Hiking at lake arrowhead


campfire at lake arrowhead

hike at lake arrowhead

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Hiking in Lake Arrowhead and surrounding areas

hike lake arrowhead

Welcome to the San Bernardino Mountains!

There is no better way to experience the various aspects of Nature than to take a hike. The sounds, smells, and "feel" of the forest become more immediate, personal and meaningful. On this site, you will find information on trail locations, trail difficulty, hiking tips, camping, and wildlife, as well as the hiking schedule for the Mountaintop Hiking Club. The many trails within the Arrowhead Ranger District offer ample choices for all, from beginners to experienced outdoorsmen, with Deep Creek being the highlight of the District. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails in the San Bernardino National Forest. Trails vary in length from 0.25-mile nature trails to a 195-mile section of thePacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Trails vary from easy to difficult with scenery from desert flowers to mountain pines.

Before beginning a hike, take into account your available time, knowledge of the area, necessary equipment, weather conditions, physical situation, and the time of year. Please note that hiking trails may be closed without notice due to storm damage or other reasons. More information can be obtained by contacting the local ranger station:

Click here for a list of Hiking Tips and Suggestions

Arrowhead Ranger District - San Bernardino National Forest
28104 Highway 18 - P.O. Box 7
Skyforest 92385
909-337-2444

Forest visitors are required to display a National Forest Adventure Pass in their vehicle when parked in the San Bernardino National Forest for recreation purposes. It is not required at a site where a fee is already charged, at ranger stations or visitor centers, when you are traveling through the forest but not stopping, or when you are parked at a residence or other private organization. It is available in two forms: a daily pass and an annual pass good for one year from the month of purchase. Discounts for senior citizens with a Golden Age Passport or a person with disabilities with a Golden Access Passport are available when purchasing a pass at Forest Service offices. Passes are available at the Lake Arrowhead Ranger Station (909) 337-2444, at the Lake Arrowhead Visitors Center in Rim Forest and in many local businesses.


fish lake arrowhead
Click to view the Mountain Top Hiking Club Schedule



fishing lake arrowhead
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Following is a list of area Hiking Trails, from easy to difficult:


Deep Creek Hot Springs/Goat Trail - 3W02

6 miles, out and back, 2 hours, easy

This trail begins on the north edge of the forest near Bowen Ranch (where you are asked to pay a toll to cross private land) and leads south to Deep Creek. Directly south across Deep Creek you will find the Hot Springs pools for which this trail is named. CAUTION! The Hot Springs water contains a rare and sometimes fatal disease called amoebic meningoeucephalitis. It is advisable not to submerse your head as eyes, ears, nose and mouth are all possible portals of entry for infections. More information is available in the "Deep Creek" handout.

fishing lake arrowhead Hike along a year-round creek to an amazing hot spring and enjoy the wonders of nature. Deep Creek Hot Springs is the premier hot springs experience in the San Bernardino Mountains. Weekends are commonly loaded with visitors, with weekdays generally not as busy. The hike is along a rather nondescript desert brush trail affectionately known as “Goat Trail” that drops 900 feet to Deep Creek. The landscape surrounding Deep Creek is unique in a southern California context, and its recreation opportunities are valued at the regional and national levels. Thermal hot springs located here are unique and regionally important.

Deep Creek supports the greatest diversity of wildlife habitats of any drainage on the San Bernardino National Forest and has earned the State designation of a Wild Trout Stream. It also represents some of the greatest diversity of vegetation communities of any drainage on the national forest. The surrounding area represents a transiticonifer forest. The vegetation ranges from sparse creosote, chamise and California buckwheat at lower elevations to oak and pinyon woodland and scattered mixed conifer, healthy riparian habitats are also present.

The Pacific Crest Trail follows the creek from the Lake Arrowhead area to the Mojave River Forks Dam for 16 miles as part of the 2,650 mile national scenic trail crossing Deep Creek twice on elevated bridges. For more information on the Pacific Crest Trail, visit their website at www.Pacific Coast Traila.org

Also Deep Creek is home to the Southwestern Arroyo Toad, an endangered species who lives in the sandy shore of the creek. The toad is a small (2.2-2.9 inches), dark-spotted and light-olive green or gray to tan with dark spots and warty skin. The toad lives from confluence of the Mojave River up to an elevation of 4,300 feet usually spending the day burrowed in the sand and coming out at night to forage for food.

Directions:

The Deep Creek Hot Springs are located in the Deep Creek drainage, outside the city of Hesperia. The easiest access is through the Bowen Ranch Road, which accesses the site through private land (a fee is charged). The trail descends steeply for 2 1/2 miles to the springs. An alternative route is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail east from Arrowhead Lake Road, roughly a six mile hike.

General Notes:

Do not drink the water!

The Hot Springs pools of Deep Creek contain a rare and sometimes fatal disease calledprimary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The disease is apparently contained in contaminated soil and transmitted to the Hot Springs pools as the warm water flows through and over the soil. It is advisable not to submerse your head.

Due to the large number of visitors to the Hot Springs, human and organic pollution are increasing in the Deep Creek drainage. The highest Fecal Coliform counts are found in the Hot Springs area.

Suggestions for visiting the Deep Creek Hot Springs

Please help make everyone's visit to the springs safe and enjoyable by respecting the privacy of others, packing out everything you pack in, and watching your footing on the boulders. With your help, we can make Deep Creek a clean and safe place to visit. Here are a few tips for your visit:

• Bring plenty of drinking water

• Wear adequate footwear

• Bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses

• Be aware that daytime temperatures in the summer months can easily exceed 100 degrees

• Be careful on the trail, loose debris and uneven terrain

• The area is home rattlesnakes and be careful around rock outcroppings


Little Bear Creek Trail

Out and Back 3.8 miles, 2 hours - easy

The hike descends through a once lovely wooded glen that has now seen epic damage due to the Old Fire of 2003. Fire fighters protected the community around Arrowhead Lake, and this area was one of the final battlegrounds utilized in combating the blaze. Though singed, the area is still worth a trip. Studying .re ecology can be a fascinating endeavor on its own, but this trip will take you up close and personal. A firsthand assessment can be made of what happens due to carelessness, negligence, and sheer stupidity on the part of humans. The area is bouncing back very well despite bark beetles and years of drought before the blaze. Spring rains produce wild flowers galore in this region especially in the seasons just after a fire.


Heaps Peak Arboretum Trail - 3W05

0.9 miles, loop, 1 hour - easy

walk lake arrowhead Self-guided tour with many points of interest. Entrance is three-quarters of a mile east of Santa's Village, off Highway 18. Learn about natural history, fire ecology, and forest wildflowers on this short, informative trail. The site was constructed from 1923 to 1931 by the Lake Arrowhead Women’s Club and is maintained by volunteers from the Rim of the World Interpretive Association. The area has gone through a couple of rough patches due to fire and disrepair, but none of that is evident today. Start at the kiosk to get an overview of important information on the bark beetle, flowering plants, activities, and a photo exhibit. From there follow the signs and numbered stops marked in the pamphlet.

This interpretive trail is located 1.4 miles east of Skyforest on Highway 18. The trail is an easy walk for all ages that takes you through a self-guided tour with 24 points of interest about native plants and wildlife. The site was constructed and is maintained by volunteers from the Rim of the World Interpretive Association. A donation is requested for those keeping the Arboretum trail guide.


Heaps Peak Arboretum Day Use Area

Located on State Highway 18 west of the community of Skyforest. Come and escape the city and visit our unique mountain oasis of natural beauty! Experience the Heaps Peak Arboretum's gardens, "animal tracks trail," mini-gift booth, and inquire about educational programs. Heaps Peak Arboretum, located at 6,000', is open 365 days a year and is free to the public. Heaps Peak's unique arboretum and botanical gardens greet visitors with a diversity of native plants, and also a few “introductions.” No snow play or picnic areas at this site. Open all year.


Trail of the Phoenix (aka Exploration Trail) - 2W09

0.5 mile, easy walk

This paved nature trail begins at the entrance of the National Children's Forest off Keller peak Road. The trail is specifically designed and maintained to accommodate the needs of the visually and physically disabled. The trail maintains a grade of 5% or less. All interpretive signs are in distinctive print and braille.

The Exploration Trail is a family friendly, non-motorized 4.5 mile trail with a 12% grade. This trail was designed by children along with the U.S. Forest Service personnel and other professionals. There are interpretive panels located throughout the 0.75 mile Interpretive Trail Loop section near the Upper Exploration trail. During winter, the trail offers an exciting snowshoe or cross country skiing trek.

See species that have developed unique survival techniques to combat harsh conditions. Conifer trees, like the Sugar pines are the tallest pine species in the world. Manzanita is a fire-adapted shrub that requires the intense heat of a fire to open the tough seedcoat in order to regenerate.

The Adventure Pass is required if you park at the Lower Exploration Trailhead and the Upper Exploration Trailhead on Keller Peak Road (Forest Service Road 1N96). Parking is available at the Children’s Forest Visitor Center during their open season. The Children’s Forest Visitor Center is located adjacent to Deerlick Fire Station on State Highway 18 in Running Springs, 1 mile east of State Highway 330.

For more information call the Children’s Forest Visitor Center 909-382-2773 Weekends- May through September.

Directions:

Take State Highway 18 or 330 to Running Springs. Go past the village and immediately after the Deerlick Fire Station turn right on Keller Peak Road (1N96)


Indian Rock Trail (aka Metate/Rock Camp Trail) - 3W15

0.5 mile, easy

Begins immediately east of Rock Camp Station on Highway 173. The trail leads to bedrock mortars used by the Serrano Indians to grind acorns and to make flour. Bedrock mortars were formed by the grinding action of mono and pestel stones.A stone monument marks the site.

hiking lake arrowhead This trail begins immediately east of Rock Camp station on Highway 173. The trail leads to bedrock mortars used by the Serrano Indians to grind acorns and to make flour. The Serrano came to this area each spring because of the plentiful acorn crop and the mild weather. Bedrock mortars were formed by the grinding action of mono and pestel stones. It was much easier to use these large bedrock slabs rather than carry a mortar stone with them, but they also did that in areas where such stones did not exist. A stone monument was placed on the site by the Lake Arrowhead Woman's Club to designate the historical importance of this encampment to the Senano Indians.



The Arrowhead

3.8 miles, easy. Out and back, 2 hours.

Hesperia California Hikes

Hike down from Rim of the World Highway and climb up Arrowhead Peak, overlooking the famous Arrowhead formation. This shadeless hike should be avoided on afternoons and in summer.


Splinter's Cabin Day Use Area

Located adjacent to Deep Creek in the Lake Arrowhead area.

Splinter's Cabin is an excellant starting point to visit Deep Creek in the Lake Arrowhead area. The world reknown Pacific Crest Trail is a short walk from the parking lot, and the Pacific Crest Trail traveling north from Spinter's follows Deep Creek for 14 miles.

Deep Creek is a popular native trout fishery and swimming is another favorite visitor activity in the area.

Directions:

From Lake Arrowhead: Travel North on State Highway 173 and turn right (East) on Hook Creek Road. At the end of Hook Creek Road, follow Forest Road 2N26Y to Forest Service Road 3N34C, and turn right, follow this road to the picnic area.

Note: the Forest Service road is a single lane and a portion of the road is dirt, exercise caution in blind corners.


Seeley Creek Trail - 4W07

2 miles out and back, 1 hour - easy walk

Hike through a forest wonderland to a splendid and romantic waterfall known as Heart Rock Falls for its distinctive heart-shaped basin. Wildflowers bloom in spring, making it the best time for a visit. The pools below the falls are perfect for swimming and in warmer times make for an inviting dip, but be careful on the slippery rocks. Return via the same trail. Heart Rock will end up becoming a favorite destination, and many who visit the falls return season after season.


This short trail begins on Forest Service Road 2N03 - 1/4 mile south of the entrance to Camp Seeley on Highway 138. You must cross the creek. This easy hike follows Seeley Creek to an overlook called "Heart Rock" which marks the trail's end. Here there is a heart-shaped hole in the cliff next to a picturesque 20-foot waterfall. The gentle grade of this trail makes it an excellent walk for all ages, but be careful to watch out for the safety of children near the waterfall.


Hawes Peak Trail 2WO8/2WO3

4.5 miles, moderate

Begins on 2WO8, 1/4 mile no. east of Tent Peg campground on 3N34. Travel 1.3 miles to Pacific Crest Trail. Follow Pacific Coast Trail 1/4 mile to 2WO3, go north 2.3 miles. Trail ends at yellow post site, on 3N41 (Big Bear Dist). No bicycles on the Pacific Coast Trail.

Directions:

From Running Springs: Travel east on State Highway 18 and turn left on Green Valley Lake Road. Turn left on Forest Road 3N16 towards the Crab Flats Campground. Travel North on Forest Road 3N16 for 4.2 miles.

3N16 to Crab Flats Campground is well maintained during Summer months, however the road can have significant snow duning Winter and early Spring.

At the junction of 3N16 and 3N34, continue straight towards the Crab Flats Campground, just past the campground, the road will veer west and road conditions may be rough. (Note: 3N34 is an authorized OHV route - watch for motorcycles and ATV's).

Travel for one mile past Crab Flats Campground, you also will pass the Tent Peg Group Campground.

The trailhead is a large dirt parking area on your left. The trailhead is across the road to your right. The trailhead on the westend of the parking lot heads to Deep Creek and Fisherman's Group Camp.


Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail - PC2000

40 miles moderate

walk lake arrowhead Beginning near Cleghorn Mountain, the Pacific Crest Trail crosses State Highway 138, winds through the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, past Mojave River Dam, and ascends parallel to Deep Creek to Splinter's Cabin above Cedar Glen.

The entire Pacific Crest Trail extends 2600 miles from Canada to Mexico. Although a few marathon hikers have gone the length in one trip, most take the trail in segments over a period of years. The PC2000 traverses 40 miles of the Arrowhead Ranger District. It enters where FS Road 3N16 crosses Holcomb Creek and exits at Boundary Bridge north of Cleghorn Mountain.

The trail is for horse and foot traffic only: all motorized vehicles and bicycles are prohibited. Entry and exit points are numerous, which makes the trail ideal for short nature walks, half-day hikes or day hikes. The most commonly used points of entry/exit are FS Road 3N16. Crab Flats Trail (2W08), Splinter's Cabin at Deep Creek, Highway 173 near the Mojave River Dam and at Silverwood State Park.

Some highlights of the PC2WO as it winds through the Arrowhead District are: the scenic quality of Holcomb Creek and Deep Creek, the granite gorge called "Devil's Hole", the hot springs, the outstanding views of Silverwood Lake and Little Horsethief Canyon.

Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the Pacific Crest Trail


Crab Creek Trail (aka Fisherman's Camp Trail) - 2W07

2.5 miles, moderate

Begins 1.3 miles west of Crab Flats Campground on FS Road 3N34 and provides the primary access to Fisherman's Camp on deep Creek. The trail descends moderately westward crossing Crab Creek 1.3 miles from deep Creek must be forded to reach Fisherman's Camp. The scenery along this trail is exceptional. Camping at Fisherman's Camp is by group permit only. CAUTION: Attempting to cross deep Creek when the river is high can be dangerous and is not recommended.

This trail begins 1.3 miles west of Crab Flats Campground on FS Road 3N34. Crab Creek Trail provides the primary access to Fisherman's Camp (a group reservation trail camp) on Deep Creek. The trail descends moderately westward crossing Crab Creek 1.3 miles from Deep Creek. Deep Creek must be forded to reach Firheman's Camp. CAUTION! Attempting to cross Deep Creek when it is running high can be dangerous and is NOT recommended. The scenery along this trail is exceptional. Camping at Fisherman's Camp is by group permit only.

Directions:

From Running Springs: Travel east on State Highway 18 and turn left on Green Valley Lake Road. Turn left on Forest Road 3N16 towards the Crab Flats Campground.

Travel North on Forest Road 3N16 for 4.2 miles.

3N16 to Crab Flats Campground is well maintained during Summer months, however the road can have significant snow during Winter and early Spring.

At the junction of 3N16 and 3N34, continue straight towards the Crab Flats Campground, just past the campground, the road will veer west and road conditions may be rough. (Note: 3N34 is an authorized OHV route - watch for motorcycles and ATV's).

Travel for one mile past Crab Flats Campground, you also will pass the Tent Peg Group Campground.

The trailhead is a large dirt parking area on your left. The trailhead is on the right hand side of the parking area. The trailhead across the road is the Hawes Peak trail.


Crab Flats Trail - 2W08

1.3 miles, moderately difficult

This trail begins 1/2 mile west of Crab Flats Campground on FS Road 3N34. The trail descends rapidly until it intersects the Pacific Crest Trail (PC2000) approximately 1/4 mile west of Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp. This trail will provide you with a variety of forest settings in a relatively short hiking distance. Camping at Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp is available. All terrain vehicles are authorized on this trail but not on the PC2000.


North Shore National Recreational Trail - 3W12

1.9 miles, Moderate to Difficult

hiking trails in lake arrowhead Start at the beginning of FS Road 2N25 between North Shore Campground and Papoose Lake. To reach 2N25, turn east on Torrey Road opposite the Lake Arrowhead Marina. Turn at first left and follow the dirt road 1/2 mile to where you reach the trail head on the east (right) side of 2N25. The trail descends gently through a mixed conifer forest and settles finally along Little Bear Creek where you will reach FS Road 2N26Y after 1 mile.

This trail is best reached by starting at the beginning of FS Road 2N25 between North Shore Campground and Papoose Lake. To reach 2N25, turn east on Torrey Road opposite the Lake Arrowhead Marina. Turn at first left and follow the dirt road 1/2 mile to where you reach the trail head on the east (right) side of 2N25. The trail descends gently through a mixed conifer forest and settles finally along Little Bear Creek where you will reach FS Road 2N26Y after 1 mile.

This trail begins just behind the North Shore Campground on Hospital Rd. off of Hwy. 173. The trail descends along seasonal Little Bear Creek to FS Road 2N26Y, intersecting the road about 1 mile above Splinter’s Cabin Trailhead. The seven year drought and Old Fire in 2003 took its toll on the trees along the trail, giving hikers an opportunity to view post fire effects and the changes as a result of the drought and bark beetle infestation.


Snow Slide - 2N13

10 miles, moderately difficult

This cross country ski tour winds 10 miles from its beginning at Green Valley Campground to Fawnskin at Big Bear Lake. The tour is long, but there are few steep sections. The snow is the most reliable in this area of the San Bernardino Mountains. The bottoms of three avalanche paths are crossed between 4 and 5 miles out of Green Valley so it is suggested that this area be avoided during and immediately after storms. Skiing is generally good between December and April.

This cross-country ski tour winds 10 miles from its beginning at Green Valley Campground to Fawnskin at Big Bear Lake. The tour is long, but there are few steep sections. The snow is the most reliable in this area of the San Bernardino Mountains. The bottoms of three avalanche paths are crossed between 4 and 5 miles out of Green Valley so it is suggested that this area be avoided during and immediately after storms. Skiing is generally good between December and April.


Pinnacles Trail - 3W16

1.8 miles, difficult

Pinnacles Trail Begins at the entrance to the Rifle Range on Highway 173, north of Rock Camp and ends at the top of the peak. From the top, on clear days you can look into Mojave desert. Along the trail there are steel posts and rock cairns to help you find the path as the trail travels over and around large boulders. At the summit there is a register book to sign in at the top.


Little Green Valley Trail - 3W10

4.6 miles - difficult

This trail begins on the north side of Highway 18 between the two entrances to Snow Valley Ski area. Little Green Valley Trail climbs steeply to the north until you reach a meadow at Forest Service Road 2N19. This trail provides you with outstanding views of Snow Valley and Slide Peak. The trail ties into 1W26, then to 2N64 which the Forest Service tied into 2N20 and back around behind the Nordic Ski area to make a loop. This trail is mainly used by mountain bikes.


Little Green Valley - 2N19

5 miles, difficult

This trail rapidly climbs out of Green Valley Campground to the top of Little Green Valley Ridge. From the ridge top the trail slowly descends towards Green Valley Road. From here you can return the way you came, or you can shuttle back to Green Valley Campground. (Numerous unnamed routes of all levels of difficulty are available in either direction from the top of Little Green Valley Ridge). Skiing is generally good between December and April.


Camp Creek National Recreation Trail 1W09

This trail begins .4 miles east of the Main Gate of the Snow Valley Ski Resort at the 2N97 Forest Road turnout. Signage at the trailhead will direct you to the Camp Creek Trail which 2N97 intersects in .3 miles. It is a very steep trail with an elevation change of 2,000 feet. It terminates at Bear Creek.


Snowshoe/Cross-Country Ski Trails

When winter blankets the Arrowhead District, there are opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing near Green Valley and east to Fawnskin. Blue diamonds mark the routes which are part of the Forest Service road system closed to vehicles during the winter season. Call (909) 867-4505 or 867-2338 for up-to-date ski reports. A word of caution: harsh conditions of wind, cold, and whiteout can turn an outing into a tragedy. Knowledge of the area, weather, route, avalanche areas and conditions, your physical endurance and equipment are essential.


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