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Afoot & Afield: Inland Empire: 256 Spectacular Outings in Southern California

Afoot & Afield: Inland Empire: 256 Spectacular Outings in Southern California

by David Harris

Paperback(More than 60 new trips Newly designated national monuments in Southern California San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Sand to Snow National Monument Mojave Trails National Monument Castle Peaks National Monument)

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Discover more than 250 hikes in Southern California!

The Inland Empire is truly a hiker’s paradise. This vast region east of Los Angeles, encompassing Riverside and San Bernardino counties, brims with cactus-studded deserts, snow-capped summits, shady forests, sparkling lakes, and lush palm oases. Updated with more than 60 new hikes, Afoot & Afield: Inland Empire offers a comprehensive collection of hiking adventures for everyone from families with young children to experienced mountaineers seeking the ultimate challenge. This guide covers the millions of acres of public lands in the region, including the Mount Baldy Area, San Bernardino Mountains (Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, and San Gorgonio Wilderness), Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, the Palm Springs Area, Urban and Desert Parks and Preserves, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Mojave Trails National Monument.

Inside the book, you’ll find at-a-glance basics including distance, hiking time, and difficulty. Trail maps with GPS waypoints, as well as accurate and precise hiking and driving directions, help to ensure that you know where to go. Notes on which trails are suitable for kids, mountain bikers, equestrians, dogs, and backpackers allow you to find the perfect trails for your interests. Plus, stories of the area’s human history, botany, and geology provide fascinating and entertaining information. Most trips are an easy drive from San Bernardino, Ontario, Riverside, and other Southland communities—so go afoot and get afield!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899978154
Publisher: Adventure Publications, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Series: Afoot & Afield
Edition description: More than 60 new trips Newly designated national monuments in Southern California San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Sand to Snow National Monument Mojave Trails National Monument Castle Peaks National Monument
Pages: 504
Sales rank: 498,347
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

David Harris is a professor of engineering at Harvey Mudd College. He is the author or coauthor of seven hiking guidebooks and five engineering textbooks. David grew up rambling about the Desolation Wilderness as a toddler in his father’s pack and later roamed the High Sierra as a Boy Scout. As a Sierra Club trip leader, he organized mountaineering trips throughout the Sierra Nevada. Since 1999, he has been exploring the mountains and deserts of Southern California. David is the father of three sons, with whom he loves sharing the outdoors.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 4: San Bernardino Mountains: Big Bear Lake Area

The San Bernardino Mountains are part of California’s unusual Transverse Ranges, which run east to west rather than north to south. They’ve long attracted the attention of humans, at first for hunting, logging, and gold, but now primarily for recreation. The range is so large that trips for this area are divided into three chapters. This chapter focuses on the eastern end, where richly forested hills circle the jewel-like Big Bear Lake. Chapter 3 describes the western end, especially around Lake Arrowhead and the alluring creeks at the interface of forest and desert. Chapter 5 explores the steep and rugged San Gorgonio Wilderness on the southeast side of the range, cut off from Big Bear by the deep trench of the Santa Ana River.

When ranchers, loggers, and miners first explored the San Bernardino Mountains, they found a long alpine meadow tucked between two ridges at the head of a creek. A seasonal lake, now called Baldwin Lake, sat at the east end of the valley. Benjamin Wilson and his posse stormed into the valley in 1845 in pursuit of Indians who had been rustling cattle from ranches in Riverside. Instead of locating the marauders, Wilson’s gang discovered swarms of grizzly bears. He later wrote of the experience: “Twenty-two Californians went out in pairs, and each pair lassoed one bear, and brought the result to camp, so that we had at one and the same time eleven bears. That prompted me to give the Lake the name it now bears.” Wilson’s story didn’t end here; he went on to become the first mayor of Los Angeles, a California state senator, and a wealthy philanthropist. A prominent mountain overlooking Pasadena also bears Wilson’s name.

Big Bear Lake, as we know it, didn’t exist at the time Wilson named it. In 1884, citrus ranchers in Redlands began to build a dam across the mouth of Bear Valley to create a reservoir. In 1910, the dam was expanded to its present height, forming, at the time, the world’s largest man-made lake.

Hunters flocked to the San Bernardino Mountains in search of grizzly pelts. By 1906, the majestic beast was hunted to extinction in this range. In 1860, while tracking a wounded grizzly, Bill Holcomb discovered gold. Miners flocked to the valley north of Big Bear, which became known as Holcomb Valley, and soon a boomtown of 2,000 sprung up, becoming the most populous place in San Bernardino County. Within two years, it became evident that the visions of riches were overblown and the prospectors drifted away. The colorful Elias “Lucky” Baldwin started a second boom in 1874 at the nearby Gold Mountain, but it, too, proved disappointing.

Although gold prospectors were unsuccessful, entrepreneurs soon realized the lumber potential in the rich forestlands. Approximately 22 sawmills were built in the vicinity of Big Bear. The intensive timber harvesting proved unsustainable and the environmental catastrophes that followed led President Roosevelt to establish a reserve in 1906 to protect the remaining forests in the San Bernardino Mountains.

In the first part of the 20th century, winter-sports enthusiasts began developing the slopes around the lake. By the 1950s and 1960s, skiing became a big business, and now Big Bear is best known among Southern Californians for the ski slopes. In the 1940s, developers pushed hard to establish a massive downhill ski area in the San Gorgonio wilderness south of Big Bear. Conservationists put up a fierce battle and ultimately prevailed when chief forester Lyle Watts ruled that the mountains had “a higher public value as a wilderness and a watershed than as a downhill ski area.” Threats of development continue to resurface from time to time. Big Bear is now a popular mountain resort community. Skiers and snowboarders flock to the lifts during the winter, while boaters and anglers come in droves during the summer. The community of Big Bear Lake on the south side along Highway 18 offers every amenity that a visitor might desire. The ridges on all sides are laced with easy and moderate trails to tempt hikers up from the lake to the refreshingly cool ridges of the mountains. The Sierra Club has a summer tradition of hiking the Five Peaks of Big Bear: Bertha, Grays, Delamar, Gold, and Sugarloaf.

Cross-country skiers enjoy the dirt roads around Big Bear in the winter. Some particularly suitable roads include 2N93 to Wildhorse Meadows, with great views of San Gorgonio, Polique Canyon Road (2N09) near Fawnskin, and the gently graded Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09).

Trip 4.1: Grays Peak

Distance: 7 miles (out-and-back)

Hiking Time: 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 1,200'

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Use: Dogs allowed, suitable for mountain biking, suitable for equestrians

Best Times: April–October

Agency: San Bernardino National Forest (Big Bear Discovery Center)

Recommended Map: USGS Fawnskin 7.5'

DIRECTIONS Follow Highway 38 along the north shore of Big Bear Lake to the Grays Peak parking area, just west of mile marker 038 SBD 56.41, 2.7 miles northeast of Bear Valley Dam and Highway 18, and a half mile southwest of Fawnskin. There are restrooms and picnic tables here, along with many spaces for parking.

Grays Peak is named for Alex Gray, who founded Gray’s Landing on the north shore of Big Bear Lake in 1918. The 7,952-foot summit is heavily forested, making for an enjoyable walk through the woods. This is one of the most popular moderate hikes in the Big Bear area and you should expect to have plenty of company on a pleasant summer day. Grays Peak is a winter habitat for recently reestablished bald eagles, and the trail is closed November 1–April 1.

From the signed trailhead, follow the trail north overlooking the highway and Grout Bay. The trail soon begins switchbacking northwest up the Jeffrey pine–, white fir–, and black oak–clad slopes. After cresting the low ridge, the trail abruptly turns left and reaches Forest Road 2N04X in 0.7 mile. Turn right. In 0.3 mile, turn right again at a T-junction with Forest Road 2N70.

In 0.1 mile, reach a sign on the left (south) for the Grays Peak Trail. Take this trail as it climbs through the forest. The Butler 2 Fire burned 14,000 acres on the northwest side of Big Bear Lake in September 2007. It singed the northwest side of Grays Peak and incinerated most of the forest around Hanna Flat and Butler Peak. You’ll have occasional glimpses through the trees down to the lake below. After 2 miles of climbing, the trail circles around the summit and ends 100 feet below the top. You’ll have to scramble through buckthorns and over fallen logs if you wish to reach the true high point.


Grays Peak can also be reached from Grays Peak Group Camp. A 1.4-mile trail leads east from the camp to a point lying immediately northwest of the junction of the Grays Peak Trail with Forest Road 2N70. Pick up the Grays Peak Trail on the south side of 2N70 and follow the directions above for 2 miles to the summit.

A 1.5-mile trail also connects Grays Peak Group Camp to Hanna Flat Campground.

Table of Contents






  • Geography and Weather
  • Safety
  • Courtesy
  • Camping
  • Using This Book
  • Map Legend
  • Hiking with a GPS

  • Trip 1.1 Mount Baldy Loop
  • Trip 1.2 San Antonio Falls
  • Trip 1.3 North Backbone Traverse
  • Trip 1.4 Bear Flat
  • Trip 1.5 Bear Ridge
  • Trip 1.6 Lookout Mountain
  • Trip 1.7 Icehouse Canyon
  • Trip 1.8 Cedar Glen
  • Trip 1.9 Ontario Peak
  • Trip 1.10 Cucamonga Peak
  • Trip 1.11 The Three T’s
  • Trip 1.12 Nine Baldy Area Peaks
  • Trip 1.13 Iron Mountain
  • Trip 1.14 San Antonio Ridge
  • Trip 1.15 Icehouse Saddle from Lytle Creek
  • Trip 1.16 Etiwanda Peak
  • Trip 1.17 Bonita Falls

  • Trip 2.1 Sunset Peak
  • Trip 2.2 Sunset Ridge
  • Trip 2.3 Stoddard Peak
  • Trip 2.4 Frankish Peak
  • Trip 2.5 Etiwanda Falls and Preserve

  • Trip 3.1 Deep Creek Hot Springs
  • Trip 3.2 Heart Rock
  • Trip 3.3 The Pinnacles
  • Trip 3.4 Rock Camp/Metate Interpretive Trail
  • Trip 3.5 Little Bear Creek
  • Trip 3.6 Deep Creek
  • Trip 3.7 Fisherman’s Camp
  • Trip 3.8 Deep Creek Canyoneering
  • Trip 3.9 Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp
  • Trip 3.10 Cox Creek
  • Trip 3.11 Heaps Peak Arboretum
  • Trip 3.12 Exploration Trail
  • Trip 3.13 Little Green Valley

  • Trip 4.1 Grays Peak
  • Trip 4.2 Delamar Mountain
  • Trip 4.3 Cougar Crest (and Bertha Peak)
  • Trip 4.4 Alpine Pedal Path
  • Trip 4.5 Woodland Trail
  • Trip 4.6 Gold Mountain
  • Trip 4.7 Sugarloaf Mountain
  • Trip 4.8 Wildhorse Creek
  • Trip 4.9 Grand View Point
  • Trip 4.10 Castle Rock
  • Trip 4.11 Skyline Trail
  • Trip 4.12 Seven Oaks Trail
  • Trip 4.13 Champion Lodgepole Pine
  • Trip 4.14 Siberia Creek Trail Camp from Champion Lodgepole Pine
  • Trip 4.15 Siberia Creek Trail Camp from Snow Valley
  • Trip 4.16 Siberia Creek Trail Camp from Seven Pines
  • Trip 4.17 Butler Peak
  • Trip 4.18 Granite Peaks
  • CHAPTER 5: SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS: San Gorgonio Wilderness

  • Trip 5.1 San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek
  • Trip 5.2 Little San Gorgonio Peak
  • Trip 5.3 Galena Peak
  • Trip 5.4 Big Falls
  • Trip 5.5 Alger Creek or Dobbs Trail Camp
  • Trip 5.6 Momyer to Falls Creek Loop
  • Trip 5.7 Aqueduct Trail
  • Trip 5.8 Mountain Home Flats
  • Trip 5.9 San Bernardino Peak
  • Trip 5.10 Whispering Pines and Ponderosa Vista Nature Trails
  • Trip 5.11 Johns Meadow
  • Trip 5.12 San Bernardino Peak via Forsee Creek
  • Trip 5.13 South Fork Meadows
  • Trip 5.14 San Gorgonio via Dollar and Dry Lakes
  • Trip 5.15 Jenks Lake
  • Trip 5.16 Santa Ana River Trail

  • Segment A: Big Meadows to South Fork Campground
  • Segment B: South Fork Campground to Glass Road
  • Segment C: Glass Road to Angelus Oaks
  • Segment D: Angelus Oaks to Thomas Hunting Grounds
  • Segment E: Thomas Hunting Grounds to Morton Peak Fire Lookout
  • Segment F: Morton Peak Fire Lookout to Seven Oaks Dam
  • Trip 5.17 Aspen Grove
  • Trip 5.18 Fish Creek Meadows
  • Trip 5.19 San Gorgonio via Fish Creek
  • Trip 5.20 San Gorgonio Nine Peaks Challenge
  • Trip 5.21 Ten Peaks of the Yucaipa Ridge

  • Trip 6.1 Mormon Rocks Nature Loop
  • Trip 6.2 East Ord Mountain
  • Trip 6.3 Owl Canyon

  • Trip 7.1 Pacific Electric Trail
  • Trip 7.2 Prado Lake
  • Trip 7.3 Mount Rubidoux
  • Trip 7.4 Box Springs: Two Trees Trail
  • Trip 7.5 Box Springs: Skyline Trail
  • Trip 7.6 Box Springs: Towers Loop
  • Trip 7.7 Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
  • Trip 7.8 Olive Mountain
  • Trip 7.9 Terri Peak
  • Trip 7.10 South Hills Preserve: Jedi Trail
  • Trip 7.11 San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary
  • Trip 7.12 Oakmont Park
  • Trip 7.13 Wildwood Canyon State Park
  • Trip 7.14 Crafton Hills: Park-to-Peak Loop
  • Trip 7.15 Crafton Hills: Grape Avenue Trail
  • Trip 7.16 Crafton Hills: Hilltop Trail
  • Trip 7.17 El Dorado Ranch Park
  • Trip 7.18 Bogart Park Loop
  • Trip 7.19 Simpson Park

  • Trip 8.1 Granite Loop
  • Trip 8.2 Sylvan Meadows Loop
  • Trip 8.3 Oak Tree Trail
  • Trip 8.4 Los Santos Loop
  • Trip 8.5 Vernal Pool
  • Trip 8.6 Historic Adobes
  • Trip 8.7 Santa Rosa Plateau Loop

  • Trip 9.1 Black Mountain
  • Trip 9.2 Indian Mountain
  • Trip 9.3 San Jacinto Peak via Fuller Ridge
  • Trip 9.4 North Fork of the San Jacinto River
  • Trip 9.5 Seven Pines Trail
  • Trip 9.6 San Jacinto Peak via the Marion Mountain Trail
  • Trip 9.7 Panorama Point
  • Trip 9.8 Webster Trail
  • Trip 9.9 Idyllwild Nature Center Loop
  • Trip 9.10 Suicide Rock
  • Trip 9.11 Tahquitz Rock
  • Trip 9.12 Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
  • Trip 9.13 Skunk Cabbage Meadow
  • Trip 9.14 Tahquitz Peak via Saddle Junction
  • Trip 9.15 Caramba
  • Trip 9.16 Strawberry Valley Loop
  • Trip 9.17 Idyllwild–Round Valley Loop
  • Trip 9.18 San Jacinto Peak from Humber Park
  • Trip 9.19 Tahquitz Peak via the South Ridge Trail
  • Trip 9.20 Desert View Loop
  • Trip 9.21 Round Valley
  • Trip 9.22 Cornell Peak
  • Trip 9.23 San Jacinto Peak from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Trip 9.24 Seven Peaks of the San Jacinto Wilderness

  • Trip 10.1 Antsell Rock
  • Trip 10.2 Apache Peak
  • Trip 10.3 Palm View Peak
  • Trip 10.4 Cedar Spring
  • Trip 10.5 Northern Desert Divide
  • Trip 10.6 Nine Peaks of the Desert Divide
  • Trip 10.7 Thomas Mountain
  • Trip 10.8 Cahuilla Mountain
  • Trip 10.9 Hurkey Creek
  • Trip 10.10 South Fork of the San Jacinto River

  • Trip 11.1 South Lykken Trail
  • Trip 11.2 North Lykken Trail
  • Trip 11.3 Museum Trail
  • Trip 11.4 Cactus-to-Clouds
  • Trip 11.5 Tahquitz Canyon
  • Trip 11.6 Desert Angel
  • Trip 11.7 Vargas Palms
  • Trip 11.8 Snow Creek
  • Trip 11.9 Andreas Canyon
  • Trip 11.10 Maynard Mine
  • Trip 11.11 Murray Canyon
  • Trip 11.12 Lower Palm Canyon
  • Trip 11.13 Fern Canyon
  • Trip 11.14 Pines-to-Palms
  • Trip 11.15 Jo Pond Trail

  • Trip 12.1 Garstin Trail
  • Trip 12.2 Murray Hill
  • Trip 12.3 Araby Trail
  • Trip 12.4 Jane’s Hoffbrau Oasis
  • Trip 12.5 Magnesia Spring Falls
  • Trip 12.6 Bump and Grind Trail
  • Trip 12.7 Art Smith Trail
  • Trip 12.8 Randall Henderson Loop
  • Trip 12.9 Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
  • Trip 12.10 Bear Creek Oasis
  • Trip 12.11 Boo Hoff Loop
  • Trip 12.12 Stone Sentinel
  • Trip 12.13 Guadalupe Trail
  • Trip 12.14 Sawmill Trail
  • Trip 12.15 Horsethief Creek
  • Trip 12.16 Cactus Spring Trail
  • Trip 12.17 Martinez Mountain
  • Trip 12.18 Pinyon Trail
  • Trip 12.19 Rabbit Peak from the Salton Sea
  • Trip 12.20 Rabbit and Villager Peaks
  • Trip 12.21 Rabbit Peak from Clark Lake

  • Trip 13.1 Ladder and Big Painted Canyons
  • Trip 13.2 Big Split Rock Canyon
  • Trip 13.3 Never Ending Canyon
  • Trip 13.4 Utah Canyon
  • Trip 13.5 The Grottos
  • Trip 13.6 Black Butte
  • Trip 13.7 Chuckwalla Mountain
  • Trip 13.8 Stepladder Mountain
  • Trip 13.9 Mopah Point

  • Trip 14.1 McCallum Nature Trail
  • Trip 14.2 Pushwalla, Horseshoe, and Hidden Palms Loop
  • Trip 14.3 Moon Country–Willis Palms Loop
  • Trip 14.4 Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
  • Trip 14.5 Pioneertown Mountains Preserve: Pipes Canyon Loop
  • Trip 14.6 Pioneertown Mountains Preserve: Sawtooth Loop
  • Trip 14.7 Oak Glen Preserve
  • Trip 14.8 Whitewater Preserve to Mission Creek Preserve
  • Trip 14.9 Whitewater Preserve: Canyon View Loop
  • Trip 14.10 Whitewater Preserve: San Gorgonio Overlook
  • Trip 14.11 Dos Palmas Preserve

  • Trip 15.1 Maze and Window Rock Loop
  • Trip 15.2 Boy Scout Trail
  • Trip 15.3 Willow Hole
  • Trip 15.4 Wonderland Traverse
  • Trip 15.5 Barker Dam Nature Trail
  • Trip 15.6 Garrett’s Arch
  • Trip 15.7 Wall Street Mill
  • Trip 15.8 Lost Horse Mine and Mountain
  • Trip 15.9 Ryan Mountain
  • Trip 15.10 Queen Mountain
  • Trip 15.11 Desert Queen Mine
  • Trip 15.12 Negro Hill
  • Trip 15.13 Malapai Hill
  • Trip 15.14 Mount Inspiration
  • Trip 15.15 Mount Inspiration from the Coachella Valley
  • Trip 15.16 Mount Minerva Hoyt
  • Trip 15.17 Quail Mountain
  • Trip 15.18 Skull Rock Nature Trail
  • Trip 15.19 Split Rock
  • Trip 15.20 Eagle Cliffs and Mine
  • Trip 15.21 Arch Rock Nature Trail
  • Trip 15.22 Joshua Mountain
  • Trip 15.23 California Riding and Hiking Trail

  • Segment A: Black Rock Campground to Upper Covington Flat
  • Segment B: Upper Covington Flat to Keys View Road
  • Segment C: Keys View Road to Geology Tour Road
  • Segment D: Geology Tour Road to Twin Tanks
  • Segment E: Twin Tanks to North Entrance
  • CHAPTER 16: JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK: Black Rock and Covington

  • Trip 16.1 Black Rock Canyon Panorama Loop
  • Trip 16.2 Eureka Peak
  • Trip 16.3 West Side Loop
  • Trip 16.4 High View Nature Trail
  • Trip 16.5 Covington Crest
  • Trip 16.6 Covington Loop

  • Trip 17.1 Indian Cove Nature Trail
  • Trip 17.2 Gunsight Loop
  • Trip 17.3 Rattlesnake Canyon
  • Trip 17.4 Fortynine Palms Oasis

  • Trip 18.1 Pinto Mountain
  • Trip 18.2 Fried Liver Wash
  • Trip 18.3 Bernard and Little Berdoo Peaks
  • Trip 18.4 Mastodon Peak Loop
  • Trip 18.5 Lost Palms Oasis
  • Trip 18.6 Eagle Mountain
  • Trip 18.7 Munsen Palms
  • Trip 18.8 Carey’s Castle
  • Trip 18.9 Spectre Point

  • Trip 19.1 Kelso Dunes
  • Trip 19.2 Hole-in-the-Wall
  • Trip 19.3 Barber Peak Loop
  • Trip 19.4 Mid Hills to Hole-in-the-Wall
  • Trip 19.5 Table Mountain
  • Trip 19.6 Mitchell Caverns
  • Trip 19.7 Edgar Peak
  • Trip 19.8 Old Dad Mountain
  • Trip 19.9 Lava Tube
  • Trip 19.10 Teutonia Peak
  • Trip 19.11 Kessler Peak
  • Trip 19.12 Fort Piute
  • Trip 19.13 Caruthers Canyon
  • Trip 19.14 New York Mountain
  • Trip 19.15 Castle Peaks
  • Trip 19.16 Clark Mountain

  • Trip 20.1 Afton Canyon
  • Trip 20.2 Sheephole Mountain
  • Trip 20.3 Pisgah Lava Tubes
  • Trip 20.4 Amboy Crater
  • Trip 20.5 Cadiz Dunes







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