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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.


El Dorado fire erupts in Oak Glen

Saturday, Sept 5 2020

This morning a fire erupted in Oak Glen and has grown at a dangerously fast rate of spread. Part of the fire is climbing up toward the Yucaipa Ridge and has grown to a size of about 800 acres in a matter of hours.

The Forest Service has evacuated Thurman Flats picnic area, as well as the communities of Mountain Home Village and part of Forest Falls.

This afternoon, the Forest Service issued instructions closing part of the San Gorgonio wilderness until further notice. Currently closed are the Vivian Creek, Momyer and San Bernardino peak trails. All permits have been cancelled and volunteers are calling all permit holders to spread the word. Other areas may be closed without warning. Probably a good idea not to intentionally put yourself in the path possible danger right now.

The CHP has closed highway 38 at Bryant on the south and at Lake Williams on the north. They are only allowing residents through with identification, so visitors cannot get into the any of the wilderness area, but people already there can get out.

If you do not need to be in this area, please stay away and reduce the traffic congestion so emergency vehicles have a chance to get through.

For more details about the fire, go to the Inciweb incident page at

Cal Fire has setup a phone number for public information at 909-383-5688.

More information will be added here when it is available.

Increased Fire Restrictions

The Forest Service has issued a new order increasing the fire restrictions in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Fires are not allowed in the forest except in Forest Service Provided fire rings in designated camp grounds – Yellow Post fire rings are no longer allowed to be used.

Barbecues provided at Forest Service Picnic areas continue to be allowed but you cannot bring your own charcoal barbecue

Other restrictions also apply.

More details can be viewed on the San Bernardino National Forest Website

(Now if only we can get the Apple Fire to comply…..)

Apple Fire threatens San Gorgonio Wilderness

>>>ATTENTION<<<<<< Effective August 1, the Forest Service has closed areas of the forest until further notice. Hiking and camping in the San Gorgonio Wilderness as well as the Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 10 to Baldwin Lake is off limits due to the threat posed by the Apple Fire. We will update this post again when conditions change. Please stay out of the area until the fire threat has been resolved.

July 31 around 4:30 PM a fire erupted in Cherry Valley, south of the San Gorgonio Wilderness and overnight it grew to over 1900 acres with 0% containment. The Forest Service has asked SGWA to put out a warning to visitors to be aware that the southern border of the wilderness is under threat and it would be wise not to put yourself in danger by hiking or camping in the wilderness at this time.

Updates on the status of the fire can be obtained either on the CalFire Riverside incident page or on the San Bernardino National Forest Twitter page

Virtual Ranger Talks

Now available in the Events menu are Virtual Ranger talks. Videos of a few of the talks we would be doing at the Greyback Amphitheater if this year had been different. We hope to be adding more soon, but in the meantime enjoy these offerings and watch for new videos in the future. Virtual Ranger Talk Page

Volunteer Training Postponed

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SGWA is postponing Volunteer Training, originally scheduled for May 16 2020.  We hope to have training in some fashion later this summer, depending on how events unfold.  If you submitted an application to be a volunteer, we still have your information and we’ll be in touch. Returning volunteers, watch your email for your volunteer agreements. Stay healthy and we’ll see you on the trail eventually!

August Newsletter

The August newsletter is now available. Read about our trail work, a plea for photos, and a profile of volunteer David Bratt.

2019 Summer Season begins

Barton Flats
Due to damage from the Feb 14 flash floods, the Barton Flats Visitor Center remains closed until further notice.

Mill Creek Visitor Center
Mill Creek Summer hours begin on Saturday May 25, 2019

Throughout the Summer season, Mill Creek Visitor Center hours will be:

Thursdays and Fridays – 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Saturdays and Sundays – 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Mill Creek Visitor Center is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Camps and trails are getting crowded and filling up. Be sure to plan your trip well in advance, especially if you plan to go on the weekends. If you need help, please call the Mill Creek Visitor Center at 909-382-2882.

Valley Fire Closure Modified – Some trails reopened

Update: August 14,2018. Forest Service has revised the Valley Fire Closure to reopen some trails effective Wednesday Aug 15, 2018

Officials with San Bernardino National Forest today issued a new forest order modifying the Valley Fire Closure Area. The announcement on the Forest Service website, effective Wednesday, August 15, 2018, reopens a portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness, but keeps trails closer to the burn area closed.

The closed area includes the following trails: San Bernardino Peak, Forsee Creek, Momyer trace trail to San Bernardino Peak, as well as the ridgeline from San Bernardino Peak to Dollar Lake Saddle. Refer to the revised closure map.

As of Aug 14th, the fire containment is at 82%, but continues to smolder. We recommend that you be aware of conditions around the mountains at anytime regardless of the Valley Fire. If conditions become threatening, please take your safety into first consideration: the mountain will be there later – keep yourself safe so you can enjoy it.

As before, residents and visitors to the area may continue to see smoke for the coming weeks. Hikers with questions about the closure can call the Mill Creek Visitor Center at 909-382-2882, Thursdays through Mondays. To keep updated on the Valley Fire, check Inciweb, the forest service Twitter account and the Valley Fire Updates Facebook group.

Mill Creek Visitor Center will resume processing permit requests for the reopened areas when we reopen on Thursday the 16th. The Permit request forms are in the process of being reactivated and will be available shortly.