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San Bernardino Peak Trail via Angelus Oaks

HARD 954 reviews
#2 of 29 trails in

San Bernardino Peak Trail via Angelus Oaks is a 15.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Angelus Oaks, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 15.8 miles Elevation Gain: 4,691 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

river

views

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

One of the best-kept secrets of Southern California is San Bernardino Mountain. Just five miles away from the highest peak in SoCal - San Gorgonio - San Bernardino tops out at a respectable 10,649 feet. Hiking from Angelus Oaks, this 15-mile out-and-back trail climbs over 4,700 vertical feet. It makes for a very long day hike or a great weekend backpacking trip. This trail has amazing views that begin very early in the hike. San Bernardino Peak is one of the lesser known (and lesser traveled) peaks in SoCal, providing a nice break from the more crowded trails like Mount San Antonio. There are three distinct sections to this trail. The first section climbs steadily up well-engineered switchbacks through oak and pine forest. You gain a lot of elevation quickly, but the trail is smooth and not too steep. The second section gently climbs through manzanita, with beautiful views to the north towards Big Bear. The trail beings to climb up the final slope as you near Limber Pines. There is a small seasonal creek that you'll cross about 1/2 mile before Limber Pines. Limber Pines is where the weekend backpackers often setup camp, and it makes a great place for a break before your final climb. The third and final section follows switchbacks up the steep slope to Washington's Monument, then parallels the ridge to the top of San Bernardino Peak. You’ll need an Adventure Pass for this trail; however, permits are no longer required for day hikes (but recommended) www.sgwa.org.

One thing to be aware of with these trail ratings is that you have to give trails a star rating in order to download the map to your phone. I think a lot of the star ratings with no description associated may be a result of this bizarre requirement by the app. On to the actual review...We encountered an oblivious, rude man playing with a drone at the trail junction for the Meadows, which was by far the most obnoxious experience I've had hiking (and I'm sure the wildlife agreed). So, watch out for really loud noises that sound like angry bees and howling dogs spawned an army of monsters--and the obnoxious noise of recreational drone "pilots" trying to justify why it's your problem that you're not cool with that noise on a hike in the wilderness. Otherwise, the fall colors are beautiful, a small stream is still running by a switchback turn, people on the trail were normal and pleasant, and my husband's Garmin watch pegged the whole hike at 22 miles. This 'rounding up' of AllTrail distances happens often with his Garmin. I'm curious why satellites and maps give such different distances, and which is closer to the truth.

Very fun trail, perfect if you like to trail run down!

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike I do every year because I can’t get enough of the manzanita grove. Beware that the overview is not correct - there’s no “river” on this route. There is typically a spring running at Limber Pine, but double check with the Mill Creek station if you’re counting on it.

hiking
7 days ago

Great trail. Hit it at 2:45am under a full moon. No real for a head lap, hiking at early morning before sunrise you miss a lot of the beauty but seeing the dawn is the best! 6:04 hours top to bottom with an hour waiting the the sun to rise. Weekend camping gets busy, get there early to find parking and camp sites. I didn’t camp but saw a lot coming up on my way down around 9am. Have fun!

One of my favorite trails of all times. It was a bit windy as of October 10, 2019. Not too many bugs or people on the trail. Can't wait to be back.

hiking
14 days ago

Started hiking at 6:30 and came back to my car at around 16:30. Our pace was moderate. Not fast or slow.

backpacking
17 days ago

Did this in 1997 with a beginner GF in October. Quick weekend hike. Easy elevation to Columbine Spring. Had 2 dogs with us. Spring was still active so water available. Great colors. At one point in the trail the brush was narrow and took its toll on our shins, so long pants recommended.

hiking
17 days ago

Excellent hike. We took our time today - started at 4:00am and wrapped up at 1:30pm. Incredible sunrise, phenomenal views, and a great day. No bugs, it wasn’t too hot, and overall, highly recommended. Looking forward to doing this one again!

Be prepared for a long day and remember it’s a long journey, don’t rush it if you don’t have to. We started at 6am sharp and hiked in the dark for a little until sunrise. We started early because we didn’t know how long it would take us to complete the hike and wanted as much daylight as possible. There is nothing technical about the hike. Just make sure you have the endurance and mental strength to push through. Bring your 10 essentials. I’m an average hiker, not slow or fast and finished in 9 hours. The least favorite part for me was on the way down the never ending manzanita flat section. I felt like I was in a vortex loop haha, but we made it through! I can definitely see this hike as a knee killer but I prepped with ibuprofen and CBD balm before starting the descent and had ZERO knee issues. The stream after Limber Pine did have water flowing as of today.

hiking
20 days ago

Fantastic hike!! In fact this is my new favorite peak in SoCal. Started at 8 am and finished around 5pm. Only saw 2 other people on the entire hike. My AllTrails recorder counted 17 miles with no detours. Temps ranged from mid 50's to mid 60's. A little windy near the top. Spectacular views almost the entire way. Very impressed. The best view is not at the peak but at the overlook at the Washington monument.

hiking
22 days ago

Did this hike yesterday and it was amazing. The last of the six pack for me! I did experience my first black bear encounter so I’d recommend attaching a bear bell to your pack especially if your a solo hiker like me. It was 8 hours round trip.

hiking
24 days ago

This was definitely my favorite hike of the SoCal Six Pack of Peaks. The trail was really well maintained and easy to follow. The elevation gain was really steady and easy, with a nice flat 3/4 mile section right in the middle of the mountain. I completed this hike on Saturday 9/28, starting at 1:30am to make it to the peak by sunrise to watch the sun come up over the mountains. The clouds were sitting at around 6500ft elevation so the sights were AMAZING with such low clouds and the surrounding mountain ranges peaking up over top of the clouds. Beautifully sunny above the clouds and cold and rainy below the clouds when we got back to our car - truly an amazing experience. My friend and i completed the hike in 10 long hours with a few short breaks. We have very different fitness levels so I’m going back soon and expect to complete the entire hike in 6-7 hours.

A beautiful trail! Unfortunately, clouds rolled in during our entire hike so we only saw part of Big Bear Lake when we got to the peak. Definitely a very long hike but absolutely beautiful!

A great hike did it in running shoes no poles needed

Lots and lots and lots of switchbacks! Some really pretty rock formations and landscapes but not my favorite of the 6pack. I didn’t experience any bugs. We arrived at 6:30am and the parking lot was just filling up. Got back to car at 5pm. Yikes. A solid steady incline was quite manageable. Just felt long going back.

Very good weather and trail in excellent condition. Recommended for people with medium high condition

hiking
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Long trail, last three miles are steep and hard.. nice trail a bit tight do the Manzanita pants would be good.

hiking
1 month ago

Possibly my favorite of the six-pack-o-peaks, for days where I'm too lazy to take on Gorgonio. Clocked 16.4 miles in 8 hrs and 20 min (not including summit break). Very few people + a relatively well maintained trail + perfect weather = one good ass hike. Definitely wear layers if you're doing dawn patrol; the first couple miles are cold and don't receive much sun until 10 or 11. Long pants are also recommended as the Manzanita Flats section can get kind of brambely. No bug issues whatsoever.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

started out early to beat the heat but it wasn't that hot. some wind at the summit but not bad. only used about 1.5L of fluids. bugs were out in force but less above 9400ft. watch out for embedded rocks throughout the trail. found myself getting lazy-footed (mostly tired on the way down) so i'd do the occasional ankle roll.

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Backpacked to Limber Pine and camped there overnight. It was both beautiful but extremely difficult. it's straight up the whole way except thru a small area. it took us 7 hours going up and only 3 hours going down. I think because I stop every few minutes on the way up, with one lunch break. wear pants and there are small bugs on the bottom part of the hike.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

As a first time backpacker this trail was not easy. Very windy at night so a tent cover was necessary and very helpful. Once you get to the campground it’s about two miles to get to a creek so make sure to bring a water purifier. Overall a great hike and I’d definitely do it again.

hiking
over grown
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
over grown
1 month ago

I did this trail solo backpacking on September 11th. The water is still flowing after Limber Pine Bench Camp! Bugs were not existent around Limber Pine Bench or Peak. Overgrown areas on some parts of trail so wearing pants will be advisable. There is a sign and new register to sign! Please pack out your TP as there are no bathrooms at trail head! Leave No Trace!

hiking
1 month ago

It was a cool hike not very hot, very good was not very trafficked.

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