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You can go cross-country in the SGW – its not encouraged, but folks do it. The most popular XC route I know of (and have done numerous times) is up the northern face of San G from the Dry Lake Trail. Its mostly scree, but you’ll avoid the ‘slog’ a-r-o-u-n-d the peak on the Sky High Trail to the summit.
As for non-designated campsite camping, you’d have to get an ‘explorers’ permit from the ranger station. They usually don’t issue those for popular areas with designated campsites, but will probably give you one if you’re planning to camp on the outskirts or in a more remote area of the SGW.
Look at the list of campsite spots elsewhere on this website. The only summit I know where camping is allowed is San Gorgonio Peak, not at San Bernardino Peak. Its pretty strictly enforced, too. Try camping at Limber Pine as someone else mentioned, its not far from the peak.07/04/2017 at 5:50 pm in reply to: Need advice: What time to start to camp at Summit? #1662
Take the advice above and start early in the morning and don’t rush up. It allows you to get up high before the heat starts cooking Forest Falls (90F isn’t uncommon), and you’ll be able to find a parking spot closer to the trailhead than somewhere in Mentone. Take it slow so you can enjoy the scenery, take extended breaks at all the water sources (‘ultra-hydrate’), and if you do get to the summit in the afternoon you can enjoy the view and relax/nap.
Also, it depends on your conditioning. From parking lot to the summit I’ve day hiked it in as little as three hours, but if overnighting at the summit I’ve taken as long as a leisurely 8 hours.