Lake Fire closure south of Big Bear, Calif.

July 18th, 2016

As of 7/18/16 The San Bernardino National Forest informs that the Lake Fire closure has changed.  As per the closure order “persons hiking the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail are not exempt for the prohibitions listed above, but may be on the Pacific Crest Trail within the Lake Fire Closure Area.”

Please refer to the closure order for more specific information.  With questions about the order, please contact the San Bernardino National Forest directly.

The Lake Fire burned approximately 32,000 acres, much of it in San Gorgonio Wilderness in June 2015. A much loved wilderness and a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail burned.

The Pacific Crest Trail remains closed for non-long distance hikers for about 15.5 miles from the southern boundary of San Bernardino National Forest (approximately mile 236.5) to Onyx Summit (mile 252). Details about the rest of the closed areas can be seen on the map below and in the closure order.

The PCT is indeed open north of I-10, past Whitewater Preserve and all the way to mile 236.5 in Mission Creek. But once you get there, you hit the closure boundary. Only people interested in an out-and-back hike or are hiking the full length of the trail can utilize this section of the PCT. People wanting to go to Big Bear will want to stop at I-10 (or perhaps Whitewater Preserve if you have transportation arranged).

When will the Lake Fire closure reopen?

What a great question. Trust us, no one is more excited about re-opening the Pacific Crest Trail than PCTA. In our meetings and many conversations with our partners at San Bernardino National Forest, it’s clear that opening the PCT is a very high priority for all involved. Trail maintainers are ready to work as soon as the snow melts and the go-ahead is given. A big unknown is how this year’s El Nino affected winter storms will affect the burn area. How much snow will fall this winter? How quickly will it melt? How much new damage will winter storms bring? When will the snow melt off the access roads? While other sections of the trail in Southern California have been severely damaged by recent landslides, we’re crossing our fingers that the PCT in the burn area was not similarly damaged.

Once the trail maintainers head out this spring, the necessary work will be done and then the legal process of opening the trail (official signatures and the like) will occur.

All said, our hope and goal is to have the work done and trail legally opened by the time the bulk of northbound hikers reach the area. People planning to hike through in early season will probably reach the area before the trail is open. They will have to skip this section of trail. Unfortunately, we really don’t know what challenges we’ll face and how fast the work will go. Support our trail crews by donating or volunteering today.

As soon as we have more information, we’ll update this site.

Getting around the closure

We spent time researching a safe and legal way to walk around the closure and did not come up with anything. Since June, hikers have been taking a series of buses and taxi cabs between Interstate 10 and Big Bear. It’s a research project that you’ll need to do. Here’s some advice to help you in your research:

  • Hiring a private car, finding a volunteer, a friend, or a family member will always be the most convenient way. Consider splitting a taxi with other hikers to take you the whole way (if you can find one).
  • Public transit will take you from cities along I-10, through the San Bernardino MetroLink Station, and to Big Bear.
    • You have two good bus options between I-10 and MetroLink:
    • Mountain Transit will pick you up at the MetroLink and will take you to, and around, the Big Bear area.

Lake Fire resources

Current closure map

MP 608 – 611 Heat Warning, Wind Warning, & Erskine Fire

By: Linda Clark-O'Brien
June 27th, 2016

Fire has not yet reached either Landers Camp Spring or Kelso Valley Rd. I was section hiking along that section thru end of Wednesday (6/22) & shuttling some hikers around on Thursday (6/23). Most hikers are off the ridge line above Kelso Valley Rd due to the heat at midday combined with gale force winds at night (40-60 mph). Have to go to ground with shade at midday & cannot hike at night in gale force winds.

poodle dog

By: Ray Drasher
May 13th, 2016

Just wanted to report in last month or so I have ridden from Mill Creek Summit to North Station and there is very little Poodle Dog Bush thru the area. The small amount should not affect anyone as long as watchful for the small amount left.
Ray Drasher

Major littering at Warner Springs area

By: Hamburger Helper
April 22nd, 2016

Someone has been dumping toilet-related trash in the crevices around Eagle Rock. A few weeks ago I found a fresh banana peel and human feces in the open at the base of one of the smaller boulders in front of the eagle. The trash can at the pipe gate outside the trailhead at Hwy 79, next to the Fire Station is overflowing and hikers are tossing their zip locks and misc trash on the ground below it and on the stone ledge above it. I might be able to clean it up when I go back in early May if the problem persists. There is a dumpster across the road at the Community Center!

Photo by: Martin Kuhlmann