Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
9,184.00 ft (2,799.28 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
27.00 mi (43.45 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

9 Peaks Challenge is a challenging 27-mile loop route located in San Bernardino National Forest outside of Forest Falls, CA. This route climbs to the top of 9 local peaks, including Mount San Gorgonio, the tallest peak in Southern California. This loop features scenic mountain views, a few off route, very short, rock scrambles, and A LOT of elevation gain. The area is a newly designated national monument and is rich with history, wildlife, and biodiversity. This look is considered strenuous due to the length and elevation gain and is accessible for hiking, trail running, backpacking and wildlife viewing.

This area traverses through the Sand to Snow National Monument. This area was designed as a national monument in 2016 and it protects a diverse range of environments. This loop sits in the heart of the convergence of three distinct ecosystems, the coastal to the west, Mojave Desert to the east, and the Sonoran Desert to the south. The area is home to several large mountains rising from the desert to over 10,000 feet, and this loop summits nine of these peaks! 

Many people see the challenge as an activity to attempt in one day, but an overnight trip is another popular way to go, and would allow more time in the mountains to enjoy the experience. 

There are many primitive campsites along the loop and information about camping and backcountry permits can be found at:  https://sgwa.org/wilderness-permits/

PEAKS
Below is a list of the nine peaks listed in order according to a clockwise completion of the loop (although either direction would be feasible).

San Bernardino Peak (10,649 ft.)

San Bernardino Peak East (10,691)

Anderson Peak (10,840)

Shields Peak (10,680)

Alto Diablo (10,653)

Charlton Peak (10,806)

Little Charlton Peak (10,696)

Jepson Peak (11205)

San Gorgonio Mountain (11,499)

PARKING
There is ample parking at the Vivian Creek Trailhead as well as the Momyer Trailhead at the start. Momyer Trailhead parking area does not require a forest pass, however, Vivian Creek trailhead does. Vivian Creek Trailhead does have one area with a gravel lot that is free to park without a pass, but it does fill up fast on the weekends. 

CAMPING AND PERMITS
A permit is required for overnight camping AND day hiking in the San Gorgonio Wilderness as well as the Cucamonga Wilderness Permits. A separate permit is also required for parking in Vivian Creek Trailhead parking lot. Parking permits can be obtained on site. There are some parking lots close to the trailhead that do not require permits, but they are first come first serve and tend to fill up fast on the weekends. 

For more permit information visit: https://sgwa.org/wilderness-permits/

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Forest Pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Scenic Mountain Views. Flowing Water. Peak Bagging.

Cons

Steep and rugged.

Trailhead Elevation

6,268.00 ft (1,910.49 m)

Highest point

11,499.00 ft (3,504.90 m)

Features

Wildlife
Waterfalls
Historically significant
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Bird watching
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

Yes

Permit self-issue on site

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California
Forest Falls, San Bernardino National Forest

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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