California, United States
San Gorgonio Mountain, also known locally as Mount San Gorgonio, or Old Greyback, is the highest peak in Southern California at 11503 feet. It is in the San Bernardino Mountains, 27 miles east of the city of San Bernardino and 12 miles north-northeast of San Gorgonio Pass. It lies within the San Gorgonio Wilderness, part of the San Bernardino National Forest. Spanish missionaries in the area during the early 17th century named the peak after Saint Gorgonius.
Since it is the highest point in a region which is separated from higher peaks (e.g. in the Sierra Nevada) by relatively low terrain, San Gorgonio Mountain is one of the most topographically prominent peaks in the United States. It is ranked 7th among peaks in the 48 contiguous states and 18th among over all.
Several trails lead to the broad summit of San Gorgonio Mountain, which rises only a few hundred feet (100 m) above the tree line. Any route requires well over 4000 feet in of elevation gain.
There is, however, one less used trail leading from the Fish Creek Trailhead to San Gorgonio Mountain that has about 3400 feet of gain which is far less than the standard routes from the South Fork and Vivian Creek trailheads.
On December 1, 1952, a Douglas C-47 Dakota, serial number 45-1124, crashed at the 11000 feet level on the eastern face of the mountain. The C-47 was en route from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska to March Air Force Base near Riverside, California when it struck the mountain at night in the middle of a storm. "The aircraft was last heard from at 9:51 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday." Thirteen people died.
Nearly one month after the C-47 accident a Marine Corps helicopter crashed on the mountain in coordination of the efforts of recovering the victims. The three crewmen of the helicopter survived the impact.
Most of the wreckage of the two aircraft remain on the mountain and are accessible via the Fish Creek Trailhead or the South Fork Trailhead.