Today, we head out to California once more to the San Bernardino Peak in Angelus oaks. It is a tough but highly rewarding hike that you can take if you are in California. California is known for its many mountains, backcountry hiking trails, theme parks, coastal cities, and of course, its crystal blue beaches.As you may already know, hiking and camping is my favorite thing to do – it’s in my blood. I find it really difficult to go by a whole week without at least spending some time outdoors, and California is one of my most favorite places to go.
If you have the chance to go there or live in Cali yourself, a hike I would highly recommend for you is the San Bernardino Peak Hike. It’s a bit of a challenge so you need some preparation and you need to know as much as you can about it!
San Bernardino Peak Hike Overview
The San Bernardino Peak sits 10,649 feet (3,246 meters) high. The trail itself is about 16 miles (25.8 kilometers) and takes an average of about 8 to 10 hours to complete, depending on your level of experience. It is a difficult climb, with an elevation gain of 4,650 feet (1,417 meters) so it is not really suitable for beginners.
The crowds in the San Bernardino trail are very light so if you’re looking for a trail without a lot of people, this is the one to go to. If you have a dog, you can take him on the trail – just be sure to keep him on a leash.
Reaching the peak, you will be rewarded with views of Mt Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, and the Inland Empire.
Planning and Preparation
Before heading out, it is advisable that you plan ahead since it is a difficult hike and you need to pay for a permit to pass through.
1. Camping and Permit
This is a pretty long and tough hike, so you can turn the day hike into an overnight backpacking trip. This is especially applicable for intermediate hikers, or a way for beginner hikers to reach the peak.
If you are going to stay overnight, you can camp at Limber Pine Bench Camp. The campground offers one of the best views in the area. Just remember to call the ranger’s office beforehand to check on the availability of the campsites there.
Then you can either send your permit or show it to the ranger at the trailhead. If by chance you forgot to get a permit, you can take a chance and get a walk-in permit from the Mill Creek Visitor Center. If there are slots available, you can fill up the permit there. But if there are no slots, you won’t be able to hike, so it’s best to get a permit ahead of time!
2. What to Expect
There are just a few things you need to expect before heading out there.
3. Suggested Gear
Since the hike to the peak is quite tough, there are two pieces of equipment that I feel you shouldn’t go without.
4. Water Supply
There is no water available, except sometimes the spring in Limber Pines has water that you can get. Since the water is coming from a spring, you need to purify it somehow. A pretty cool water bottle you can try is the Camelbak All Clear UV Purifier Bottle, which uses ultraviolet light to treat the water inside.
Or, if you want a larger supply of water that can last longer, you can use hydration packs instead, like the Camelbak MULE Hydration Pack, which integrates a water pack into a backpack where you can put the rest of your things.
5. GPS + Emergency Beacon
It’s never safe to hike alone, in case emergencies happen. Take a lesson from 127 Hours. But a great little tool to have with you is the ACR ResQLink + GPS Personal Locator Beacon. It is a great tool that will help the US Coastguard and other rescuers find you in case of an emergency. But please learn more about it as there are laws related to the use of emergency locators.
Nine Peaks Challenge
San Bernardino Peak is surprisingly an overlooked summit among all the other (and more famous) summits of the Los Angeles basin. But actually, San Bernardino Peak is just the first summit of the “Nine Peaks Challenge” that leads up to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio.
The nine peaks in the challenge are:
You can do each peak as a day hike one at a time, or turn it into a multiday backpacking trip. You can do it in the order above or in the reverse, depending on which trailhead you start. But if you are coming from San Bernardino Peak, that is the order to follow.
So if you’re in California and you are looking for a hike that isn’t full of people, try San Bernardino Peak. And if you’re up for it, or you feel like you are ready, you can turn your hike into a multiday backpacking hike to try and complete the “Nine Peaks Challenge” of San Gorgonio. I can assure you the challenge will be worth the effort because of all the amazing views that you will find there.
Remember to stay safe and have a happy adventure!