IE Grapevine Updates

Aspen Trail provides unique site for So Cal residents


Photo Credit: Gregory Weisberg

High above in the inland empire lies one of the fastest growing mountain ranges in the world: the San Bernardino mountains.

Home to Big Bear Lake and the tallest mountain in the Southern California, San Gogornio; these mountains offer a plethora of adventures for those seeking to escape the oppressive heat of the Inland Empire.

Many of the hikes up in the San Bernardino Mountains can be turned into full-fledged backpacking trips with the purchase of a wilderness pass, free of charge at the ranger station. This hike is no exception.

Called the aspen trail, this hike will lead travelers to the only aspen grove in all of Southern California. This rare sight can be found in a matter of minutes or hours depending on where you start.

Photo Credit: Gregory Weisberg

Photo Credit: Gregory Weisberg

The trailhead itself leads to the aspen grove in less than 30 minutes. However, in order to get to the trailhead via car I recommend using a high-clearance vehicle, as the road is unpaved.

The quaking aspens grow in a riparian zone near the annual fish creek. During the rainy season one should expect to see this creek overflowing with water.

For many Southern Californians, the sight of the quaking aspens will be the first time they witness such remarkably beautiful trees. This short hike offers a plethora of shade, and I highly recommend exploring past the aspen grove.

The Aspen Trail meets up with Fish Creek Trail, which takes you uphill through mountain meadows and pine forests.

Photo Credit: Gregory Weisberger

Photo Credit: Gregory Weisberger

During the rainy season, one can expect a plethora of water sources to filter for the hike ahead.  Fish creek trail lasts for a winding 2.6 miles, ending at fish creek camp.

Up past this campsite you’ll pass a natural spring, where cool water bubbles out of cracks in the earth’s surface.

Continuing past this trail is fish creek saddle, where one can expect to find beautiful, natural lakes at well above 10,000 feet.

This beautiful area has so much to offer that a single day hike doesn’t even scratch the surface. From hiking along the head of the Santa Ana River to fishing at Jenks Lake, travelers could spend a lifetime exploring the backtrails of the San Bernardino Mountains.

And as you leave this natural wonder, stop by El Burrito in Redlands for one of the best burritos this wandering man has ever had the pleasure of tasting.

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