Initially, I drove up to Big Bear Lake to hike Gray’s Peak that Sunday morning. But when I got there, I found a note at the trailhead saying that it’s closed until 6/16/17 for bald eagle habitat. Hmm, ok, then. Luckily, Big Bear Lake is dog-friendly and has many trails that Xena is allowed. The closest one I could think of was Bertha Peak, but I wasn’t in the mood. I decided to hit a couple of trails in the south shore trail network. Castle Rock and Pine Knot.
Castle Rock Trail
This is one of our favorite hikes. It’s short (less than 3 miles) but fun! Unfortunately, a lot of people feel that way too, so this is a very popular hike. It can get very crowded on the weekends. We were lucked out though that day. I think because it was Sunday morning. I assume most people prefer lazy Sunday mornings. Good for us! 😉
Grandview Point via Pine Knot Trail
This hike begins from the Pine Knot Trailhead at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area. Pine Knot trail (1E01) is well maintained and easy to follow. Although it may seem like it’s a heavily trafficked trail near the trailhead, it reveals to be wrong every time I am on this trail. I think most of the people are mainly there to use the picnic area. After about 1+ mile into it, we occasionally ran into other hikers.
There isn’t much of view while on Pine Knot Trail, but this moderately trafficked trail is a pretty good place for solitude. Last time we hiked here, I brought a hammock. We hiked a little and just hung out in the hammock napping. I am not a napper but she has a rigid napping schedule she likes to keep. Beauty sleep, I guess.
After 2.4 miles, you will come to a junction with 2N08 (fire road). There is a map to help you if you need it. Find the connecting Pine Knot trail and continue on. You can also take 2N08 southbound if you prefer a wider road. It will meet with Skyline Dr. as well. After 0.5 miles, we came to an intersection with 2N08 again. After 0.35 miles, the trail intersected with Skyline Dr. At this point, look for the Grandview Point trail (1E01) sign across Skyline Dr. Grandview Point is 0.3 miles from this junction. Enjoy the last climb to the viewpoint.
Snow-capped Mount San Gorgonio (the highest peak in Southern California at 11,503 feet) was breathtaking. It was a great place for lunch and some photos. I couldn’t believe we had this place all to ourselves.
When you are ready, just go back the way you came in. This is an out-and-back trail.
Good to Know (Grandview Point via Pine Knot only):
- Hike Date: 4.23.17
- Trailhead: Google Aspen Glen Picnic Area
- Length: 7.2 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 1,141 ft
- Grandview Point elevation: 7,784 ft
- Difficulty Level: Moderate to Challenging
- Toilets available at the picnic area
- Adventure Pass required for parking