On Sunday, November 4 2018, a few friends and I hiked up to Mission Springs Trail Camp near PCT mile 239.3. This was my first time here. I tried finding blogs or information on how to get to this primitive campground. My good friend Raquel was recently here as she had planned a hike from Big Bear to Mission Creek in the desert so she agreed to lead the hike. I decided to do a write up on it so others might enjoy the area as well. We saw a few hunters as it is hunting season. Lucky for me they did not have any luck so we were not subjected to seeing a slaughtered buck. I did however hear one gunshot that day.
We met at the turnoff to Heart Bar Campground off of Highway 38 at mile marker 33. We drove on a mostly dirt road to 1N02 and found a nice parking area. This parking area is also the starting point for the Santa Ana River Trail which is a popular biking trail which takes you to through the forest past Angelus Oaks and drops you off in San Bernardino.
We started hiking up 1N02 due to the fact that 1N02 has been closed to cars because of the Lake Fire from 2015. We reached the Aspen Grove Trailhead in about 1/2 mile and walked mostly uphill with only a slight grade. The forest is very much still trying to recover from the Lake Fire and I saw no new trees growing yet.
We reached Fish Creek Trail after a few miles and made a left toward Mission Springs Trail Camp which is very close to the PCT. There we took a nice lunch break and visited the Mission Springs.
The spring is located behind the horse corrals on a nicely groomed trail. Just in case, we gathered some water for the second half of our hike. The water was amazingly clean and really cold. Should I have needed the water I would have had to filter it. I do not want to experience the symptoms of Giardia.
Once we were ready to continue we decided to walk back to the PCT and take it part of the way back to the cars. Brian was our map person and kept us from getting lost.
We crossed 1N05 and could have taken that dirt road but we opted to stay on the PCT and take the unmaintained portion of the Santa Ana River Trail (2E03) and then we took 1N05 which dropped us off at the parking lot.
Total miles hiked was 9.3 with an elevation gain of 1,459. We hiked at a nice pace and ended up with a respectable 5 hour hike including breaks and lunch. It was a truly beautiful day with beautiful views.