Pineknot Trail To Grand View Point Big Bear

Pineknot Trail to Grand View Point (Big Bear)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Grand View Point
  • How to Get to the Pineknot Trail
  • Grand View Hike Maps
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations for the Hike
Total Distance (?)7.5 miles (12.1 km)
Hike Time2:30-3:30 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,200 feet (366m)
Highest Elevation7,720 feet (2353m)
Fees & PermitsParking Pass
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)San Bernardino National Forest
Park Phone909-382-2790

While it isn’t a hike to a high mountain summit, taking the serene and scenic Pineknot Trail up to Grand View Point offers you a similar payoff, but without a big effort. The trail climbs gently through the pine forest, with glimpses down to Big Bear Lake, and then ends at Grand View Point, which has sweeping views of the San Bernardino high peaks. Overall it’s a pleasant hike that offers something nice for hikers of all ability levels.

Where is the Pineknot Trail?

The Pineknot Trail is located in the town of Big Bear Lake, and it starts at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area. Use this trailhead address:
Aspen Glen Picnic Area, 40105 Mill Creek Rd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315

Pineknot To Grand View Hike 1
Look for the Aspen Glen Picnic Area nestled in the middle of a residential area.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 2
There’s a moderate amount of parking, but I’ve never seen the lot full early in the morning.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 3
Since Aspen Glen offers picnic benches and a bathroom, there is a fee. You can use an Adventure Pass or a national parks pass, which I highly recommend investing in.

Gear For the Hike

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
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 Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.


Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up to 40% off here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated July 2021.

My July 2021 Top Gear Picks

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 keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Pineknot Trail Maps

Overall the trail is in great condition, and a local cycling club has even adopted some new trail signs. There are several cutoffs, trail updates, and use trails initially, and I’ll tell you how to navigate them below. You’ll share the trail with mountain bikers.

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Fenix 6 Pro

How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 Smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable Garmin Instinct). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.

Elevation Profile

Pineknot Trail Elevation
You’ll climb about 300-400 feet every mile, which is a gradual gradient. Some sections are uphill, none steep, some rolling, and there are many flat sections in between.

3D Map

Pineknot Trail 360 Map
From the parking area you’ll wind your way up Red Ant Canyon (yup) to Skyline Road. Just past that is Grand View Point.

Pineknot to Grand View Hike Directions

It’s easy to say thank you for this guide!

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Video Directions

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

Pineknot To Grand View Hike 4
The trailhead is on the other side of day use area, past the picnic benches.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 5
Look for the official trailhead where the clearing ends.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 6
It’s a little farther than this. You’ll see a mix of the old a new signs along the way.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 7
The beginning of the hike is the most confusing, with lots of cutoff trails. The official trail goes left along the gully, and up along the other side of the gully.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 8
When you come around the bend on end of the gully, stay straight on the new trail, not back to the left.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 9
Once around the bend hike straight on the trail.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 10
Soon you’ll hike around a corner and leave the confusing start behind.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 11
At the intersection, go straight through.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 12
Here’s the sign at intersection. We’re heading to Skyline (before continuing to Grand View). Also note that the new signs refer to the trail as the “Pine Knot” and not the “Pineknot” which is the official spelling.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 13
Now you have a nice long gradual uphill through the pines.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 14
Avoid several cutoffs which you’ll see on this stretch.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 15
As you ascend you’ll get some views down to Big Bear Lake.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 16
At the junction stay right and continue on the Pineknot Trail, which goes downhill for a short stretch.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 17
Just past the junction there’s a nice bench with views to Big Bear Lake.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 18
Now you have a long cruise uphill toward Skyline Road.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 19
Go straight past a side trail that joins from the right.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 20
When you get to Knickerbocker Road (2N08), cross and bear left for a hot second.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 21
And then look for the Pineknot Trail to continue across the road.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 22
The trail levels off and there’s another bench.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 23
And then you’ll see Deer Group Campground on the left.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 24
Hike across the access road to Deer Group Campground.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 25
And then the trail follows the dirt road down to the right.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 26
And soon you’ll arrive at Skyline Road. Cross the road and visit the viewpoint.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 27
From the viewpoint you’ll get a preview of Grand View. The tallest mountain in the distance is San Gorgonio, the highest peak in Southern California.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 28
Once you’ve enjoyed the view, head back to the trail and continue about 0.25 miles to Grand View Point.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 31
There’s another sign right there confirming that you are on the trail to Grand View Point.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 29
You have a little climbing left to do.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 30
And then you’ll arrive at the hilltop at Grand View Point.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 33
There’s a nice bench to take in the views.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 34
And an interpretive display that explains what you are looking at. You have a sweeping panoramic view of the San Bernardino Mountain high peaks, also known as “10,000 foot ridge” since all the peaks are above that attitude.
Pineknot To Grand View Hike 35
The peak in the middle without any trees is San Gorgonio at 11,499 feet. In the winter this range is usually covered in snow.

From here, just hike back the way you came up.

This guide last updated on July 6, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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