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Go Up To The San Bernardino Mountains
If you live in Southern California then why not take a trip close to home? Spend a day or a week in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, which are approximately about two hours driving time from the Los Angeles region. In the winter months many families enjoy the snow, which is ideal for sledding and skiing. In the summer visitors can explore the hiking trails, which are tempting since the temperature tends to be ten to fifteen degrees cooler than the valley below. I grew up in the San Bernardino Mountains, and there are quite a few little trails and spots I enjoy. First, make sure purchase a National Forest Adventure Pass as vehicles can be fined for parking in the wilderness without these permits. The Adventure Passes can be conveniently purchased online via the US Forest Service website, or in person at the US Ranger Station in Sky Forest, which is about a three mile drive from Lake Arrowhead Village.
How To Get There
The Indian Rock Trail
So what are some of my favorite hiking trails in the San Bernardino Mountains? One of the most exciting is the Indian Rock Trail, even though it is only about a mile in length. This trail is very easy for people of all ages to hike on, and it ends at the scenic Indian Rock Camp, which is where the Serrano Indians used to gather acorns during the fall months. At this abandoned camp we find metate rocks, which are the large boulders the Serrano Indians used for grinding their acorns into meal. It is amazing to be able to touch the holes where the women used to grind the acorns, and to know you are grasping a part of history. At the Indian Rock Camp there is a special plaque donated by the Lake Arrowhead’s Women Club in 1938, which has a very nice inscription. This is truly an easy hike that is worth sharing with the entire family.
The Pinnacles Trail
The Pinnacles Trail is another one of my favorites, although this one is a little bit more difficult for the young ones in the family to traverse. Back in the eighties our family used to climb up The Pinnacles annually on New Year‘s Day, which was before the trail was cleared in the early nineties. My parents were very adept at finding their way to the top and back down again, but one time I got separated from them with a family friend, and we ended up being lost in the brambles of the bushes. That night before school I had to comb with a thousand little twigs out of my hair, and I lamented The Pinnacles and its prickly brush. As an adult I miss the days I used to spend hiking among the large boulders there, and I try to go on hikes up there when I can.
On another hike in The Pinnacles we were separated from a different family friend, and he ended up hiking down the entire back side of mountain. We were quite worried when he did not show back up at the truck later that evening, but the next day he called us from Hesperia needing a ride back to his car. It used to be very easy to get lost in the brush of The Pinnacles before the trail was improved, but it is not difficult to wander off the main trail even today, so be careful when hiking and watch for snakes, as I have seen a few there in the past. When you reach the top there is an exquisite view of Lake Silverwood below, and the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Gorgonio Mountains in the distance. The Pinnacles are truly a wonderful hike for anyone who enjoys spectacular vistas, and fascinating large rocks in various formations.
The Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail is another stimulating hiking trail, although it may not be for those who are wary of jaunting down narrow path on the precipice of a steep cliff. This trail can be reached from various trail heads throughout the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Pacific Crest Trail itself runs 2,650 miles from Baja California all the way to British Columbia. As a child reading books about the Pacific Crest Trail I was always fascinated by those who made the entire journey, but I would rather take a few shorter hikes on this trail myself. The Pacific Crest Trail is very scenic, and there are many opportunities for taking amazing pictures of Deep Creek, which runs parallel along many parts of the trail in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Lake Arrowhead Village: Where To Hang Out When Not Hiking
Is hiking and exploring the national forest not your cup of tea? If so, stop by Lake Arrowhead Village and take some pictures around the lake. Locals and visitors alike can be seen strolling around the various shops in the village, and dining at many of the delectable restaurants with great lake side views. Also, you can ride the Lake Arrowhead Queen around the lake, which offers a tour of the houses and the trees skirting its shores. Many celebrities own homes in the mountains, and people love to go on the tour on the Lake Arrowhead Queen for that reason. One of my favorite morning rituals is to buy a cup of coffee, and to watch the ducks waddling along the lake’s shore. Lake Arrowhead Village also offers a variety of concerts and other family friendly events through out the year, so there is always something to see and do up in the mountains. A day trip to the San Bernardino Mountains can be just as exciting as a week vacation to an exotic locale, minus the anxiety and the price tag associated with airfare. I feel privileged to have grown up in the San Bernardino Mountains, and I hope you enjoy visiting one day soon!