Dry Lake Trail

San Gorgonio Wilderness, California

Elevation Gain1,917ft
Trailhead Elevation8,194ft
Elevation Min/Max8193/9954ft
Elevation Start/End8194/8194ft

Dry Lake Trail

Dry Lake Trail is a hiking trail in San Bernardino County, California. It is within San Gorgonio Wilderness. It is 3.3 miles long and begins at 8,194 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,917 feet. The trail ends near the Mine Shaft Saddle. This trail connects with the following: South Fork Trail, Sky High Trail and Fish Creek Trail.

Dry Lake Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California (The Mountaineers Books)
Allen Riedel
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"This route is the turnpike of the San Gorgonio Wilderness and with good reason. The sheer beauty and magnificence of this region can be reached relatively easily from this mostly shaded and well-graded pathway. In fact, this is the most undemanding way to reach the high country wilderness. You will know that this area is abundantly traveled when you see the size of the parking lot and the number of cars parked here even on weekday afternoons. The access is simple, no four-wheel drive necessary, and the rewards are ample almost immediately after clearing the asphalt. You enter riparian woodlands of oak and pine nestled beside creek beds. In spring and early summer, the creeks are flowing, and nearly spilling over during heavy rain years; later on in the year, however, bet on dry arbors. After the heavy rainfall of 2004 and 2005, the water level was still at a commanding roar into late July and wild flowers were everywhere."
100 Hikes in Southern California: San Bernardino Mountain Trails (Wilderness Press)
John W. Robinson with David Money Harris
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"**NOTE** - This area was impacted by the 2015 Lake Fire. As of 2016, the trail remains closed. Check with the Mill Creek Ranger Station at 909-382-2882 to determine if the trail has reopened. An excellent, easy-graded trail climbs from South Fork Meadows into Dry Lake basin, where two trail camps have been placed by the Forest Service—one just above the north shore of the lake, the other 0.25 mile beyond at Lodgepole Spring. For those who desire a small taste of the Sierra Nevada close to home, this is an ideal trip. Bring warm clothing and a good sleeping bag if you are going to stay overnight: nights can be nippy at 9,000 feet."

Dry Lake Trail Trip Reports

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I agree with Richard, very beautiful! Be sure to stop off at Mill reek Ranger Station and pick up a hikers permit (they are free), because you WILL run into Rangers along the the trails and some are gung ho about their job. Only made the day hike to the lake, which is dry by the way (and has been for a couple years, im told), but next time i will backpack it and camp out. beautiful scenery so bring a camera! Be safe and ENJOY!!!
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This is another Great trail in our local wilderness! This trail is a very enjoyable hike not to strenuous. Next time we are going to do the lillipop loop to the top of san g and come down dollar lake trail back to southfork!!! 23 miles, that might be strenuous!!!
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This is a beautiful trail! I agree that the view from Poopout Hill is not to be missed, but I didn't understand that it's a view UP to the mountains, not DOWN to the valley. You get a great view of San Gorgonio and the peaks to the SW.
The trail up to Dry Lake junction (South Fork Meadows) is mostly forest duff and dirt, so not so difficult. South Fork Meadows is a beautiful place to stop and filter water from the multiple stream channels.
Above South Fork Meadows, you do 5 switchbacks up the mountain, which are a good workout, so take frequent breaks. Then you head the rest of the way up the canyon to Dry Lake, a very welcome sight once you get there.
Dry Lake itself was 2/3 full when we went there (June '07), but you still wouldn't want to get water from the lake -- too much algae. Instead, find Lodgepole Spring and pump water there.
There are lots of tent sites at Dry Lake Camp, though you may have to hunt up the ravine a bit to find the more secluded ones. You can see the summit of San G from the lake. If you choose to dayhike San G from here, start early! It's a hot 13 mile round trip up and back to the Lake. But overall, Dry Lake is a beautiful destination.

Dry Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

San Gorgonio Wilderness
Nearby City
San Gorgonio Wilderness
San Bernardino National Forest, Mill Creek Ranger Station
Local Contacts
Moonridge, San Gorgonio Mtn. (both 7.5-minute), San Gorgonio Wilderness (Tom Harrison)
Local Maps

Trail Log