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See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.


Bighorn Mountain

(UTM 168720)

Location: San Bernardino County, about 15 miles north-northeast of Banning, 103 miles from Los Angeles


Auto ClubLos Angeles and Vicinity, San Bernardino Mountain Area
Forest ServiceSan Bernardino National Forest, San Gorgonio Wilderness Map
USGS ToposSan Gorgonio Mountain 7½, Moonridge 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
 Viewable PDF file - Approximately 10 megs
 GPX file or Google Earth KML file to download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)
 Routes as shown on CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)

Nearby Peaks: Dragons Head, San Gorgonio Mountain,Dobbs Peak, Lake Peak, Grinnell Mountain, Ten Thousand Foot Ridge

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 18 miles round trip on trail and cross-country
Gain: 4200' total, 3600' out plus 600' on return
Time: 8-10 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, strenuous
Navigation: Easy


  • Take I-10 east past San Bernardino to the Orange Street exit (SR 38).
  • Go one block east, then go north (left) 0.5 mile to Lugonia Avenue. Turn right on SR 38 (east).
  • Continue east on SR 38 about 33 miles to 1N02, the road to Heart Bar Campground, on the right. Turn right. Note your odometer and go as follows:
  • At 1.2 miles, fork. Go right on 1N05. High clearance may be needed from this point.
  • At 2.8 miles, Aspen Grove Trail 2E05 goes west. Alternate parking area. Continue on 1N05.
  • At 6.9 miles, fork. Go right.
  • At 7.2 miles, fork. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses the road here. Go right.
  • At 7.6 miles, fork. Go right.
  • At 7.7 miles, Fish Creek Trailhead (1W07). Park here.


  • From the parking area (8040'), hike trail 1W07 southwest about 1/2 mile to a junction with the Aspen Grove Trail.
  • Keep left on 1W07 and continue, passing Fish Creek Camp, 4 miles to Fish Creek Saddle at 9805'.
  • Follow the trail for a mile plus to Mine Shaft Saddle (9960'), where it joins the trail from Dry Lake (1E05). Turn left and follow the Sky High Trail (1E07). A sign indicates "San Gorgonio 3 1/2 miles".
  • The trail switchbacks up the eastern and southern flanks of San Gorgonio Mountain.
  • Past the top of the switchbacks, the trail heads west and the long hogback of Bighorn becomes clearly visible nearby on the your left (south).
  • Shortly the Tarn, a wide flat area almost free of vegetation, will also become visible as a depression between you and the peak. Descend south from the trail into the Tarn at a point near the western end of Bighorn's hogback. This is most easily done at around 11,100' where a gully (UTM 166727) has been swept relatively clear of brush.
  • Cross the center of the Tarn toward a minor saddle on the west end of the mountain.
  • Ascend a steep trail southeast to the top of the ridge and continue about 1/4 mile to the summit.

Printable version of this route


From Dragons Head
(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 1 mile one way cross-country
Gain: 400'
Time: 1 hour one way
Rating: Class 1, strenuous with Dragons Head

Original: Joe Young, January 2000



  • From the summit of Dragons Head, hike down the north-northeast ridge to the saddle.
  • Hike east about half way across the Tarn and proceed to the summit of Bighorn as in Route 1.


Significant dirt road driving can be saved by hiking from the Aspen Grove Trailhead on 2E05. This saves about 10 miles of dirt road driving, while adding 3 miles and 400' gain to the round trip. It can also be hiked from several other trailheads near the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

From the summit of San Gorgonio Mountain, hike down the Sky High Trail, then south to the Tarn and proceed as in Route 1.

One may leave the Vivian Creek Trail just north of elevation 10,131' and contour northeasterly, crossing the main wash, then proceeding easterly up another wash to the saddle at 10,640'. This reduces the gain to 5000' including 100' on return and the distance to 14 miles round trip.


Wilderness permits are required for all routes. They are issued at Mill Creek Ranger Station, 9 miles east of Redlands on SR 38. Day use permits are self-issue on the day of the hike or by mail. Overnight permits must be acquired in person or by mail.

Mill Creek Ranger Station
Route 1, Box 264
Mentone, CA 92359
(909) 794-1123


The peak was added to the HPS list in December, 2000. Bighorn Mountain is not named on the USGS or USFS maps, but is named on a map prepared by Defenders of the San Gorgonio Wilderness © 1971 to accompany "Guide to the San Gorgonio Wilderness". This map lists the elevation at 11,005'.

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