Trailhead reached via a 7-mile dirt road. The road does not require an SUV, but it could be difficult to impossible for some cars with low clearances.
The Fish Creek trailhead is 1,100 feet higher than the South Fork trailhead and 1900 feet higher than the Vivian Creek trailhead. Combined with the Sky High Trail
, the mileage to the top of San Gorgonio is about the same as the other two approaches, but the total climb is only 3,550 feet, compared to 4,570 for the South Fork trail and 6095 feet for the Vivian Creek Trail
This route is lightly traveled and has three good campsites along the way (no campfires allowed). Unfortunately, much of the trail goes through areas burned in the big fires in 2020. The trail is clear, except for a few trees that can easily be climbed over. However, the fires destroyed much of the scenic beauty in the lower parts of the trail. Once the trail climbs above Deer Creek, there is little or no water available all the way to the top of San Gorgonio.
From the parking lot, the trail descends slightly for 0.5 miles until it intersects the trail coming up from Aspen Grove. At about 0.3 miles, the trail crosses a stream with the best water on the entire run. Near the upper end of Fish Creek Meadows, there is a signed trail leading to a campsite with water. The Fish Creek Trail follows the creek and then crosses it at 8,600 ft.
This crossing has some water, at least until early summer. From there, the trail switchbacks up the heavily burned ridge on the north side. At 9,200 ft., the switchbacks take us back near the creek, but water here is unreliable after the snowmelt.
At about 5 miles, the trail reaches Fish Creek Saddle (9805 feet). Here, there is dry, but otherwise good, campsite, which as a solid corral-like enclosure to protect from the wind. About 20-30 yards west of the corral, there is an unsigned trail, marked by two large cairns, which leads down to Lodgepole Spring and Dry Lake.
The Fish Creek Trail traverses the side of Lake Peak, with a very gradual climb up to MineShaft Saddle (9965 feet), where there is another level campsite. At the junction here, the Sky High Trail
continues the climb up to the summit of San Gorgonio Mtn., while the Dry Creek Trail descends down past Dry Lake to the South Fork Trail.
Because of the extreme drought, there has been little recovery from the 2020 fires.