Summary: If you have more than an hour and at least a half a day - this is the hike to take in Big Bear.
Be sure before crossing into Bluff Lake Preserve you contact and get permission from The Wildlands Conservancy (909) 797-8507, there are rare plants and meadows here, be careful where you tread. I would suggest getting permission, because this area is beautiful and worth your trip through.
Otherwise you have to follow the road a little farther, but not much. It is really easy to get to the Champion Lodgepole this way. It is over 450 years old and 110 feet tall, a real rarity for this variety of pine.
You will be amazed at how much this entire area feels and looks like the Sierras, you will want to come back. And, please stay out of the fragile meadows.
Trailhead: Drive East on the 18 to Big Bear City, about a mile past the bridge over the dam the trail will begin on your left. It is signed, but there is no parking. you have to park about 150 feet away on the left. Look for the first place to park and that is it.
Take the trail up to Castle Rock where you should scramble to the top and get the amazing view of the lake - see my other hike posted for this.
Get a good map because the trail and roads are many and difficult to intuit unless you have GPS or a good topo.
This trail gains all it's elevation in the first 3/4 of a mile. It is steep, but after that it is all flat and the area look amazing. (Lat:34.21901 Lon:-116.9724)
Trail Guides for Champion Lodgepole via Castle Rock Trail:
San Bernardino Mountain Trails - 100 Hikes in Southern California
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Mill Creek Ranger Station (909) 794-1123
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 Bruce on 11/7/2009
Since the explanation on this site is sparse, here is how you get to the Champion Lodge Pole. From Castle Rock, cross the creek (dry in late summer and fall) and walk the trail south to fire road 2N10. Go right on 2N10 about a mile til it intersects 2N11. Right on 2N11 about another mile and you come to the trailhead for the Champion Lodge Pole and Siberia Creek trails on the right. The Champion Lodge Pole is adjacent to a beautiful meadow full of native lillies in spring and early summer.
Reviewed by Virginia on 8/12/2006
Hike this trail today but never made it to Champion Lodgepole pine trail. The trails are not marked well. We discovered where we may have gone wrong after the end. I would contact the ranger and ask for clear directions. As you approach Castle Rock I think you veer towards the left and begin another short climb towards Mill Creek. It is a beautiful spot and the climb at the start is steep but brief.
Reviewed by Michael on 4/11/2005
Beautiful trails castle rock and the lodge pole pine trail, just make sure to go to the ranger station and get a forest adventure pass or you'll have an unpleasant surprise when you go back to your car, and that's if they didn't tow it
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