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Vote Trails for San Bernardino Mountains trip and discuss

Which trails do you want to run when we visit the San Bernardino Mountains?  

35 members have voted

  1. 1. Which trails do you want to run when we visit the San Bernardino Mountains?

    • 32. Grapevine Canyon
      3
    • 33. Willow Creek Road
      4
    • 34. Dishpan Springs
      2
    • 35. Holcomb Creek
      3
    • 36. Butler Peak
      4
    • 37. John Bull Trail
      3
    • 38. Jacoby Canyon
      2
    • 39. Gold Mountain
      4
    • 40. Clarks Summit
      3
    • 41. Skyline Drive
      3
    • 42. Heartbreak Ridge
      0
    • 43. Rattlesnake Canyon
      4


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This is a list of the trails in the San Bernardino Mountains and a brief description of each as well as a map. With Offroad Passport's upcoming trip to the area in mind, please vote for which trails you want to do while we're there so that we can begin planning things.

 

Also feel free to post in this thread any additional information about trails and places to go/things to see while we're there!

 

Map and list taken from "Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells.

 

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32. Grapevine Canyon - Near Big Bear, Moderate, 2 - 3 Hours, 22.8 Miles (one way). Technically, this is the back way from Lucerne Valley to Big Bear. The road surface is easy but switchbacks descending through Grapevine Canyon are narrow and steep. Soft sand makes them susceptible to erosion. Suitable for stock 4x4 SUVs.

 

33. Willow Creek Road - Near Lake Arrowhead, Easy, 1 - 2 Hours, 7.1 Miles. A nice combination of an easy graded trail and a rougher OHV one. Depending on what you prefer, you can choose the main graded route that crosses with a well known OHV trail of SBNF, or you can drive through other tougher 4WD trails. The trails are clearly marked. Passes several POI's: Deep Creek, Splinters Cabin.

 

34. Dishpan Springs - Near Lake Arrowhead, Difficult, 1 - 2 Hours depending on group size and vehicle capability, 4.8 Miles. Also called Deep Creek Trail, this short, hardcore trail offers large boulders and steep rocky climbs. Crossing Deep Creek no longer as difficult since SBFS laid concrete in the bottom. Ends near the beginning of #35 - Holcomb Creek.

 

35. Holcomb Creek - Near Lake Arrowhead, Difficult, 2 - 3 Hours depending on group size and vehicle capability, 6 Miles. One challenging boulder field after another, narrow and tippy in places, wet tires add to challenge when trail crosses tributaries to Holcomb Creek. Not recommended for stock vehicles; lockers, high ground clearance and skid plates a must!

 

36. Butler Peak - west of Big Bear Lake and Fawnskin, Easy, about 1 Hour (one way), 4.8 Miles. An unforgettable drive that climbs above 8,400 feet. A short hike at the end leads to a lookout tower. Suitable for stock vehicles if not covered in snow or icy.

 

37. John Bull Trail - Northeast of Big Bear Lake, Difficult, 2 Hours depending on group size and vehicle capability, 6.7 Miles. The toughest trail in the Big Bear area, features large boulders and steep climbs. The difficult area is 2.2 miles long; lockers, very high ground clearance and skid plates required.

 

38. Jacoby Canyon - Northeast of Big Bear Lake, Moderate, 1 Hour, 2.9 Miles. Plan longer to explore Lucky Baldwin Mine and enjoy views. Road drops into Jacoby Canyon then winds its way back to Hwy. 18.

 

39. Gold Mountain - Northeast of Big Bear Lake, Moderate with a few sharp ledges so it's rated Difficult, 1 - 2 Hours depending on group size and vehicle capability, 4.5 Miles. Very scenic, the trail zigzags up 8,235 foot Gold Mountain. Passes through historic gold mining country. Suitable for stock SUV's with aggressive tread tires, good articulation, and skid plates.

 

40. Clarks Summit - South of Big Bear Lake, Moderate, 4 - 5 Hours, 30 Miles. Explore the lesser traveled back side of Bear Mountain Ski Area. The upper part of the trail shares the same road with #41 - Skyline Drive. Steep and narrow in places, very scenic.

 

41. Skyline Drive - South of Big Bear Lake, Easy, 2 Hours, 13 Miles. A fun drive with great scenery.

 

42. Heartbreak Ridge - Between Big Bear Lake and Yucca Valley, Difficult, 3 - 4 Hours depending on group size and vehicle capability, 16.4 Miles. Travel on easy forest roads to remote canyons with rock-crawling challenges. Not a scenic trail. Many old mines in the area. Trail includes narrow canyons, steep shelf roads, large boulders and sharp rock. Not super difficult but fairly rough. Lockers, skid plates and ground clearance recommended.

 

43. Rattlesnake Canyon - Between Lucerne Valley and Yucca Valley, Moderate, 4 Hours, 32.3 Miles. Soft sandy soil through a narrow canyon susceptible to flood damage. A remote and little-known trail passes through a non-wilderness corridor of Bighorn Mountain Wilderness Area.

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Okay, I'll start the discussion. I want to do the hard trails that are near Arrowhead and Big Bear: Dishpan Springs, Holcomb Creek and John Bull. I've seen a lot of videos from those trails over the years, and the area seems to be very similar to The Rubicon Trail. The other 2 difficult trails; Heartbreak Ridge and Rattlesnake Canyon are really closer to Lucerne Valley if I'm not mistaken, so not sure if there's time. G & K got to explore that area once, maybe they will chime in and clarify.

 

I still think there's going to be plenty of time to do some of the easier trails as well, and of those I'm interested in Willow Creek Road, Jacoby Canyon, Gold Mt. and Clarks Summit.

 

There are some great 'how-to' videos produced by Poison Spyder Customs about some of the obstacles on the harder trails that I'll post in this thread.

 

Has anybody found any other cool stuff to go do/see while we're there?

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I'm mostly interested in the scenic and moderate trails, and those with mines & historical stuff to explore, but willing to go on a few of the more difficult ones if that's the group consensus. :cool:

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i'll review the descriptions and check out some videos in the coming week so that i am more familiar with the options.

 

my guess is that we'll likely be splitting into multiple groups on some days to run different levels of trails. if anyone besides G&D and myself might be willing to lead some of the easier trails please let us know.

 

i can say my top picks would be something with a bit of challenge that combines in great scenery and/or historical stuff. trails with water crossings get a +1 as do loops (versus same way back out). when i say "bit of challenge" i'm thinking a 3.5 out of 5 rating (along the lines of the Log Corral or Desoto Mine).

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Another trail to consider is White Mountain, 3N17. It's not listed in the Chas. Wells Guide; it is located on the ridge line overlooking the Lucerne Valley between Grapevine Canyon (trail #32) and John Bull (trail #37). Although the Forest Service rates it a black diamond trail, I first ran it when my Jeep was stock and a stock Jeep can still do this trail.

 

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Another trail to consider is White Mountain, 3N17. It's not listed in the Chas. Wells Guide; it is located on the ridge line overlooking the Lucerne Valley between Grapevine Canyon (trail #32) and John Bull (trail #37). Although the Forest Service rates it a black diamond trail, I first ran it when my Jeep was stock and a stock Jeep can still do this trail.

You coming up and helping guide us to "the special secret" trails? After all, you are the most local guide and experienced in the area. ;):cool:

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You coming up and helping guide us to "the special secret" trails? After all, you are the most local guide and experienced in the area. ;):cool:

 

By all means Russ you are welcome to join us - we would love to see you! Let me know if you want information i.e.: dates and where folks are staying...

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BTW Russ, There is a suggestion, that some of these trails match the Rubicon for difficulty. In your opinion...This True or not-so-much?

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The three most difficult trails in the Big Bear area are 1) John Bull, 2) Holcomb Creek and 3) Dishpan Springs. Each of those trails have obstacles that are equal in difficulty to Walker Hill, Little Sluice, Big Sluice or Cadillac Hill on the Rubicon Trail. The difference is that the 'con is over 16 miles in length and these trails are much shorter; John Bull and Dishpan Springs trails are only about four miles long, Holcomb Creek is six miles long but there are only four relatively short difficult areas. If you have done the Rubicon then you should be able to do these three trails and vice versa. I have 33s and lockers and I've been able to run all of these trails, except that I have always needed a strap to get through the east Gatekeeper of the John Bull trail. P1060226.jpg

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I tried to post a couple technical how-to videos from Dishpan Springs trail the other day but they failed for whatever reason. Anyhow, we've been reviewing a lot of different videos and trail reports, and in all honesty ALL the trails over there look like they're fun to run. We're down for whatever the group wants to do. We're taking Ricky Bobby, and since this will be our first time really wheeling it, if we don't run all the difficult trails it won't hurt my feelings.

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