Water Sources


Always check water availability before an overnight trip – do not assume there will be water near your camp.

For current water availability, call or visit the Mill Creek Ranger Station. Another good source is to visit our Forum. If you don’t see a current post about water in the area you’d like to visit, submit a post and ask – there is almost always someone who has been there recently.

Hikin’ Jim has compiled an interactive map of the Wilderness, including the location of many water sources, some not in this list. Visit his blog here.

List of Water Sources

Alger Trail Camp: Water from Alger Creek. Almost always reliable.

Big Tree:

Columbine: Water at Columbine is notoriously unreliable. If no water in the creekbed, follow the ravine up a few hundred yards; but unless you have a current report assume you will not find water.

Dobbs Trail Camp: Water is generally available.

Dollar Lake: Spring is located a little southwest of the lake, down from the campsites. The spring is unreliable in a drought year.

Fish Creek Camp: Stream crosses trail .5 miles up from camp

Fish Creek Saddle: There is a very small spring WNW of camp; if this is dry, easiest to go down to Lodgepole.

Halfway Trail Camp

High Creek Trail Camp: See Vivian Trail Camp.

High Meadow Spring: Water is a bit downhill from camp

Jackstraw: Water crosses the spur trail to the camp. Not reliable.

John’s Meadow: Forsee Creek is extremely reliable and to date has always had water.

Limber Pine: Water is .3 miles east up trail

Lodgepole Spring: Lodgepole Spring is generally reliable but after two years of drought is failing. In 2015 there may not be water available; campers can carry water from South Fork Meadows.

Mineshaft Flat: Water is .3 mile down trail

Saxton Trail Camp: Water is .2 mil west

South Fork Meadows: Takes its name from the South Fork of the Santa Ana River; water is very reliable and lasts all year.

Trail Fork: Water at Trail Fork Springs is fairly reliable, lasting until mid to late summer and in a good year into fall.

Vivian Trail Camp: Creek is in camp; water is generally available in early season.