Great hiking can be found on the San Bernardino hiking trails. One of the main reasons hiking is so popular is our array of foliage. It is only one of 3 mountain ranges in the world that runs East and West in a Mediterranean climate. This gives the San Bernardino Mountains a variety of unique eco-climate zones. The temperatures in the area are usually 15 to 20 degrees cooler than down the hill. If you get out in the morning it’s usually very pleasant even in the dog days of summer. Hiking has many benefits for your mental and physical health. Come up and get some of the best exercise known to humans: a walk in the forest! If you would like to enjoy the San Bernardino hiking trails with a group, scroll down to the bottom of this page and find the Mountain Top Hiking Club Hiking Schedule.
The San Bernardino National Forest has some great places to hike with various skill levels. Here is a list of our favorite hikes in the Lake Arrowhead area arranged from easy to difficult. We suggest you start with the Heaps Peaks Arboretum interpretive trail so you can learn about our forest. It will make the rest of your hiking more interesting. Most trail heads are marked by a brown post with forest service number on it.
Heaps Peak Arboretum Trail
This interpretive trail is located 1.4 miles east of Skyforest on Highway 18. The trail loops around and 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. Staffed information at this location. This site is wheel chair accessible and very gentle in skill level.
Seeley Creek Trail aka Heart Rock
One of the most famous hikes in the San Bernardino Mountains because of a heart perfectly formed from the cascading water of the falls. It is also near Camp Seeley where the movie The Parent Trap was filmed! It is an easy 1 mile hike, great for an engagement proposal. Pack a picnic lunch with some champagne and pop the question in front of the falls. So romantic! It is located 1/4 of a mile south of the entrance to Camp Seeley on Highway 189 just past “The Valley of Enchantment.”
Trail of the Phoenix aka The National Children’s Forest
This paved nature trail begins at the entrance of the National Children’s Forest off Keller peak road off highway 18 near Running Springs. This trail is specifically designed and maintained to accommodate the needs of people with visual or physical disabilities. The trail has a grade of 5% or less the whole way. All interpretive signs are in distinctive print and braille.
Indian Rock Camp Trail aka Metate Trail
This .05 mile hiking trail is an easy walk and a historical/cultural find! The hiking trail leads to bedrock mortars, called metates, used by the Serrano native Americans to grind acorns to make flour. The Serranos 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 pestle stones.
North Shore Recreational Trail
This moderately difficult trail is easily reached once you get to Lake Arrowhead. Follow 173 until you get to Papoose Lake, turn east on Torrey Road (Opposite the Lake Arrowhead Marina). Turn at the first left and follow the dirt road 1/2 mile to where you see the trailhead. The trail gently descends through a mixed conifer forest and settles finally along Little Bear Creek.
Deep Creek Hot Springs
Deep Creek is a favorite spot among the locals with its natural healing hot springs. It is an out and back hike, so head out early so you can spend the day and get back before dark. Also, be aware that clothing is optional here, so if you are squeamish of nudists of all ages and body types, this might not be the hike for you. Here are some really clear directions to get there with pictures of land marks. You may want to pack in these things to make the trip more enjoyable: plenty of water to drink (Do NOT drink the water in the stream!), reef shoes or flip flops for the hot springs (the rocks can be jagged on the bottom of the hot springs), some snacks or a picnic lunch, a small 1st aid kit, a large brimmed hat (It is the desert and it gets hot out there!), a water proof camera (if you take any pictures, consider posting them with a comment here), and thick socks for the hike back. Remember to pack out all of your trash, and if you really want to go the extra mile, pack out as much trash as you can carry from people who weren’t as respectful of the place as you are.