I had hiked San Bernardino Peak before and it is one of my favorite trails in Southern California. I got a permit and talked Wes and Liz and even my wife Becky into joining me. Normally, Bec is not a fan of hiking steep mountains, but she had done three of the Six Pack of Peaks and this was her fourth. It was going to be an adventure.
Getting to the trailhead is a little confusing if you have not been there before. As you enter the town of Angeles Oaks, you will make a right at the fire station, then follow the frontage road to the left. Just past the fire station, you make a left on a dirt road for a half-mile until you reach the trailhead.
This trail is long, but one of the most scenic trails Southern California has to offer. It starts out with a few miles of switchbacks through tree cover. It’s beautiful and not too steep.
The trail then opens up to an area called Manzanita Flats. The manzanita covers the landscape like grass and the trail cuts through the middle of it. This is my favorite part of the trail.
As we made our way through Manzanita Flats, the peak itself came into view. This is when you realize that you are still a long way away from the summit. It’s a long trail – 8 miles each way. We stopped a number of times for snacks and water and eventually made our way up more switchbacks to the upper mountain.
The last push to San Bernardino Peak is pretty steep and that’s when Bec ran out of gas. At one point she thought the summit was 100 feet away, only to realize it was another quarter-mile of steep hiking as we came around a turn. She glared at me as if to say, “You did this to me!” This is a familiar event in our relationship when I have dragged her up big mountains.
She glared at me as if to say, “You did this to me!” This is a familiar event in our relationship when I have dragged her up big mountains.
I knew all would be forgotten when we got to the summit. It was. The summit was beautiful and we all felt the satisfaction of pushing through and getting there. I’m a pretty blessed guy to have been there on that mountain with my family.