Tour of the San Bernardino Mountains: Rim of the World Highway

The San Bernardino Mountains are a beautiful place to visit year around. This tour was during the fall around Thanksgiving just after a rainstorm. There were many beautiful clouds in the sky, which made for some beautiful photographers coming up Highway 18. I also took some pictures going down Highway 18 on a sunny day, but I had to include these just so you can see all the details of this highway's beauty.  The Rim of the World Highway is considered one of the most scenic routes in the US and is referred to as the Rim of the World Highway because it on the edge of the mountain. Many newcomers to the mountains have experienced vertigo and dizziness by looking down the precipices, so this drive/ride may not be for you if heights are not your thing. People have gone off the side of this highway in good and bad weather, and I always felt sad when I saw people flip or have a bad accident on this stretch of road. Some people liked to make jokes about it and thought it was humorous, but I just never got that sort of mentality. Even as a child I used to have dreams about being in a fast convertible driven by a crazy man, and I would fly out of the car and down the side of the mountain. I was never truly scared of the drives up the mountain and looking down at the valley below, but I can appreciate how some newcomers might be. My step-grandma swore she was going plunge to her death every time her and my grandpa drove their RV up to visit us in Lake Arrowhead. The Rim of the World Highway is approximately twenty miles between San Bernardino and Lake Arrowhead Village. However, the entire highway is 101 miles between San Bernardino and Apple Valley, and this was the longest stretch of mountain road back when it was first constructed in 1915.

View driving down Highway 18.  This is what it looks like towards the beginning of the road by San Bernardino.
View driving down Highway 18. This is what it looks like towards the beginning of the road by San Bernardino.
Here is another spectacular view from Highway 18.
Here is another spectacular view from Highway 18.
Driving up Highway 18 with beautiful storm clouds in the distance.
Driving up Highway 18 with beautiful storm clouds in the distance.
Another view of the rain and clouds driving up Highway 18.
Another view of the rain and clouds driving up Highway 18.
Every year the graduating high school class used to go paint their graduating year on this hillside.
Every year the graduating high school class used to go paint their graduating year on this hillside.
A few of the hills above on Highway 18.
A few of the hills above on Highway 18.

Several movies have been filmed on Highway 18 such as the movie Next, which had several scened that were filmed on Highway 18. In Next a psychic magician named Cris Johnson (Nicholas Cage) can see a few minutes into the future, but when he meets Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel) he can see even farther into future events. FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) is interested in using his psychic abilities help find a group of terrorists who are planning on attacking Los Angeles. Cris is running from the FBI, but you will just have to watch the movie to see why. One of the reasons I was interested in this movie because they filmed the motel scene at the Cliffhanger off Highway 18. It is amusing seeing your home turf double as a small town in the Grand Canyon, but they probably only thought they could get away with this because the trees are thinner due to fires and the bark beetles that have changed the landscape. Anyone who grew up in the San Bernardino mountains will know right off the bat that the scenes filmed in the Grand Canyon certaintly due look more like Southern California Mountains.

It was amusing driving up Highway 18 back in 2006 and seeing the cheesy set props that were were on the Cliffhanger set, which I wish I had been able to get a picture of while going up Highway 18 the other day. This has been a location for several restaurants over the years, but once again it is vacant. The most exciting thing that has happened to the Cliffhanger in years is when Next was filmed there, which is a little sad because it is a nice location for a restaurant. If you are ever driving up the Rim of the World Highway, make sure to keep an eye out for the Cliffhanger on the right side of the street. It is hard to miss since the Cliffhanger is literally hanging straight off the cliff. Driving up the San Bernardino Mountains on Highway 18 is a fun and somewhat inexpensive joy ride. You do not have to spend lots of money staying at a fancy hotel or eating at an upscale restaurant up in the mountains when you could just go to a simple coffee house and order a late. Mountain scenery is still beautiful when paying less, but you will just have to try it to know for sure.

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Comments 38 comments

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

WOW!! Next time I will have to check this out. Btw does your family own the RV? It must be fun to travel in RV (sleeping, cooking, bathroom and comfort). Are they easy to handle on the road? Cool pictures.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Actually my grandpa who passed away in 1997 used to own an RV and my step-grandma had a fit as they drove up the mountain. I stayed in an RV once during the fire evacuation in 2003 because my mom's co-workers had one in their backyard, which they graciously allowed us to stay in. I have never been in an RV when it was driving, but I have been inside a stationary one.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Sorry to hear about your grandpa. I guess it must be a different feeling staying in it for a few days rather than consider it as a mobile home. I saw on TV the hurricane Katrina victims had several issues staying in those for several months at a stretch. I hope there are no more fires in your area (least of preventable fires caused by human negligence which is a pretty basic thing to take care of)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I hope there are no more fires up there, although I am living down here in the valley now, I still worry about my family. I can imagine living in an RV over a several month stretch would be very hard as their are issues with the water supply. Thankfully the RV's owner wanted us to take showers in her house so we did not have to worry about that. She also invited all of us to come in and one night everyone ordered pizza for all staying there during the evacuation. Another family was staying in their own RV on their property.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Seems like you have good memories with RV and also of the nice treatment by the hosts. Yes we have to make the most of whatever circumstances we are in. I hope your family has adequate fire fighting equipments before the fire fighters arrive in case of an emergency. Do they have have an early warning system for evacuation in those high prone areas?


Glenn Frank profile image

Glenn Frank 8 years ago from Southern California

I've been up the 18 and the 330 highways many times... we used to go up to big bear lake with my grandparents, and go skiing up there... visited several church camps up there when I was younger. Neat place to visit. Pretty cool that you got to grow up there!

I have not been back up the mountin in a long time, although I keep thinking of it as a fun way to spend a weekend with my family now. I think my kids have only been up there once or twice. Thanks for reminding me of a place I need to go visit again!


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

Like Glenn Frank, Been through there many times, its a good ride, a great escape for those trapped in the madness that is LA. Good hub.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Countrywomen,

I love your keen interest and questions. Usually either the fire department of automated telephone calls go out to people warning them of fire danger on the mountain. During the last fire my dad and some of the neighbors stayed to defend their homes with garden hoses, which was a shrewd move because the fire fighters were not able to get out there that day. If they had not stayed to spray down the fire that was less than 200 feet away then my parents would not have a home today. Also, the fire would have burned down their house and kept traveling, so by staying to defend their home they did a good thing. In the Australian outback many home owners have trained themselves and have volunteer fire brigades for fighting fires. I think their example is a good one because during a fire there is no gurantee someone will be able to get there right away and help you. We learned this last year.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glenn Frank,

Hopefully you can go back soon now that you have kids. It is a fun day trip for sure. Thanks for the comments.

Goldentoad,

Did not realize you lived in SoCal, very nice to hear. Yes it is a nice place to get away. Thanks for commenting and visiting.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

SweetiePie- Thanks for the detailed response. I guess it makes better sense to have a community fire fighting equipment/training as in Australia if the nearest fire station is located beyond a safe range. Time is of essence and glad to know that your Dad along with others stayed on to put out the fire. I hope their are stringent punishments for human negligence (as these things must have been taught at primary school level to put out fire properly).

I saw lots of movies over the thanks giving weekend at home. Hope you are having a nice time too.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Countrywomen,

There was a firestation a few miles away, but there were fires literally all over Southern California and the firegithers were stretched too thin to get every where right away. The fire that occurred in 2007 a few miles from our house was due to wind causing sparks on the power lines, but back in 2003 there was an arsonist that deliberately started the fire. He has finally been caught, but he was free and at large for several years. I really hate how fires are started by negligence because they are basically committing murder for the homeowners and firefighters that have to deal with the situation.

During Thanksgiving I went up to my parents' house and picked apples and pears. I also watched many movies. Have you seen the movie Namesake? It is very good and I think you might like it as it is about two generations of an Indian family living in America.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

SP- The reason I mentioned human negligence is that even recently like two months back saw a news item about it. I guess they just can't have enough people to man every town adequately I liked that Australian citizen initiative which maybe more appropriate but then somebody has to take ownership of the entire process.

I saw couple of kids movies(Journey to the center of the earth and so on) but will check out Namesake. You must have had fun in the farms. I like apples and one of my office colleague gets for me the dried apples which I enjoy very much.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I am truly hoping Southern California residents can become more educated about fire awareness and take their lessons from what the Australians have done. However, the general mentality is evacuate your house and wait for the firefighters to come and put it out. By then the fire has already destroyed many homes. I am not brave enough to stay behind and fight a fire, but I commend those who do.

My parents have some land surrounding their house and it is not a farm. However, we have a nice pear tree, two apple trees, and a peach tree.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

SP- I guess with the right equipment, training and safety precautions we can handle(I don't like it when some one tells me that I am just a girl and can't do it). If it is the question of some one dear to us and our property is being burnt (agreed have insurance but still) then will we keep quiet doing nothing. Even GOD helps those who helps themselves.

WOW!! That's a nice back yard. I love to have a lawn with flowers around it and a back yard full of vegetables/fruit trees.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

My parents' yard is very nice. My backyard at the apartment is just dirt and cement :).


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

One day you will have the same nice back yard at your own house. Good night and have a great day ahead.


pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 8 years ago from Durham, UK

It looks like a beautiful drive - does the weather ever make the drive dangerous? Probably too much sunshine on your windshield can be a factor!

Some great pictures and commentary - well done as usual.


mike the salesman 8 years ago

Great hub ! Those were great pics! Made me hoe sick! Thanks!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Thanks for this, SweetiePie. I love mountain landscapes and it was great to go along with you on this wonderful trip


Lgali profile image

Lgali 8 years ago

nice place to vist in winter I just needs a lottery to win


Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 8 years ago from British Columbia

Your description of the highway, where motorists experience vertigo reminded me of a trip we took in Ecuador, south from Quito to Cuenca. The road is referred to as the Avenue of the Volcanoes, and you can see several from the road. In places the unpaved road literally clings to the mountainside - repeatedly we descended into deep valleys, where little towns cling to the hillsides, then winding up into the clouds. Unforgettable!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Countrywomen,

I am sort of low maintainence, I like to go up to my parents' house to see their backyard.  I probably will always have a basic one myself :).

pdscott,

Actually on rainy days the fog can become so thick people can hardly see as they drive up and down the mountain, which is how many people end up driving off the side. Yes the glaring sun off the windshield can be a factor too.  Glad to see you again!

mike the salesman,

Yes it is pretty place.  You can always visit the pictures again if you are homesick :).

robie2,

Thanks for stopping by to comment.  Yes it is fun driving up and down this mountain.

Nolimits Nana,

We have unpaved road on the backside of the mountain which is even more twisty than this one.  That one is an interesting drive for sure.  Your trip to Peru sounds very interesting.  Thanks for sharing.

Lgali,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 8 years ago

SweetiePie you are welcome I like hub with photos


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

SweetiePie,

I now envy you. I spent some time in the mountains near Santa Barbra and my favorite thing was having my coffee early in the morning overlooking the valley. The clouds kissing my face was so cool. Lucky you. I would love to move to the mountains when I retire.

My favorite photo is the one you did not post here. The sunset! Very good balance in that one. It is truly a work of art. C.S.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Swetiepie,

I live in such a hectic part of London (The Rat Race) and this place looks soo peaceful and calm..

Thanks for the ride!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

C.S. Alexis,

I am so glad to hear you visited my art blog because I did not really know if anyone went to it. I have another hub in the making about the backside of the mountain, which is when the sunset picture will come in. I have just been a procrastinator, but it will be in the hub about the backside of the mountain for sure. I have never been to the mountains near Santa Barbara, but that sounds very nice. Thanks for the reminder on the picture and this will help me to focus more :).

Compu-smart,

Maybe you can get away and take a nice trip to the country. Thanks for commenting and visiting my hub :).


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Glad to know you are low maintenance and prefer to enjoy your parents back yard. I guess if I ever become a stay at home mom then I need to have enough tasks around the house to keep me busy besides of course the kids...LOL


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

countrywomen,

I have other interests such as walking, my art work, and reading, but maybe I will plant some tomatoes in my backyward one day. I really should, I would save money.


white atlantic profile image

white atlantic 8 years ago from INDIA

really interesting hub..i dont think i would get a chance to see this


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

I love the mountains and can only imagine how beautiful it must be to live in them. I recall the adventure of a cliffhanger from traveling in an RV across country when I was in High School. It was a ride I couldn't forget. Very nice pictures...


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by white atlantic.

Dottie,

That sounds like a fun high school trip. I have never ridden in an RV, only been stationary in one.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

This was not actually a school trip SweetiePie, this was a family trip during the summer between my sophmore and junior year. I know I would appreciate that trip much more now that I'm older. It would be so fun to do that again.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Sounds like you had a very nice trip Dottie!


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

I have never been there. Though I've traveled much with my family, I've missed a lot, too. I'll have to add this to our travel wish list for our family. It looks like a must see.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

RGraf,

The San Bernardino Mountains are definitely a must see if you are ever in the Southern California area. Glad to hear you like to travel, and I would be doing more of this myself if money were no object.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Thanks for the photos and discussion about that area of the country in which you live. Nice to have those fruit trees in your parent's yard.

When my parents used to live in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, they always planted fruit trees. It was nice to be able to walk out in the backyard and pick oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes and even peaches. Those were the days!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Peggy,

I love fruit trees, and can enjoy the apples year around. My mom freezes and cans extras, which are great for cooking. She also makes lovely apple butter and jellies, which I can use when I make pb and j.


Tyrone Smalls profile image

Tyrone Smalls 6 years ago from Edi, Isl.

Beautiful work!!!! I just left Moreno Valley & san Bern. /had a great time It's amazing how you guys bus/train transit system run you can get anywhere on your busses.

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