Gentle uphill hike to an impressive viewpoint and historic lookout tower in the San Bernardino Mountains.


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Morton Peak is on the southern rim of the San Bernardino Mountains, and its wide-open summit grants a panorama so rewarding that the hike to reach it seems almost too easy.

It’s simply a walk along a gently inclined fire road, but the view seems worthy of far more effort to reach. From the top, you’ll enjoy a commanding vantage over the Inland Empire cities far below, as well as an excellent view up Mill Creek Canyon to the east.

This is a wide but steep valley that drains the slopes of San Gorgonio Mountain.

On a clear day, you can see more peaks all around—the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, San Gabriel Mountains to the west, and Mount San Jacinto in the south.

A fire lookout tower shares the summit of Morton Peak.

It is normally closed to the public but may be staffed during the summer and fall, and if you’re lucky, the volunteer might invite you up for a tour. The hike begins from a gate along Forest Road 1N12, off of Highway 38.

This road is passable for most cars but high clearance is preferable, and it may require 4WD in icy or wet conditions.

To avoid driving the dirt road, park at the base near the from the highway and hike from there.

This adds 1.5 miles each way to the hike but is still worthwhile. Sources: