Shields Peak is located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness at the western end of the San Bernardino Mountains. It is the fourth peak of nine in the popular San Bernardino Mountain Traverse culminating with San Gorgonio
, Southern California's tallest peak at 11,502. All nine peaks are in excess of 10,000 feet in elevation. The traverse, the largest subalpine wilderness area south of the Sierra Nevada is typically completed in a multi-day backpacking trip. Many of the peaks can also be accessed via day hikes.
Shields is located near the midpoint of the high country traverse. It requires a brief off trail approach and easy class 2 talus scramble over a short ridge before you reach the summit. On a clear day views are exceptional with the north side of San Gorgonio Peak to the southeast and Big Bear Lake to the north. Many other prominent peaks are also visible including Jepson
. Other than summer, the western end of the traverse is less traveled so you have a greater sense of remoteness and solitude.
Surveyor Don McLain named the peak after Lelia Shields the 1920's manager of Camp Radford.
Approach to talus summit of Shields Peak
For both trailheads take Interstate 10 to the city of Redlands exiting Orange Street and heading north for approximately 1/2 mile. Turn right on E Lugonia Ave, Highway 38. Lugonia becomes Mentone Blvd in the City of Mentone and then Mill Creek Road and eventually State Highway 38
Forsee Creek Trail
You will travel approximately 19 miles east on Hwy 38 through Angelus Oaks and continuing on another 7 miles. Make a right onto Jenks Lake Road and continue another 1/3rd mile making another right at the fork. Look for the "Forsee Creek Trail" sign. Follow the dirt road approximately 1/2 mile to the trailhead. Drive with caution in low clearance vehicles as the road can have long deep ruts.
The Forsee Creek Trailhead (1E06) starting elevation is 6720. Follow the trail approximately 1/3rd mile taking the left fork towards Jackstraw Springs. You will reach the turn off for Jackstraw in four miles at an elevation of 9200. Stay to the left taking "Trail Fork Springs" for approximately 2 1/2 miles to the San Bernardino Peak Trail. En route you will come to a trail juncture with multiple signs posted on a tree. Take the "Dollar Lake Saddle" fork. Once you have reached the San Bernardino Peak Trail turn right heading east. Follow the trail approximately 1/2 mile as the peak comes into sight. Leave the trail for a short approach.
The trail is predominately a long series of switchbacks to the San Bernardino Peak Trail. Much of the early trail is covered with Jeffrey Pines, Cedars, White Furs and Oaks eventually becoming Lodgepole pines at the higher elevations. The trail also crosses Little Stetson creek which can have water late into the summer.
Momyer Creek Trail
You will travel approximately 13 miles east on Hwy 38 to the Valley of the Falls Road. Turn right heading towards Forest Falls. At 2 3/4 miles turn left into the large parking lot just below the fire station.
The Momyer Creek Trailhead starting elevation is 5500. The trail will take you northward and across Mill Creek. Each winter the trail washes out so you will have to spend time trail finding on the other side. Once you have picked up the trail proceed 2 1/2 miles to a fork. You turn left (1E06) up a steep switchback trail for 4 miles. When you top out on the ridge turn right on the San Bernardino Peak Trail. Follow it for approximately 1.5 miles. The trail will contour around the north base of Anderson Peak eventually reaching the flat ridge area again and then onto Shields. You may see some trail signs along the way follow the ones indicating Dollar Lake Saddle. As the peak comes into sight leave the trail for a short approach.
View of Charlton (foreground left), Jepson (right) and San Gorgonio Peaks (rear left) from the summit of Shields Peak
There are two requirements to access this peak:
1.) You must have a
National Forest Adventure Pass for any vehicle parked at the Momyer trailhead. Fees are $5.00 a day or $30.00 for an annual pass. They can be purchased at any ranger station or select local merchants. A pass is no longer required
for the Forsee trailhead.
2.) You must also obtain a free permit
to enter the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. This applies to both single and multi-day entries. Permits can be obtained at the Mill Creek Ranger Station
located in Mentone, 34701 Mill Creek Road. Phone number: 909-382-2882
A supply of self issued permits is left out each night at the Mill Creek Ranger Station but the popular trailheads go quickly. You can also request a permit up to three months in advance via fax at (909) 794-1125.
View North of Big Bear Lake from Shields Peak
When to Climb and Weather
The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area can be enjoyed year round. The summertime is the most popular season. Winter approaches should include crampons and ice axe as appropriate.
National Weather Service Forecast and current conditions for the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area
There are four camping sites within close Proximity to Shields Peak.
Trail Fork Springs and Anderson Flat are to the west and within a mile and Shields Flat and High Meadow Springs lie to the east within one mile.
Trail Fork Springs Camp - Elevation 10,400
Water is located about 100 yards southwest of the camp at the spring which can look dry, but if you go into the bushes you'll usually see a pipe with water still flowing out of it.
Anderson Flat Camp - Elevation 10,500
Shields Flat - Elevation 10,400
High Meadow Spring - Elevation 10,300
Preferred water source
External LinksSan Gorgonio Wilderness Association
A great resource for trail information, current trail conditions, weather and education:
San Gorgonio Wilderness Association
San Gorgonio Wilderness Association - Backcountry Bulletin Board
Ask your San Gorgonio Wilderness questions here
San Bernardino National Forest
San Gorgonio Wilderness Trail Information