Vivian Creek, San Bernardino Mountains

Christie Turnbow
On 2 min read

I am finally settled in my new place and eager to see what LA has to give me! We went to Vivian Creek this weekend, a 3BII canyon located 1 hour from our Big Bear cabin. It is easy to reach from all areas of Los Angeles and the canyon is stunning. Fun end-of-summer rappelling is possible in the water!

Approach from the parking lot. Walk past the picnic tables until the trail sign (Mill Creek wash) is visible. Continue following the wash for about half a mile to reach a sign indicating the start of Vivian Creek Trail. The ascent to the top is steep, reaching 7,000 feet in elevation within the next mile. It will take a few minutes to reach the sign for San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.

1st Rap: ~140-180 ft.

Depending on the site, the first rap will take between 140-180 feet. This rap required two ropes. There are many anchor options. We chose to use the one closest to us. This tree is located on your left if you look down the drop. The shorter drop is about 15 feet away. Some people chose to plunge into the water. There is also a dry version just to the right.

The 1st rap was completed in 2.5 hours.

2nd Rap: ~70 ft.

The second rap is 70 feet long and requires a scramble. If you hook to your right, it can also be downclimbable. It was our choice to descend using the tree anchor to your right.

3rd Rap: ~80 ft.

You’ll soon reach the third rap, which is approximately 80 feet. This time you will use a tree as an anchor.

4th Rap: ~70 ft.

For this descent, we used a tree anchor to our right. After the rappel, there is some more climbing.

Last Rap: 100 feet

This is a great rappel. You’ll be a bit wet going through the small overhang at the bottom of the rappel.

It takes only 10-15 minutes to return to Mill Creek wash, and then back to your car. Vivian Creek is an excellent beginner canyon.

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