10 San Bernardino NF Peaks

We got to stay at Jack and Dorie’s cabin for a week (Thank you!). That put us within easy reach for a lot of peaks we still have on our list.

Day 1: With Hwy 18 closed from the west we headed up on Hwy 38 and decided to do a quick hike up Mineral Mountain. To get there we went over Onyx pass and then caught FR 2N01 to the east until it intersected with FR 2N02 which we took south until we were pretty much due west of Mineral Mtn. It was a quick 1 mile round trip with about 570 ft elevation gain. On the way out we took FR 2N02 all the way to the paved Baldwin Lake Rd and proceeded to the cabin.

Day 2: That day we hiked Round and Luna Mountain. To get there we took FR 3N14 from Fawnskin to FR 3N59 which we followed until it became a Jeep trail and just too tedious with our truck. Along the way we had to drive around a snake blocking a good part of the road. It could not bothered to move until I was half way around it and it decided the situation was too scary. We hiked the road down towards Round Mountain and went straight up. On the way back to the truck we detoured over Luna Mountain. These mountains are nothing special, but we got some nice views of Baldy and clouds (marine layer) trying to creep over Cajon pass. Hike: 6.1 miles, 1450 ft gain. On the drive home I did a quick walk up to Rattlesnake Mtn. (1.5 miles, 440 ft gain)

Checking out views on White Mountain

Day 3: Time for White Mountain. We again took FR 3N14, but this time we turned on to FR 3N11 at Big Pine Flat. After a short drive we came to a spot where the road was quite rutted and the arrangement of the dips was more suitable for a short wheelbase vehicle. We parked and proceeded on foot. If one really wants to one can drive all the way to White Mtn. via FR 3N17. It was a pleasant walk with a detour over South Peak. Views from White Mtn. were great with the mountains to our south and the desert and dry lakes around Lucerne Valley to our north. We took a nice snack break here before walking back. Hike: 4.5 miles, 950 ft gain.

Day 4: Granite Peaks. We took Hwy 18 towards Lucerne Valley and then FR 3N03 south to a spot where an off-road trail for narrow vehicles turned off. We parked there and walked across Lone Valley towards the foot of the mountain. We found a cairned, but very steep route up. At 7200 ft we got our first view of the Granite Peaks. They are just a jumble of huge granite boulders. Terrain that’s very tough to get through. The cairns continued and led us towards Granite Point. Just below which Srisuda decided she was not comfortable with the now very big boulders. She found a shady spot to wait for me. I continued through the boulders and found wide open, easy terrain on the other side. So I was on top of East Peak in no time (had to climb the last 8 feet up the top boulder). Views were great, but after some quick photos I headed back so Srisuda wouldn’t have to wait too long. This is also the reason why I decided to skip the top of Granite Point. It didn’t look like a quick detour. We returned to the truck via the same route that we had come up. Hike: 5.4 miles, 1850 ft gain.

Day 5: Time to go home. Srisuda was done hiking for the week, so I picked a nice drive instead (still wanted to get some peaks though :). We made our way west from Big Bear Lake on Hwy 18 past Lake Arrowhead and Crestline, an area which we were unfamiliar with. We then took Hwy 138 to FR 2N49 which would take us past Sugarpine Mtn., Bailey Peak, and Monument Peak. All just quick walk-ups from the road. At Monument we had to decide if we wanted to take 2N49 down south to Palm Ave and I-215 or return to Hwy 138 to get over to I-15. We decided returning would be the safer/faster bet since the road down rapidly dropped elevation and roads like this tend to get really rough around here. However, just after leaving Monument peak an ATV came blasting around a turn. I hit the breaks hard and squeezed to the right of the road. The road here was not wide enough for both of us. So the ATV driver slid into the brush after also hitting the breaks hard. Both guys on the ATV were ok and just had to pull their ride out of the brush. I took the opportunity to ask them about the road down and they said it was a nice wide road in great shape, just a bit rocky in places. So we turned and headed down south. This made for a very nice drive off the mountain. On the way home we stopped for In-n-Out. Not wanting to deal with out COVID-19 masks we used the drive through and tailgated in the parking lot.

Great week in the mountains!

(Click on any image to enlarge or start slide show)

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