Day Hike Permits Reinstated

For Immediate Release: Zach Behrens, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service

Permit requirements to be reinstated for three wilderness areas

Day-use permits will again be required for the San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and Cucamonga wilderness areas

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif – As hiking some of Southern California’s tallest peaks and rugged, beautiful wilderness areas become increasingly more popular and crowded, Forest Service officials are reinstating a day-use permit system for entering three wilderness areas on the San Bernardino National Forest starting September 1. Permits for overnight stays remain in effect.

The move back to permits will help realign management of the areas with mandates of the Wilderness Act of 1964. 

“A key characteristic of wilderness is experiencing solitude,” said Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor. “We have lost that on many of our wilderness trails and sorely need a place for it in busy metropolitan Southern California.”

Reinstating permits will also help relieve overcrowding at trailhead parking lots, some which are at capacity by the early morning hours. Furthermore, the frequency of damage to vegetation by the widening and degradation of trails as hikers pass each other will be reduced.

Hikers will need a free day-use permit for entering San Gorgonio Wilderness*, San Jacinto and Cucamonga wilderness areas within the San Bernardino National Forest. The requirement is not in effect for wilderness areas that cross into another unit or agency’s jurisdiction.

Up to 144 day hikers will be allowed at each trailhead in the San Gorgonio and Cucamonga wilderness areas each day, and there will be a limit of 30 permits available for entry into the San Jacinto Wilderness from the Devils Slide Trailhead on Saturday and Sundays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Permits for summer weekdays/off season days at that trailhead and for other trailheads in the San Jacinto Wilderness will be required, but there is no quota (Visitors with a permit for the San Jacinto State Wilderness area will be able to use that permit for entry). 

Group sizes for all wilderness areas will be capped at 12 people.

Visitors can obtain free permits up to 90 days in advance and walk-up permits may also be available for visitors attempting a last-minute plan when there is ranger availability. The permits are available through local ranger stations by phone or email. Permits for the San Gorgonio Wilderness association are also available online through the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association, a Forest Service partner. Contact details are below:

  • Cucamonga Wilderness: Contact the Lytle Creek Ranger Station at (909) 382-2851
  • San Gorgonio Wilderness: Contact the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association/Mill Creek Ranger Station at (909) 382-2882 or reserve by email through
  • San Jacinto Wilderness: Contact the San Jacinto Ranger Station at (909) 382-2921. 

(Due to virtual services, visitors should leave a message if the call goes to voicemail)

Apple Fire Closure


Due to the ongoing Apple fire the San Gorgonio Wilderness, Pacific Crest trail from hwy 10 to Onyx Summit, falls picnic area, feeder trails to the wilderness and wilderness trailhead parking lots are closed. This closure is in effect until further notice. For further information see the San Bernardino National Forest Web site.

Currently issued Permits have been suspended and we are not issuing new permits until the closure is lifted.

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 Aug 2 afternoon update


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.

Current Situation:

The Apple Fire has burned over 20,000 acres and has no containment. Much of the northern and eastern edge of the fire is in very steep, rugged hillsides which is not accessible to firefighting vehicles. Firefighters will continue to work to slow the spread of the fire using all resources available including helicopters, fixed wing air tankers, ground equipment and hand-crews. Fire activity is expected to remain high today, with areas of active flame and smoke visible across the area.

For the full report, please use this link

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

Trail Crews are Back!

Movin’ a log. Photo credit John Flippin

Trail crews are back in the wilderness! We’ve had a long break due to the Covid-19 issues, but after developing a set of safety procedures our teams are back in business. As we are limited to 6-person crews, it will be a little harder on the personnel – but if you are out on the trail during the week, you might see us hard at work. We’re so happy to be back! See more of the Johns Meadow Trail clearing on volunteer John Flippin’s website, High Lake Photography.

June Newsletter

It’s been awfully quiet but perhaps things are starting to break loose. Read about what we CAN do this year, plus all about our featured volunteer Roxanne Smith. Click here to see the newsletter.

Campgrounds Opening

San Bernardino National Forest recreation update

The San Bernardino National Forest has made the decision to open the following developed recreation sites beginning May 22, 2020:

• Barton Flats Campground
• Big Pine Flat Family Campground
• Crab Flats Family Campground
• Dogwood Family Campground
• Green Valley Family Campground
• Hanna Flat Family Campground
• Heart Bar Family Campground
• Holcomb Valley Campground
• Jenks Lake Day Use Area
• North Shore Campground
• Pineknot Family Campground
• San Gorgonio Family Campground
• Serrano Campground
• South Fork Family Campground
• Wildhorse Equestrian Campground

(Notes: 1. Reservations can be made through except for Big Pine Family, Holcomb Big and South Fork, which are first-come, first-serve only. 2. Double sites at campgrounds are limited to 10 people maximum during this time. 3. Shower facilities, which are located at Barton Flats, Dogwood, San Gorgonio, Serrano and Wildhorse campgrounds, are not available at this time.)

Whenever possible, please recreate locally. Visitors should practice self-sufficiency when visiting national forests and come prepared with all the essentials needed for a day trip, including food, emergency supplies, and the ability to pack-out trash. Remember to recreate responsibly by keeping the following in mind:

• Maintaining at least six feet distancing from others
• Do not gather in groups and please follow the latest guidance from officials
• Communicate with others as you pass. Alert trail users of your presence and step aside to let others pass
• Pack out your trash and leave with everything you bring in and use.

Some services may not be available, so please plan accordingly.

For more information, please visit the San Bernardino National Forest website at Facebook and Twitter

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!