The twin lakes of Arrowhead and Big Bear are best known for skiing during the winter and water sports during the summer. However, the huge variety of hiking trails--crossing terrain ranging from the high desert north of Lake Arrowhead to the peaks towering around Big Bear--are a great option for year round hiking. During the summer months hikes such as Castle Rock and Delamar Mountain near Big Bear Lake area great way to beat the heat, while famous Deep Creek Hot Springs can be an inviting winter destination. Here are ten hikes--ranging from short nature walks to full day trips of more than ten miles--that explore this diverse and scenic region.
Castle Rock - Towering above Big Bear Lake's south shore, this landmark jumble of granite boulders can be reached with a short but steep hike from Highway 18. Highlights include great views of the lake and impressive Jeffrey pines.
Deep Creek Hot Springs via Bradford Ridge - This little known route to Deep Creek Hot Springs explores the transitional climate between the mountains north of Lake Arrowhead and the high desert.
Deep Creek Hot Springs via Pacific Crest Trail - Plan on making a full day of this fairly easy going but very long hike along the P.C.T. Highlights include dramatic mountain views, geology, diverse plant life and more.
Delamar Mountain - This is the tallest peak on Big Bear's north shore, providing great views of the lake and of Holcomb Valley.
Fisherman's Camp via Crab Creek Trail - A pleasant hike that features both wide-ranging views of the western San Bernardino Mountains and pine woodlands.
Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp - This scenic loop provides views of the western San Gabriels and Lake Arrowhead, plus a pleasant ramble along the Pacific Crest Trail and a visit to peaceful, creek side Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp.
Keller Peak via Exploration Trail - One of the best hikes in the area, this 12-mile trip visits Keller Peak, whose phenomenal views make it an ideal place for the working fire lookout that can be found on the summit.
Metate Trail - A short but pleasantly varied hike featuring oaks, pines and wide meadows. Look for the Indian Morteros in the rocks.
Pinnacles - A short but steep climb brings you to this summit in the western corner of the San Bernardino National Forest, where you are rewarded with outstanding views, especially of Silverwood Lake and the Cajon Pass. Interesting boulders - including famous "Bong Rock" - are also among the highlights.
Silver Peak - In the remote northeastern corner of the San Bernardino Mountains, this summit can be reached with an adventurous climb through high desert terrain, up a steep canyon and finally to the peak, where an abandoned mine shaft provides a glimpse into the area's history.