Distance: 8.1 miles round trip on dirt road and use trail
Summit Elevation: 4624' (Morton), 4162' (Cram), 4400' (Peak 4400), 4030' (Peak 4030)
Prominence: 724' (Morton)
Elevation Gain: 2000' (Combined)
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.6
Round trip time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Recommended water: 100 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
Morton and Cram are two lower peaks in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. I drove up on Black Friday, escaping the shopping hordes, and turned on Warm Springs Truck Road from highway 38 outside Mentone. The first gate was open, so I dropped into 4WD and continued past the gate up the truck road. It is rocky, rough, and requires high clearance, but you can save 2 miles round trip by driving up to the second gate, which is usually closed. I parked near the gate and headed up the road toward Morton. After about 1.7 miles and 700' of gain, I reached Morton Peak. There is a lookout tower there that was locked, a picnic table, and a restroom. No register was found, but I did find a reference mark and the triangulation benchmark (missing the cap), underneath the tower. Since I was just warmed up, I didn't loiter. I continued back down the road where a use trail heads down the ridge toward Cram Peak. There is a small cairn marking the spot.
The use trail was a little brushy, but never completely overgrown. It descends to a saddle where it intersects a dirt road losing the fight against nature. It quickly melts down to a single track trail with yucca encroaching on a few sections. The trail moves up and down the ridge over several bumps before winding around Cram Peak. Near the top of Cram, I ran into a deer and watched it for less than a second before it crashed into the brush on the south side of the ridge and went into hiding. The Cram summit is a round shaped flat area with an iron post and triangle marking the top. There I found the register dating back to 2004 with less than the half the book filled. This seems like another unpopular peak, mostly frequented by list chasers and peak baggers. I added a second plastic baggie to protect the register, then returned the same way. When I hit the road again, I was looking for more action. I remembered seeing Peak 4030' on the Peakbagger map, but before I got there, I decided to head off trail to hit unnamed Peak 4400' at a bend in the road. As I got to the saddle below it, I found an abandoned road winding around the north side to the summit. Nothing was on the summit other than a few small boulders and a cigarette butt, evidence that I wasn't the first person up there. Next, I headed down and quickly climbed Peak 4030, also finding nothing of interest. It was a short day of hiking, but two more Great Lower Peaks got crossed off the list.