Czas  2 dni 2 godzin 23 minut

Współrzędne 5184

Uploaded 25 października 2013

Recorded października 2013

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2 546 m
663 m
48,1 km

Obejrzane 3565 razy, pobrane 9 razy

w pobliżu Bonnie Bell, California (United States)

North bound on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Whitewater Preserve to the Mission Springs Campground in the San Bernardino National Forest.

This hike is approximately 21 miles from the Preserve to Mission Springs. It's uphill nearly the entire way, total elevation gain is over 7,000 feet, most of it over just 6.5 miles between Mission Creek and Mission Springs.

The first 7 miles take you thru the Whitewater River's bed. You'll cross the Whitewater at least once before meandering thru the foothills of the San Gorgonio range. There's very little shade, so when you arrive at your first crossing of Mission Creek you'll welcome the shade of the small bosque and the water trickling past.

From there you'll follow Mission Creek roughly North, crossing and/or paralleling the creek for 8-9 miles. If you're lucky, the creek will have water for most of the way. The reliable water in a desert environment creates the small pockets of bosque all along the creek - which in turn creates wildlife habitat. I was able to see two species of owl, Redtail Hawks, frogs, coyotes, and mule deer.

I highly recommend camping around mile 16. On the map the way point is WR235. There's a very small creek in a glade here with a flat, pine duff campsite right by the trail.

At mile 16 or so you'll start switchbacking out of the creek's bed and canyon. Some fires have cleared what little shade would normally come from the trees for the first half of your climb. The trail narrows to 12-16" at points along this climb.

Eventually your elevation gains result in the pine forest. Ponderosa, pinyon, and lodgepole pine, as well as oak and willow trees fill in the gaps between ribbonwood and other scrub. The trail will gain some pine duff texture, some shade, and, of course, views.

Mission Springs CG is comprised of two Yellow Post camp sites just past the vehicle barrier you'll see as the PCT pops across the Forest Road. I enjoyed ample water from a spring at this location. The YP sites offer metal fire rings with grates, picnic tables, and lots of either shade or sun to suit your needs. I believe fires are prohibited at YP sites, but the picnic table was a blessing. Note there are horse corrals nearby, so you may share this area with riders and/or packers.

Mission Springs CG is a good place to leave a car or have someone pick you up. The Forest Road is bumpy, but virtually any car could make the drive. It's only 8 miles from Hwy 38. You can also reach Fish Creek Trail to the West of the CG and use it to summit San Gorgonio peak.

My original plan was to continue on to where the PCT crosses Hwy 18 just East of Big Bear - about 26 miles further North. However, my poorly behaved dog caused herself a foot injury and I elected to hike out on the Forest Road instead of continuing on the PCT. The FS road was wide, sandy, and gently graded compared to the PCT's narrow, rocky, and sloping. All in an effort to help out the pooch.

Whitewater Spur Joins PCT



A decent campsite with a loose stone fire ring (fires are illegal here BTW). The Whitewater River is nearby and a large boulder provides afternoon shade.


Halfmile maps water report location 220 (see It was dry here because the river changes course frequently, but there was a roaring flow just a few meters N.

Whitewater River

4' wide and roaring. Kicking up lots of silt so I had to strain the water before treating it.

Spur to Mission Creek Stone House

Take this spur about 2 miles to the Mission Creek Stone House area

Possible Campsite

Flat area with sandy soil, few rocks, and a great view of the surrounding mountains and the Coachella Valley. It's exposed though with no shade.


Trail crosses Mission Springs. There were camp sites and a 12" wide creek with beautiful water and shade.

Mission Creek


Mission Creek


Mission Creek

A pic of one of the many bosque patches along Mission Creek. Good shade. Good water. Wildlife and trees to hang a hammock.

CS and Fire ring

Good flat spot off trail above the creek to camp. Sandy soil. Few rocks. A fire ring (fires are illegal) and some seating made from deadfall.

WR 234

Halfmile Water Report 234 was dry in the creek bed on 10/19/13


Camped here first night. Dry wash. Somebody had left fire scars and trash. C'mon people, LNT!



San Bern. Nat'l Forest

Enter San Bernardino National Forest

WR 235

Halfmile's WR NoBo mile 235. It had a 4" wide creek. Low flow. Had to dip with mug and transfer to bottles.

Camp site and fire ring



Comfy campsite at forested flats. Pine duff to sleep in and water nearby


Halfmile's WR NoBo mile 239. There was a small trickle at the trail but just upstream there was a 24" deep pool. The flow was slow, so the pool was still. Water was clear but had swimmers.


Small streamlet crossing trail

Salton Sea View

Was clear enough to see SE all the way to the Salton Sea

Mission Springs CG

Yellow post camp sites x 2 at Mission Springs. Have metal fire rings with grates and picnic tables. Road access for high clearance vehicles nearby.


Halfmile's WR NoBo mile 240. Water down past the horse corral and the YP sites. It's dripping off an overhang into a blue tub. Water was cool, clear and tasty. You can collect from the roots if you don't want to use the tub.

Jct FS Road and PCT

PCT crosses this FS road a couple of times. Hikers can follow PCT NoBo towards Big Bear or can use the FS road to hike NNE for about 8 miles past Hart Equestrian camp for very easy access to Hwy 38.

2 Opinie

  • Desert Jones 2013-11-07

    I have followed this trail  View more

    I appreciate the track and the waypoints. You seem to be referencing waypoints listed on somebody else's track (i.e. NoBo mile 235 and Halfmile WR240, etc). It'd be helpful to know what those references are.

    Otherwise, good trail. Very easy to follow, even when crossing the creeks. I noticed that you lost the trail in a couple of places since I was following your track and it left the trail in some the Mission Creek areas where water had washed out the obvious trail.

    In reality, somebody has tied bright orange trail marking ribbons to help guide you thru these areas.

  • Zdjęcie Problema

    Problema 2013-11-07

    @Desert Jones -
    Sorry things are unclear...

    NoBo Mile markers refer to the approximate mileage hiking the PCT North bound (NoBo) from the Mexican border. So NoBo mile 234 means 234 miles along the trail from the Southern terminus near Campo. Actual mileage along the trail in real life will vary because of closures, detours, side trail usage, etc. So the mile markers used are those of Halfmile. Halfmile is the trail name of a hiker who has composed comprehensive maps for the entire PCT and runs the PCT water report website. I don't know how to embed links here so just check out and respectively.

    The WR waypoints are known water sources along the trail with the associated mileage.

    As far as the track leading off trail at points, you're right. I did lose the trail a few times - especially in the Mission Creek bosque patches. I was hiking at night under a full moon (something I love doing). It made it hard to see the red ribbon blazes you mention.

    Other times, I just veered off to check out something interesting, take a picture, take a nap, rescue my stupid-but-loveable dog, etc. I'm not detail oriented enough to go back and edit my tracks to remove extraneous bits and I don't ever start, stop, or pause my GPS when I'm exploring... so my tracks are often a little messy in that regard. Apologies for confusion.

    Thanks for the comments! Glad you liked the hike. Did you continue on from the Mission Springs CG on the trail? Or did you hike out on the FS Road as I did?

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