Summary: This is a quick, easy, and painless hike to a fairly good size mountain 8201'. You get an amazing view of Big Bear Lake, and the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The only downside is the radio towers on top, but then again you can't have everything. The view from the other side is nice, just not as spectacular, you can see all of Holcomb Valley, Delamar Mountain and into the High Desert.
If you've only got a couple of hours to spare in Big Bear, this is the hike for you.
The only difficulty is the last .4 of a mile, the road is steep in spots. But, it shouldn't present a challenge to anyone. You may just need a few little rest stops.
Bikes are allowed on the roads, but not on the PCT.
Trailhead: Drive to the town of Fawnskin and take Holcomb Valley Road up into the mountains. Follow it until you cross the PCT, there is a nice little turn-out for one vehicle. It's a four by four road that is locked at times - check with the ranger.
Follow the PCT east until you meet up with the Cougar Crest Trail, stay on it until you cross the Bertha Peak road, follow the road to the top.
If you do not want to four-by, you can also take the Cougar Crest Trail which is also an easy hike, a few miles longer, but not much more difficult, I've done the Cougar Crest to Bertha Peak in just under an hour before. However, this trail is easily accomplished by beginners.
And, if you want a little more when you return you can extend your hike by going to Delamar in the opposite direction. (Lat:34.28306 Lon:-116.89944)
Trail Guides for Bertha Peak Via Holcomb Valley Road (2N09):
San Bernardino Mountain Trails - 100 Hikes in Southern California
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: SBNF (951)884-6634
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Jessica on 12/27/2011
New directions here. At least during Winter, the gate on Holcomb Valley Road is closed. You should turn left on Polique Canyon Road from N Shore Dr. The trail should be on the right and well marked. It is not called Bertha Peak Trail, it's called Holcomb something somethig...can't remember but the post sign provides maps. That trail eventually meets up with Cougar Crest trail but you turn left and continue to go up the peak. FYI it is very difficult in deep snow but fun!
Reviewed by Jason on 4/9/2010
I would rate this as an easy hike. As a local, I find it a great hike to kick off the season, in fact I just got back from there and had a blast. I recommend parking at the Cougar Creat trailhead, which is 1/4 of a mile west of the Big Bear Discovery Center and north of the Serrano campground. Take the CCT to the PCT and head east.Yes there are small sets of radio towers, power lines, and a repeater station, but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying the spectacular views of San Gorgonio to the south, Butler Pk to the west, and the San Gabriels to the far west. Another good way to Bertha Pk, after the snow is gone, is to park and head north on Van Dusen rd., intersect with PCT, and head west. A bit further, but worth it. Also an easy hik
Reviewed by Jennifer on 10/30/2007
Due to extreme fire activity, and to protect public health and safety, San Bernardino National Forest officials are implementing a forest closure, effective October 23, 2007. The closure prohibits public entry to the forest, with few exceptions, and will last until the extreme conditions subside. The few exceptions to the closure allow access to the Serrano Campground, the Alpine Pedal Path and the Juniper Point Parking Area. Access to these sites is deemed safe, but visitors must remain vigilant and tend to current fire restrictions, including no smoking or no wood or charcoal fires anywhere on the forest. http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ for updates
Reviewed by John on 7/16/2007
OK we never got there. The directions on this site leave a bit to be desired. Upon reaching fawnskin, ignore the first sign that says "holcomb valley", it takes you to a YMCA camp instead. There are two other additional sign that indicate ways to get to holcomb valley, ignore these too. Finally, your fourth try will be holcomb valley rd... which doesn't go very far because of the locked gate. After we had wasted 2 hours trying to find the trail head, we decided to cancel bertha's peak and go to castle rock instead. NOTE: Take a trail guide with you, we could not find one trail guide in fawnskin.
Reviewed by Viewer on 11/15/2006
The summit is crowned by a fenced radio-type facility. The views are good, though. This is not a hike if you want peace and quiet - lots of other hikers and bikers, and plenty of noise from boats, ATVs, and airplanes.
Reviewed by RYAN on 8/31/2006
Great views of the lake, san G, and Mt baldy. started at the cougar crest trailhead. Real easy going if you do any hiking. Mom had to wait at the PCT junction last half mile would be to much. Great way to start off a day in Big Bear!!!!
Reviewed by Virginia Mc on 7/12/2006
My husband and I love this hike. We usually start off from the Discovery Center. It's about a mile or so to the Cougar Crest Trail (1.9 mi to the Pacific Crest Trail). We hang right to hook into the Pacific Crest Trail and it's about another 45 min or an hour to Bertha's Peak. The views on top are spectacular! On the way up, you can see Big Bear Lake and the ski slopes. At the top, you can see the Big Bear Lake area one one side the Holcomb Valley on the other side. I'd do this hike anytime!
Reviewed by MrF on 5/18/2006
I haven't been on this trail in years, but I remember it as a good hike, just be warned if your going to part at the trail head your going to need an adventure pass, you can buy them that are good for a year or for the day, I didn't see that mentioned so I thought Id add that
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