RECREATION Sites in Forest Falls to reopen

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif—Officials with San Bernardino National Forest will reopen recreation sites in Forest Falls, Calif., on Saturday, April 24. The sites include the Falls Picnic Area, Big Falls Trail, and Vivian Creek Trail,

Staff and volunteers from the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association, a Forest Service partner, have been able to evaluate trails and prepare facilities for reopening after closing last year for the El Dorado Fire, which continued to show smoke through snow in the winter. Some other trails near the El Dorado Fire footprint reopened on April 10

Important details about trails are below.

Vivian Creek Trail (1E08)

A portion of the Vivian Creek Trail into the San Gorgonio Wilderness of Sand to Snow National Monument was burned over during the Apple Fire, which was ignited a month before the El Dorado Fire. Hikers should be aware of potential hazards, such as falling trees and limbs and loose rocks. 

A free wilderness permit is required for day hikes and overnight trips. It can be obtained through the San Gorgonio Wilderenss Association on their website. An Adventure Pass is required for vehicles parked in the parking lot.

Big Falls Trail (1E13)

The trail is open to the upper waterfall viewing platform. No permit is required, but an Adventure Pass is required for vehicles parked in the parking lot.

The area beyond the platform is closed for safety. Rocks below the waterfall are extremely slippery, so much that one has been nicknamed “blood rock” by locals. Many visitors who have ventured past the platform have slipped into the river, prompting search and rescue operations. 

Flash flooding warning

Both of these trails cross Mill Creek, which is fairly dry in the spring and summer months. Visitors should be aware of flash floods in the stream bed caused by rain storms miles away in the wilderness. This means it can happen under sunny skies.

Because flash floods can happen without notice, react quickly by heading for higher ground immediately. Stay as high as you can and be patient while waters recede. Do not attempt to cross the water; it takes very little to knock you off your feet.

Future reopenings

Staff and the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association will work to reopen the Momyer Trailhead, with access to Dollar Lake Saddle via the Falls Creek Trail. Stay tuned for a reopening date.

Thurman Flats Picnic Area and general areas within Mill Creek off Highway 38 will remain closed as it is directly in the path of mudslides from the El Dorado Fire burn scar. The San Bernardino Peak and Foresee Creek trailheads will also remain closed at this time because they are within the El Dorado Fire burn scar.

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