Creek Saddle 9805 6.8
Mineshaft Saddle 9920 8.2
San Gorgonio Peak 11,499 12.7
Vertical rise: 4089ft
From the parking lot, a rocky trail descends to Fish Creek, el. 7100ft. Continue to the left along Fish Creek until reaching a crossing. A San Gorgonio Wilderness sign rests on the opposite bank of Fish Creek, surrounded by the Aspens.
Heading North (descending Fish Creek) takes one through the main part of the grove. The trail passes through what appears to be an experimental controlled burn-area, re-crosses Fish Creek, climbs a ridge, and crosses the Santa Ana River. It is possible to follow dirt roads East to Heart Bar or continue North to CA38.
Turning South at the wilderness sign takes one through the upper portion of the grove. The trail climbs approximately 875ft. in 1.3mi, crossing Fish Creek, passing a meadow, and continuing to the junction with the Fish Creek Trail. Following the Fish Creek trail West leads to Mineshaft Saddle and, eventually, Mt. San Gorgonio. For more information see the Fish Creek Trail
Standard rules for mountain travel apply. Be prepared for summer thunderstorms, and unexpected weather changes during the Fall. Overall, the trail is well graded, well maintained, and more isolated than the South Fork or Vivian Creek approaches. Water is almost always available at Fish Creek. There is little shade above Mineshaft Saddle, so bring sun protection if attempting the summit.
San Bernardino NF
San Gorgonio Wilderness Association
CaSIL Topo Maps
The road to the trailhead is gated and closed in the winter, and usually does not open until May(ish).
No Adventure Pass is needed for this trailhead.