- Home - Hiking Trails - LA Mountain Hikes San Bernardino Peak Hike
The San Bernardino Peak (10,649 feet) hike is tough but rewarding. The crowds are light and it offers sweeping views of Mt Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, and the Inland Empire.
16 miles (25.8 km)
4650 ft (1417 m)
Marked Forest Service Trails
Great Views, Climbing
Planning for the San Bernardino Peak Hike You have the option of splitting this day hike into an overnight backpacking trip. Limber Pine Bench camp is one of the most scenic camping spots in the area. Call the ranger’s office to check on availability of campsites. You need a (free) permit to hike San Bernardino Peak, and it’s easy to get. Call the Mill Creek Visitor Center at 909-382-2882 and see if there is a space open for the day you want. If there are spaces available on your date, go to the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association website and follow instructions on getting a permit. You can send the permit by mail, or for a quicker turnaround, fax the PDF form in. After faxing, I got my permit back within the hour. You can also walk into the Mill Creek Visitor Center and get a walk-up permit. If there are spaces left, you just fill out the form and start hiking. If not, you don’t. There might be a ranger at the trailhead or on the trail checking permits. Just show them your piece of paper and he’ll mark it. It’s as easy at that. San Bernardino Peak Hike Trail Maps
Google Maps trailhead:
5766 Frontage Rd, Angelus Oaks, CA, 92305, USA The San Bernardino Peak Hike trailhead is about 90 minutes east of downtown LA. The hike has incredible views for most the way up to San Bernardino Peak. You can see it climbs along the side of the mountain, with nothing blocking the view into the valley. It's a steep hike but there's a nice plateau in the middle of the hike where you can catch your breath. Interactive Map San Bernardino Peak Hike Map Downloads View a Printable PDF Hike Map Download the Hike GPX File Gear for the San Bernardino Peak Hike The best hydration daypack out there. The CamelBak Fourteener has been perfect on hikes of all distances (including Mt Whitney and Cactus to Clouds). It's light, has plenty of room for super-food snacks, extra layers, hiking gear, and comes with a 3 liter water bladder. I also like the raised sweat pads on the back that keep your back dry. It's the perfect blend of high-tech, durability, and simplicity. I've got hundreds of hours on it and still love it. CamelBak Fourteener Reviews My favorite hiking boot of all time. The La Sportiva Synthesis (for men and women) are waterproof, super-light, have incredible grip, and won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award ( my review here). I've gone through a lot of boots and these are my favorite. They feel like comfortable sneakers with the protection of hiking boots. La Sportiva Hiking Boot Reviews Don't hike without this in your backpack. It's a GPS emergency beacon and can save your life ( more on that here). On the trail, you're often out of cell phone range, and even something as simple as a twisted ankle could become a life and death situation. This beacon works where cell phones don't and is the size of a fist. Just press a button and help is on the way. Your life is worth every penny. ACR GPS Beacon Reviews And don't forget to My complete list of hiking gear and survival kit contents is here, check it out! check out REI outlet for great gear at half price. San Bernardino Peak Hike Directions What to Expect The San Bernardino Peak hike is a tough hike, but not technical. You need a good level of fitness to attempt it. I recommend hiking Cucamonga Peak and Ontario Peak to build up to San Bernardino Peak. Likewise, you need to be well prepared with layers, water, and food. Call the ranger office to check conditions before you leave. Don’t do this hike in the winter unless you have snow and ice hiking experience. You might feel the effects of altitude on this hike, including headache, fatigue, and nausea. If you do, stop, and rest. Make sure you’re well hydrated. If, after resting, you still feel the symptoms, be prudent and turn around. Some people pop a Diamox. Limber Pine also has a spring to fill up water bottles. The spring doesn’t always have water, so don’t count on it. You have about a 5 minute drive on a dirt road to the trailhead. It’s driveable without a 4×4 if you go slow. You need a parking pass. I use the affordable National Parks Pass, which gets me in every park, monument, and national forest. You can also use an (Southern California only) Adventure Pass, or buy a $5 day permit from the ranger’s office. Turn by Turn Directions The trailhead GPS address that I listed is for the fire station. Once there, you’ll see this sign for the forest road. Keep going up the road toward IW07. A few feet after that last sign, you’ll see this helpful sign directing you to the trailhead. A big sign directs you onto the dirt road to the trailhead. Note, the tape over the sign is still from when the trail was closed due to fires earlier in the year. Once on the dirt road, there’s a split and trail sign, stay right. Grab a spot in the parking lot. Get here early, the lot fills up. You might have to get creative and park down the road if it’s full. Also, note the cars in the lot. You don’t need a high-clearance vehicle if you go slow on the dirt road. Check out the hiking board for any trail notices. Bring your approved permit and bring it along on your hike. A ranger might ask to see it on your hike. The trail starts right by the boards. Ignore the gate at the far end of the lot and start the hike here. The trail climbs for the first few miles. Pace yourself and take breaks. The trail makes it’s way up toward San Bernardino peak on a series of well-designed switchbacks built by the CCC in the 1930s. One of the great things about the San Bernardino Peak hike is the views, and they start right from the beginning. Take breaks to catch your breath and soak it all in. You’ll get great views of Mt. Baldy, Angeles National Forest, and the Santa Ana Mountains as you climb this section. After the majority of the switchbacks, you’ll reach this cool San Gorgonio Wilderness sign. At about 3 miles, the trail starts to level out and you hike across Manzanita Flats. There are great views from Manzanita Flats. To your left are the mountains around Big Bear, to the right, San Bernardino Peak. At about 4 miles, you’ll reach a trail junction. Hike straight through toward Limber Pine. Closeup of the trail junction sign. Remember, continue hiking towards Limber Pine. After Manzanita Flats, the trail starts going up again. At about 5.7 miles, you reach LImber Pine campground. This back-country campground is a great option if you want to do the San Bernardino Peak hike as an overnight backpacking trip. The views from this campground are spectacular. Head to the left through the campground. Follow the stone path to the left through the Limber Pine campground. There’s a sign along the trail in the campground pointing you toward San Bernardino Peak. More uphill! The views are incredible as you climb. At about 7.2 miles, the trail goes left, but hike to the overlook on the right. A cool stone bench sits at the overlook. Great photo opportunities here. San Jacinto Peak looms on the horizon. In the valley below, you’ll see Mill Creek and the VIvian Creek trailhead for the hike to San Gorgonio. After soaking in the views, continue hiking on the trail to San Bernardino Peak. Almost there! As you climb, you’ll get views of Big Bear Lake to your left. At about 8 miles, the trail splits. Head right up the steep trail for the last few hundred feet to the peak. A small cairn marks the trail junction. It’s easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled. Success! You did it. The pile of rocks marks San Bernardino Peak. Sign the trail registry, located in the rocks. Soak in the views of San Jacinto Peak, San Gorgonio Mountain, and Mt Baldy from San Bernardino Peak. Head back down the way you came to finish the hike. About 10 -15 minutes down the trail, you’ll see a left hand turnoff to Washington’s Monument. A metal sign marks the spot. Hike to the left for the side trip to the monument. This plaque gives some background on Washington’s Monument at the trail junction. This pile of rocks is Washington’s Monument! The rock pile is actually a sighting point for surveyors, setup by Colonel Henry Washington in 1852. From here, just head back down the way you came to finish the hike. San Bernardino Peak Hike Video Please subscribe to my YouTube channel here!
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Read More A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
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