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San Bernardino Peak Hike view

San Bernardino Peak Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions & Video
  • Do You Need a Permit?
  • San Bernardino Peak Trail Maps
  • How to Get to the Trailhead
Total Distance (?)16 miles (25.8 km)
Hike Time8 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)4,670 feet (1423m)
Highest Elevation10,649 feet (3246m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee & Day Use Permit
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Mill Creek Visitor Center
Park Phone909-382-2882

The San Bernardino Peak (10,649 feet) hike is tough but rewarding. The San Bernardino Mountains were named after San Bernardino Peak, which was named by one of the pioneer friars in California, Francisco Dumetz in 1835. I like this hike a lot. The crowds are light, the fauna is beautiful, and it offers sweeping views of Mt Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, and the Inland Empire.Planning for the San Bernardino Peak Hike

The San Bernardino Peak Trail is currently closed after being hit hard in the El Dorado fire. You can check the current status of the trail on the Forest Service site. Hiking the trail when closed puts your life in danger, the lives of potential rescuers, and delays the restoration and opening of the trail.

Where Is The San Bernardino Peak Hike?

Use this trailhead GPS address: 5766 Frontage Rd, Angelus Oaks, CA 92305, which will get you to the fire station. Detailed directions to the trailhead parking are below.

IW07 sign
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.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trailhead sign
A few feet after that last sign, you’ll see this helpful sign directing you to the trailhead.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trailhead sign
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.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trailhead sign
Once on the dirt road, there’s a split and trail sign, stay right.
San Bernardino Peak Hike parking
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.

There are no bathrooms at the trailhead.

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.

Preparing for the San Bernardino Peak Hike

After a stretch where no permits were needed, they have been reinstated.

Gear for the Hike

This is a tough backcountry hike, and you need to be well prepared with layers, water, and food. Check the summit weather and call the ranger office to check conditions before you leave. Be prepared for changing conditions.

Limber Pine Bench Camp also has a spring to fill up water bottles. The spring doesn’t always have water, so don’t count on it.

If you want to check if there’s snow on your hike, read this guide.

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.

Gaiagps

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.

San Bernardino Peak Trail Maps

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.

San Bernardino Peak Hike 3d map
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.
San Bernardino Peak Hike elevation
It’s a steep hike but there’s a nice plateau in the middle of the hike where you can catch your breath.

San Bernardino Peak Hike Directions

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

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Don’t do this hike in the winter unless you have snow and ice hiking experience.

Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

San Bernardino Peak Hike start
The trail starts right by the boards. Ignore the gate at the far end of the lot and start the hike here.
San Bernardino Peak Hike board
Check out the hiking board for any trail notices.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail
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.
San Bernardino Peak Hike views
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.
San Gorgonio Wilderness sign
After the majority of the switchbacks, you’ll reach this cool San Gorgonio Wilderness sign.
Manzanita Flats
At about 3 miles, the trail starts to level out and you hike across Manzanita Flats.
Manzanita Flats views
There are great views from Manzanita Flats. To your left are the mountains around Big Bear, to the right, San Bernardino Peak.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail junction
At about 4 miles, you’ll reach a trail junction. Hike straight through toward Limber Pine.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail junction
Closeup of the trail junction sign. Remember, continue hiking towards Limber Pine.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail
After Manzanita Flats, the trail starts going up again.
LImber Pine campground
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.
Limber Pine campground
Follow the stone path to the left through the Limber Pine campground.
San Bernardino Peak Hike sign
There’s a sign along the trail in the campground pointing you toward San Bernardino Peak.
San Bernardino Peak Hike climbs
More uphill! The views are incredible as you climb.
San Bernardino Peak Hike overlook
At about 7.2 miles, the trail goes left, but hike to the overlook on the right.
cris hazzard at overlook
A cool stone bench sits at the overlook. Great photo opportunities here.
San Bernardino Peak Hike view
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.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail
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.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail junction
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.
cris hazzard at San Bernardino Peak
Success! You did it. The pile of rocks marks San Bernardino Peak.
trail registry
Sign the trail registry, located in the rocks.
views from San Bernardino Peak
Soak in the views of San Jacinto Peak, San Gorgonio Mountain, and Mt Baldy from San Bernardino Peak.
San Bernardino Peak Hike trail junction
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.
Washington’s Monument sign
This plaque gives some background on Washington’s Monument at the trail junction.
Washington’s Monument
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.

This guide last updated on June 3, 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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