The Beeks Place hike takes you to the ruins of an old cabin compound built at a scenic spot high in the Santa Ana Mountains. From Beeks Place, you can see from San Gorgonio to Mt Baldy to Catalina. The hike is challenging, taking you 2000 feet up fire roads through the mountains, and along the way, you get epic views, hidden pastures, and even a Native American settlement. While Beeks Place might not be a big-name peak bagging experience, it is a nice long mountain hike that you can do all year.
Beeks Place is just off Main Divide Road, the rugged dirt road that traverses the Santa Ana Mountains, and you can actually drive up there in a 4x4. But what fun would that be? We'll hike to it instead. The most popular hiking route to Beeks Place is up Black Star Canyon Road, and that's the route covered in this guide.
There are no bathrooms or water fills at the trailhead.
Gear for the Hike
This is a long hike in the mountains, so prepare accordingly. I don't recommend doing this hike when it's hot out. There's almost no shade once you leave the canyon, and the temperatures can be brutal in Cleveland NF. Either way, bring 3L of water, snacks, and sun protection.
Gear That I Love Right Now
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This hike follows fire roads up to Beeks Place. In general they are wide, graded gradually, and easy to follow. Despite the fact that the hike is on fire roads and not single-track, it's still scenic and fun. Just watch out for mountain bikers who often fly downhill here; there's a local challenge to ride to Beeks Place and back in an hour or less.
There are a number of private land parcels along the hike, especially on the beginning stretch. They are well-marked, fenced off, and often have multiple warning signs. Just stay on the main Black Star Canyon Road and you'll be fine.
A few minutes past the settlement is Hidden Ranch, which is where in 1899 the owners got into a dispute about money owed (about $550 in today's dollars) and ended up killing someone. The trial was a big deal and the ranch owners ended up getting out free. If you want to dive deeper, see if your library has Shadows of Old Saddleback, which has a good history of the area.
And then there's Beeks Place. The first cabins were built in 1929 by Joe Beek, the the longest-serving Secretary of the Senate in California history (1919–68), and the guy who was attributed with developing the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach as a tourist attraction. The cabins once had a pool and wind-powered electricity. In the 1970s Main Divide road opened automobile access to Beeks Cabin, and vandals would come and steal, shoot, and destroy the cabins. Eventually they were abandoned. And today, according to this brochure, you actually buy it. It's a bit of a fixer-upper.