Johns Meadow Trail to Gerhardt – Conditions

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    • #1519
      chris in redlands
      Participant

      From the Forsee Creek trailhead to the summit of Gerhardt Peak above Columbine Springs is about 6 miles of mostly easy hiking. The entire trail from the trailhead to “wheelbarrow junction” (where the Johns Meadow trail crosses the San Bernardino Peak trail) is open and easy to follow, without a single tree across the trail. The unmaintained section of trail from beyond Forsee Creek to the junction with the San Bernardino Peak trail, which used to be faint in places and sometimes hard to follow, is now a clear trail that you’d have to have your eyes closed to lose going up or down. Up high where there used to be a lot of places to get off-trail the trail is now gargoyled in every spot where you might have wandered up a drainage or off onto a sucker trail. Like other once-infrequented trails in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, this trail has seen a marked increase in use since the Lake Fire closure reduced the accessible wilderness trail miles to fewer than 30 miles of maintained trail, rendering it much easier to follow.

      Go check it out!

      Crossing Forsee Creek:

      Crossing Forsee Creek

      Along the Johns Meadow trail:

       

    • #1527
      shawnsisler
      Participant

      Nice to hear a good trail status!

      SGWA has been maintaining what used to be a trace trail between Johns Meadow and San Bernardino Peak trail at the “wheelbarrow junction”.┬á The SGWA trail crew worked on that section of the trail last year by removing some down trees and re-routing the trail in some areas to try to make it more distinguishable. It is good to hear that the trail is still in good condition after the winter season.

      Also the Forsee trail to John Meadow was worked on Saturday 05/13/17 by SGWA trail crew that removed some brush along the trail and cleared several down trees off the trail.

      Thank you for your report.

      • #1531
        chris in redlands
        Participant

        They did a great job!

        The only thing that saddens me is I’m unlikely now to read the regular reports from people who lost the trail near the top on their way up and suffered through the steep talus and sand below the ridge before eventually finding the SBD Peak trail. Haha! Almost as fun as the people you meet near mill creek jumpoff who think they’re still on the Vivian Creek trail. ­čÖé The San Bernardinos are just the best.

    • #1529
      Hikin Jim
      Participant

      Hey, Chris,

      Which peak is “Gerhardt Peak?” ┬áCan’t say I’ve heard of that one.

      And what the heck does it mean to “Gargoyle” a trail? ┬áDo you mean to mark with ducks, i.e. stacks of rocks? ┬áTraditionally ducks are made from three rocks, although now a days it seems people just make more of a cairn, i.e. a stack of quite a few rocks.

      HJ

      • #1530
        chris in redlands
        Participant

        Gargoyles are objects (usually deadfall, sometimes rocks) that are piled at spots along the trail where people tend to continue straight where they should have turned. As more and more people make the same mistake, a “sucker trail” starts to form. Nine times out of ten, this is at a switchback. If you’re daydreaming on the trail, your chances of getting suckered increase a lot. Ha!

        I’ve been actively stacking gargoyles below the first 50 feet or so of the old unmaintained Momyer creek trail beyond the junction for alger camp for years with little success…people really like to cut that switchback, and it’s eroding the hillside badly now that there’s a lot more traffic on that old trail with all the closures.

        I’ll see if I can find a good picture of a gargoyle. ­čÖé

        Gerhardt peak is one of those USFS named places that I’d really like to know how it earned a place on the map. Ha! It’s just a low bump (about 8,400′?) above Columbine Springs. From the┬átrail junction above Columbine, continue up toward limber pine bench a couple hundred yards to a small saddle between two low peaks. You’ll know you’re there when a new vista opens up to you to the west. The summit of Gerhardt is a short scramble to your right. About twenty feet before the saddle, there’s a little use trail through the scrub. Definitely a nice value-add destination if your destination is the wheelbarrow and you find the usual collection of people there and would prefer some solitude. There’s even a summit register! Ha!

        Here’s someone else’s trip report with a nice little map. Going their way is quicker than getting there via johns meadow, but less pretty.

        Chris

        • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by chris in redlands. Reason: added link to TR
    • #1541
      Hikin Jim
      Participant

      Well, I’m not sure that “Gargoyle” is a commonly used word for that sort of thing, but at least I’ll know what you mean by it. ┬á­čÖé

      I had an idea the peak you identified was the one you meant. ┬áThere’s not much else out there in that area.

      HJ

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Hikin Jim.
    • #1549
      chris in redlands
      Participant

      I’ve tried a couple of times to link to websites that include a description of trail gargoyles but trying to insert a link in my post seems to delete the entire post every time.

      It’s a trail-building term that describes an object used to discourage people from stepping somewhere. Its most common (and I believe original) use is to describe the rocks piled along the sides of a stone staircase on the trail to keep people from walking on one side or the other of the steps.

      A google search for “trail maintenance gargoyle” returns a number of useful links.

      Chris

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