Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Hike
|In This Guide|
|Distance||4 miles (6.4 km)|
|Hike Time||2:30 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,000 feet (305m)|
|Highest Elevation||5,737 feet (1749m)|
|Fees & Permits||Parking Pass|
|Park Website||San Bernardino National Forest|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
Feeling more like Joshua Tree than Lake Arrowhead, this short but tough hike to the summit of The Pinnacles rewards you with a stone perch where you can soak in 360-degree views from the mountains to the Mojave. The hike ascends through a granite boulder field to a small plateau, then after a last mild scramble to the boulder-pile summit, you reach The Pinnacles peak. It’s a fun hike that’s a bit off the beaten path; don’t be surprised if you have the whole place to yourself.
As a bonus, the Pinnacles peak is part of the Sierra Club 100 Peaks (SoCal) list.
How To Get to the Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail
The trailhead is in the Lake Arrowhead area, on the east side where the mountains transition to the desert. Getting to the trailhead is kind of tricky on paper but easy when you get there. The official trailhead is right by the Arrowhead Fish & Game Conservation Club (a gun club and shooting range). But the parking area is a minute or two before you reach the official trailhead on your left. When you’re about 3-4 minutes out from the destination on your GPS, keep an eye open on the left for the trail sign and parking area.
Use this address in Google Maps to get to the official start:
Pinnacles Trail 3W16, CA-173, Hesperia, CA 92345
The address for the parking area isn’t on Google Maps, but you can use the geo coordinates:
There are no bathrooms at the trailhead.
Since you’re in San Bernardino National Forest, you need a parks pass or Adventure Pass in your window when you park.
CA-173 can close when there’s a lot of snow and ice, check the conditions here if in doubt.
Deciding Where To Start the Hike
Why do I have two trailheads? Well, if you use the official trailhead, you need to walk down the road from the parking area. It’s a short walk and not a big deal. Here’s what the official trailhead looks, which is next to the fence of the gun club.
I choose to start the hike in the parking area, which is the way I’ve listed in the directions that follow. I like it better because I avoid the walk along the road and avoid getting closer to any shooting that could be happening on the gun club range. The gun range can get loud and is not my cup of tea when hiking.
You can certainly walk to the official trailhead and do the hike. I’ll show you where you join the hike in the directions below.
Gear For the Hike
There is almost no shade on this hike, so plenty of water is a must. Otherwise you can probably get away with fitness gear, but I opt for my regular hiking kit here. There is a bit of boulder scrambling, so if you hike with trekking poles, make sure you can attach them to your pack when you need both hands to climb.
I try a lot of hiking boots and shoes, and there are some great options out there, but the La Sportiva Spire is the best combination of comfort, protection, low-weight, and durability. They are waterproof, and the high cuff keeps debris out without the need for a gaiter. Time tested over thousands of miles. Use them with a two-layer sock system to end blisters for good.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
On a medium or longer hike I recommend a pack like the Osprey Talon 33 (men) or Osprey Sirrus 36 (women) which is a little bit larger. These packs are on the upper end of the (35L) daypack range, but they only weigh a small fraction more than a pack with less capacity. Having the extra space gives you more flexibility and means you don’t have to jam things in there. I use the space for things like extra layers in the winter, extra water on desert hikes, and even a tent & sleeping bag on overnights.
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.
I’m a big fan of GPS watches (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar. I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy and does a lot of the same things.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Maps
As I mention in my directions below, there are a lot of side trails and splits. The area is popular with rock climbers and there are trails to various climbing spots. In fact, it’s supposed to be one of the best climbing spots in the LA area, similar to Joshua Tree. So if that’s your bag, you can climb too. But for the hike, I’d recommend referring to the GPX file if you come to a split and you’re in doubt.
Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Hike Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Arrowhead Pinnacles Elevation Profile
Arrowhead Pinnacles 3D Map
Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Hike Directions
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FYI I have a version of this video in 360/VR format. Not familiar with the benefits of 360 video? Then watch this.
Turn by Turn Directions
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.