Wildhorse Trail 2E02

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    • #4887

      Wildhorse Trail 2E02


      The trail goes north of Hwy38 which is the sun side of the Sugarloaf Mountain. It can be very hot and buggy in the summer time but in the winter there is no bugs and not as much snow as the north facing trails. The trail is a little over 3.5 miles to Wildhorse Camp. From there you can try to do the trail to Wildhorse Meadow or Sugarloaf Mt Peak or return the way you came. I recently did the old Wildhorse Creek Trail that follows the creek but hardly any of the trail still exists and most of the trail is in the creek bed and bush. Also there are a couple of small dry water falls about 5ft high that you must go up because there is no way around. If you want to try this creek route make sure to go up it first to know if it is doable then you can return by using the maintained Wildhorse Trail which will put you about 1.5 miles from Wildhorse Creek or return back down the Wildhouse Creek.



      The trailhead begins off Hwy 38 just before the Heart Bar Campground turn off. Parking is in a dirt opening just on the north side of Hwy38. I believe you can find some turn outs on Hwy38 near the trailhead if the dirt/mud/snow parking lot is not tolerable. Note that the alternate Wildhourse Creek Trail has several turn outs on Hwy38 near where Wildhorse Creek passes under Hwy38.


      I will try to provide some pictures of the routes and scenery to this post.


    • #4888

      Thanks Shawn!

    • #4889

      Forgot to ask (and can’t edit my post), overnight, dispersed camping is prohibited in that area, correct?

    • #4890

      The trail and camp are currently open.

      According to SBNF Headquarters 909-382-2682, it was closed for fire danger but that has pasted. No permits required for hiking or camping this trail. Remember to be safe and it is always helpful to call SBNF to get the latest updates.

    • #4899

      Hey Shawn,

      I really need to buy you a cup of coffee, beer etc.  This is the second time you’ve suggested a hike I’d never done that ended up being a winner… although the Sugarloaf trail up from Wildhorse Creek was brutal… 🙂  Here is a quick trip report.  I’d post a separate one with pics etc, but I don’t think anyone is manning the forum at the moment to approve them.


      Packed up Mika the husky and hit the road Saturday morning.  Got to the trailhead and started the hike at 10:30am.

      If coming from Angelus Oaks, the trailhead is on the left shortly before the turn-off for Heart Bar.  There is a sign indicating the trailhead is coming up.  Dirt parking lot right off the 38.  I parked a little ways up the dirt road to keep my car a little bit more hidden from all the cars that pass by.

      South facing slopes had no/ almost no snow.  North facing slopes were mostly fully covered.  I brought trail crampons but did not use them.  Luckily, there was one set of boot prints to follow for the areas where there was no obvious trail (thanks whoever you are).  Trail was easy to follow because of that.

      There are some moderately sketchy traverses but if you use the boot prints it’s fairly safe.  Snowshoes would have been nice on the section heading toward Sugarloaf Mountain*.

      Trail starts up a small dirt road to the right of the trail board.  You go through a gap in the fence.

      First part of the trail to Wildhorse Camp was a nice slow climb.  You do lose about 300ft of elevation going down into Wildhorse Camp which means you’re climbing back up out of the canyon.  There is a small creek at the camp that is running for you to filter water.   You could feasibly get water out of the creek on your way out of the canyon, but it was easier just to get it there.  I had 6 liters at that point.  It’s a long slog up that follows the creek.  Snow was soft-ish (depending on the time of day) which meant minor post-holing in the deeper parts.  It was rough… I need more cardio endurance.

      Once you come up out of that part, you reach the junction of with 2n93 (I believe) and the Sugarloaf Trail.  You’ll want to take the Sugarloaf Trail.  This was brutal (for me).  It’s basically straight up the side of the hill (no switchbacks).  With the extra weight of the water, I was huffing and puffing… but such is life.

      Once you come out of that part, you reach the junction with a trail coming from Big Bear.  You take a left and head toward Sugarloaf Mountain.  *We didn’t make it to the summit.  I was already tired and there was enough snow to make the minor post-holing (6-10” or so) a pain- snowshoes would have been nice.  I started looking for a flat spot off the trail and we set up camp.  Spent the night and headed back down the way we came.

      Weather was fantastic.  Got to about 30 degrees or so overnight.  Otherwise, warmed up nicely.   Gaia says 11.66 miles with 2700ft of elevation.

    • #4905

      Thanks Mike,

      Great report and thanks for giving your insight. I am glad you enjoyed the trail and was able to attempt Sugarloaf Mountain.

      It must have been nice spending the night since it seems  you had the place to yourself.

      There sure are some beautiful views of the Santa Ana River Valley and San Gorgonio Wilderness from up there. I hope you will be able to post some pictures here when there are cleared by the web master.

    • #4907

      I have lots of pictures on Reddit if you ever make it over there. r/socalhiking

      I’d post links to my flickr images but that might delay this post.

      I didn’t see another person, which was nice.  We broke the trail up from the Sugarloaf Trail junction.  Saw some ski (pulk?) tracks at the upper junction heading toward Sugarloaf Mtn.

      Have to share this story with you.  You might get a kick out of it:

      About 6:30pm or so we (dog and I) were in the tent just hanging out.  I heard a “beep… beep… beep… beep”.  Sounded very electronic.  Happened again a few times but kept getting farther away.  Odd, but seemed harmless.  Figured it was aliens. 🙂

      Then, about 1:00am, I was sound asleep and got woken up by a screeching/ barking sound.   Sounded very close to the tent. Really unsettling sound.  Never heard anything like it before.  Dog was very alert trying to smell/ hear etc.  Same with the beep, heard it again a few more times, each getting farther away.  Pretty creepy sound.

      When I got home, I started searching online for those types of noises.

      Fairly certain the “beep” was an owl and, almost positive, the screeching bark was a Fox.

      If you already didn’t know what I heard, look up on youtube for a Northern Saw-Whet Owl Call sound for what I think we heard.  And look up Barking Fox.

      Thanks again for the recommendations and information.

    • #4908
      chris in redlands

      Check out the Cornell Labs website at allaboutbirds (dot) org. I don’t think i can link to it here, but if you go there and search for “Great Horned Owl” and “Barn Owl” then click on the “Sounds” link, they have a number of recordings of the different sounds/calls that these owls makes, some of which are almost a bark, some a “beep” (or click), and some a pretty terrifying scream. haha. was that maybe what you heard? could explain all the sounds. I believe there are lots of great horned owls in the san bernardinos.

      The first time I was awoken by one of these owls screaming at like 2am while sleeping alone on the mountain, i was glad i’d brought a change of shorts. Ha! Wish i’d known what it was at the time. Sure was something to wake up to.

    • #4909

      I want to echo other comments– Thanks so much Shawn for the recommendations! I did your middle fork to icehouse saddle suggestion two weeks ago and had a fantastic time.

      I’m hoping to try the north face of sugarloaf this weekend; is there any camping open on the north side of the mountain? Was hoping to break up my 3 hour drive from san diego.

      • #4912

        Hey Sean,

        Was the road to the Middle Fork Trailhead still in marginal shape?  I really want to head up there again (and my Crosstrek should be able to make it past the one bad spot about a mile in).

        And how was the trail to the Saddle?

      • #4914

        The road had some deep ruts and I was bottoming out in a stock wrangler in a few spots. That said, there were two subarus that made it to the trailhead just fine. It might be fine with some careful driving.

        I haven’t been up the trail since the last major snow, but last time it was all postholing the last 1000 ft.

    • #4910


      I think you mean South side of Sugarloaf which faces SGW that is the side that Wildhorse Trail starts. If you did mean North side then that side faces Big Bear which there is trail 2E18 from Green Spot Group Camp.

      Otherwise look at the trail report by MikeH just a few post ago, he goes into great details of the trail. You can camp at Wildhorse Camp or any good place 100ft from trail or water since this isn’t SGW. Also MikeH posted some pictures on Reddit which I love the Husky pic. It makes me wish I had one since all the kids have grown up and moved out.

    • #4913

      Glad you found the pics, Shawn!   Hopefully we’ll see you on the trail some time and you can meet one of the huskies in person.  I took Mika on the Wildhorse trip.

      If you know George (don’t remember his last name), who I believe is an SGWA Volunteer also, he met our other husky, Max, one time on our way to Dry Lake.  I think he wanted to take him home with him. ha ha.

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