At 11,205 feet Jepson Peak is the 2nd highest mountain in Southern California. It's located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness on the San Bernardino Crest. Most hikers will bag this peak either on their way to or on their return from the summit of San Gorgonio. Some hikers will include this summit on their San Bernardino Ridge Traverse hike. During the winter months Jepson Peak offers some of the best snow climbs in Southern California. There are 3 main chutes or gullies that rise 1,300 vertical feet out of the Jepson Bowl on the north side of the mountain. These gullies maintain a 35 degree angle and get steeper near the summit. The gullies as well as the surrounding slopes are prone to avalanche. Obviously the best time to climb them is once the snow has consolidated. The summit ridge above the gullies may be corniced so care must be taken. There is also a spectacular ridge on the north side of the mountain that can be climbed from the Jepson Bowl directly to the summit.
Route pages for the South Fork Trail and approach to the Jepson Bowl will follow soon.
For the South Fork Trailhead and Jepson Bowl approach:
From I-10 in Redlands take the University exit north to Lugonia Street (route 38). Follow route 38 east passing the Forest Falls turn-off and the small town of Angeles Oaks. About 6 miles past Angeles Oaks turn right on Jenks Lake Road. Go about 3 miles to the large hiker/trailhead parking on your left.
For the Vivian Creek trailhead:
From I-10 in Redlands take the University exit north to Lugonia Street (route 38). Drive east 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 parking area at the end of the road and walk uphill through the pinic area on the dirt road to reach the trailhead.
For day use a permit is required on any of the trails in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. These are free and self-issued. If camping overnight anywhere within the San Gorgonio Wilderness a permit is required. The permits can be obtained at the Ranger Station in Mentone, 34701 Mill Creek Rd. You can also request via fax at (909) 794-1125. The Barton Flats Visitor Center on Highway 38 and the Fawnskin Ranger Station in Big Bear also can issue these permits.
In addition to the wilderness permits an Adventure Pass is required for each vehicle; fees are $5.00 a day or $30.00 for an annual pass. These can be obtained from any of the ranger stations or from many of the local merchants.
When To Climb
Year round. Summer months are the most popular for hikers. Great snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and snow boarding in the Winter.
Camping is allowed. There are several campgrounds in and around the area and at several of the trailheads. Camping on the mountain or anywhere within the San Gorgonio Wilderness requires a permit that can be obtained from the San Gorgonio Ranger District at 34701 Mill Creek Road in Mentone, CA. Phone is (909) 382-2881 or you can request a permit via fax at (909) 794-1125.
Contact the San Bernardino National Forest, San Gorgonio Ranger District,
34701 Mill Creek Rd., Mentone, CA 92359 (909) 382-2881 or fax (909)