Summer officially began this week, and it’s doing its job. Most Southern California areas will see temperatures in the 80s and higher this weekend, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t get out and enjoy nature. To be sure, the hikes on this list are higher up in the mountains and require a bit of a drive, but what better way to escape the summer heat and smog? You could pack the car and go all the way up to Mammoth or Yosemite – but a $5 per day (or $30 per year) parking pass will get you access to ALL of these fun trips. Enjoy!
SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS
Big Horn Mine – Who needs Disneyland? This abandoned mine on the slope of Mt. Baden-Powell is a popular destination for hikers. In addition to its historical interest, the hike offers great views of the San Gabriel River east fork far below–and of Mt. Baldy.
Lightning Ridge Nature Trail – Speaking of Baden-Powell and Baldy, the views of those two summits are great on this short loop hike. Look for nice aerial vistas of the high desert as well.
San Antonio Falls – Easily accessible and usually flowing well into the summer, San Antonio Falls cascades down three tiers totaling about 80 feet. Those unaccustomed to high elevation will find this to be a good introductory hike.
SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS
Big Falls – One of So-Cal’s tallest year-round waterfalls, Big Falls is easy to get to. Just be careful crossing Mill Creek!
Heaps Peak Arboretum – Dogwoods, pines, oaks, manzanitas and more provide cool summer shade on this peaceful loop in the mountains between Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead.
Heart Rock Falls – Even if Seeley Creek isn’t flowing, it’s hard not to enjoy this short stroll through the western San Bernardino Mountains–and the heart-shaped bowl cut in the rocks.
Whispering Pines Trail – Famous for being used in an episode of “Lassie”, the Whispering Pines Trail is a fun little hike tht makes a great leg-stretching stop when driving to Big Bear Lake the long way. The Ponderosa Trail across the street is also worth checking out.
Woodland Trail – This is a short, enjoyable loop that has nice views of Big Bear Lake and also visits some tall pines and interesting rock formations.
SAN JACINTO MOUNTAINS
Ernie Maxwell Trail – One of Idyllwild’s most famous trails, this one travels through a pine forest, taking in great views of Suicide Rock and Tahquitz Peak.
Lake Fulmor – Small as it may be (“pond” would probably be more accurate), Lake Fulmor provides a surprising alpine escape just off of highway 243, with the tall pines and peaks surrounding it reflected in its clear waters.
While some of these hikes may be a little bit of a drive, they’re all worth a visit, even if just as a stop on the way to another destination. With this list of heat beating hikes – and the previous two – L.A. hikers have many ways to put Old Man Summer in his place!
Check out more trails in your area: icedjamb.com’s Trail Guide