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Butler Peak from Hesperia, CA Hesperia Lakes to Big Pine Flat & Bulter Peak
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You are here: Home : Mountain Biking Last Updated on 11/19/2005    
Diff: Rating 10/10
Scenic: Rating 8/10
Tech: Rating 3/10
Butler Peak from Hesperia, CA
         Hesperia Lakes to Big Pine Flat & Bulter Peak
Location: San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California
Region: Big Bear/Fawnskin Region
Total Distance: 70 Mi
Elevation Gain: 8,500 Ft
Season: April-Nov
Type: Out & Back
Start Elev: 3,120 Ft
Peak Elev: 8,535 Ft
Total Time: 7.33 hr
Time In: 4.67 hr
Time Out: 2.67 hr

Peak List Peak List
Peak Name Elevation
Butler Peak 8,535 Ft

Ride added by
on 07/24/2004
Driving Directions
You can park at Hesperia Lakes and ride from there. Take I-15 to Main St., go east about 8 miles to Hesperia Lakes on your left.
From Hesperia Lakes parking, head North on Arrowhead Lake Rd to the first road on your right, Calpella Ave (paved), and make a right. Follow this road to it's end at the Mojave River. Walk across the Mojave River ~1/4 mile (heavy sand, no water at most times) to the road which is Deep Creek Rd (paved). Head east on Deep Creek Rd for about 3/4 mile and continue east up the steep dirt road when Deep Creek Rd turns to the north. At the top of this short steep part is a gas line road (unpaved). Make a slight left here and ride this to the powerline road (unpaved). Make a right onto the powerline road and cross 2 gravel/asphalt roads. The third asphalt road with a lot of potholes is Sagebrush Ave. Make a left here a short distance to Roundup Way (paved) and make a right. Follow Roundup east a few miles along a dirt shoulder, watch for fast traffic. Roundup climbs to about 3600 feet and becomes unpaved. Continue on Roundup to Bowen Ranch Rd (unpaved) and make a right. Follow Bowen Ranch Rd a few miles to a large sign for Oak Springs Ranch @ 3940' and make a left onto this road which is also known as Coxey Truck Trail aka 3N14 (unpaved). Continue on this road about 13 long miles to Big Pine Flat (a campground with water available) @ 6834'. Continue on 3N14 past Hanna Flat Campground @ 7100' to 2N68 make a right and go to 2N13C and make a left following the signs to Bulter Peak @ 8535'. Park bike and walk up steps to fire lookout tower.
I was supposed to meet a guy who wanted to do this ride at Hesperia Lakes at 6:00am. I waited until 6:20am and he never showed so I took off. About a mile on Bowen Ranch road I saw a 3 foot rattlesnake sunbathing on the right side of the road. The first few miles of Coxey Road (Oak Springs Ranch Road) are miserable riding up, many places it's too loose and steep to ride and very hot even early in the morning. Once I got to about the ranch area, things start to improve and more becomes rideable. Shortly after that I entered the San Bernardino National Forest (signed, you need a dreaded adventure pass, but not on a bike!) and the road becomes 3N14. After I came around Rattlesnake Mountain (USGS 7.5' Bulter Peak Quad), I was still in the desert and started descending a little bit. Just after the road bends from the east to the south, there is a major fork with 2 equal quality unsigned roads. The left fork has a sign that says to 3N17, the right fork has no signs. The USGS map shows this fork is just after point 5741' and just before the road to Dawn O'Day Canyon. Take the right fork, it's 3N14 and begins to descend into a valley. Now is when I started to see the first few living large pine trees on the ride. Ascend up the other side of the valley to Little Pine Flat which is nothing more than a small, flat stand of pine trees (living!). The road from Little Pine Flat to Big Pine Flat is about the best riding of the whole day, both uphill and downhill. However this area was all burned during the Willow Fire. It's pretty smooth and climbs gradually until you get near Big Pine Flat when the slope increases some. At Big Pine Flat there is water and pit toilets. Big Pine Flat marks the point where you say goodbye to the desert, because it's all forested to Butler Peak. I drenched my clothes and head here and sat down for a bit and organized my water and had something to eat. Continue through Big Pine Flat on 3N14. Now's the annonying part, the road starts descending quite a ways. This is the biggest single descent on the whole ride in. After the descent, the climbing resumes back up to Hanna Flat Campground. After a short amount of climbing, I got a flat tire. I picked up a piece of wire or a staple of some sort which punctured the tube. I had new slime tubes in and it should've sealed the pucture because it was small. But then I discovered a larger tear on the spoke side of the tube. I checked the spokes and they were fine. I think it was a defective tube because it had another similar puncture that wasn't all the way through. Slime can't seal a spoke side puncture. Instead of messing with patches at this point I put in a new tube, which I had two of. This lasted fine the rest of the ride. The tire levers I had gave me problems. They were new, cheap, Schwinn and came with a patch kit. They sucked, made it real hard to get the tire off. After about 100 minutes of messing with my tires, I was rolling again. Now it was after 12:30pm. After a little more climbing, I arrived at Hanna Flat campground where there is more water. I stopped in here to drench myself again. The water here was colder than at Big Pine Flat. It felt so good to pour that cold water all over me. Out of Hanna Flat, the road is fairly level and eventually descends down a slight grade to the road to Butler Peak at a signed intersection on the right. The sign for Butler Peak is a fire lookout tower, look for this sign along the road to Butler Peak to avoid getting onto the wrong road. After a mile and not a whole bunch of climbing I thought I had about 3 miles left. But then I passed a sideways sign that said Bulter Peak 5 miles. And I said, I don't know if I got five miles left in me. I kept on climbing and I don't think it's quite five miles, maybe 4 at the most. I kept on climbing and road the entire road to Butler Peak. I didn't get off the bike once except to eat some peanuts and candy. I parked my bike behind the propane tank and climbed up to the tower where there was two nice volunteers, husband and wife. I got there right about 2pm. Enjoyed the breeze for a while and the view and left at about 2:30pm. Now comes the fun part, the descent.

I was down off the road to Bulter Peak and back on 3N14 in a matter of minutes. The part of the descent I was not looking forward to was the climb back up to Big Pine Flat, it was difficult, it was very, very hot and I was beginning to feel the effects of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. I made my way slowly to Big Pine Flat and had more to eat and drank as much of the cold water as I could, drenched myself once more and took off back into the desert. The next big climb was from the valley below Little Pine Flat all the way around Rattlesnake Mountain. I did some walking on this one, I was messed up, not low on energy, just chemically screwed and dehydrated. The descent down Coxey Road after passing the Oak Springs Ranch area was real fast. It was almost all downhill from there to Roundup Way where there is a slight hill back up Bowen Ranch Rd. At Roundup, there is more climbing, although a slight grade, it was tough. My thermometer was now reading 104ºF and it was miserable. I cruised down the other side of Roundup, pedaling as little as possible but there was a strong headwind, so a road that I usually descend at about 30mph, I was now doing at about 12 mph. I still had pleanty of water but it was all about 104ºF too. I poured some on my head and shirt, drank some here and there. From Roundup until I got home, the heat really started kicking in and kicking my @ss. I walked some, road some, walked some road some. Finally I got home at 5:30pm. Ice cold water, glucose, potassium, and sodium made me feel better within an hour.
Trail Condition
This first part of Coxey road is aweful for riding, it's too steep and loose. The rest is okay. Some of Bowen Ranch Rd is pretty loose, but rideable. The final ascent of the last few hundred feet to Butler Peak is rocky.
Forest Details
There's forest at Little Pine Flat and Big Pine Flat to Bulter Peak. The rest is either burned or barren.
Notes about this ride report
Lot of people in jeeps/dirt bikes/quads, asking me if I was okay... I guess I looked like hell. Some offered cold water and even rides, that was pretty nice.

Got to Hesperia Lakes at 5:50am
Started solo from Hesperia Lakes at 6:20am
Got to Big Pine Flat at 10:30pm
Butler Peak at 2:00pm after spending over an hour and a half fixing a flat.
Home at 5:30pm
Odometer read 34.8 miles when I arrived at Bulter Peak but this was after probably at least a mile of walking that wasn't included.
Computer said 4 hours 40 minutes ride time to Butler Peak from my house.
Odometer read 67.5 miles when I got home. I would say I walked as much as 3 miles round trip, so total distance is probably around 70 miles.
Average speed, round trip was 9.2 mph, it was 7 point something when I arrived at Butler Peak
Max speed was 32.8 mph
Odometer reading after ride: 5007 miles
Total ride time that computer counted 7:19:29
I ended up drinking about 10 liters and lost about 10 pounds by the time I got home.
I started this ride with 8 liters on my back and 2 - 28 ouncers on the bike, (approx 2-1/2 gallons altogether).
My pack weighed 20 pounds when I got home as I still had quite a bit of (hot) water with me.
Additional Elevation & Distance Information
Lowest elevation: 2900'
Elevation Gain: 7000' going, 1500' back, 8500' total
Added on 11/19/2005 by TractorUp
Start time: 7:30am
Big Pine Flat time: 10:30am
Butler Peak time: 12:10pm
Leave Butler Peak: 12:25pm
Blowout rear tire on a rock: 12:30pm
Pump breaks: 12:50pm
Uhh shit: 12:50pm
Well, it's a 33 mile walk home: 12:50pm
Manage to get 10-15 pounds in rear tire: 1:30pm
Descend 8 miles really slow
Run into 4 guys from OC with a pump.
Manage to get 20 pounds in rear tire (it felt like more)
Ride away thinking I've got ~35 psi
Ride home cautiously
Home at 4:10pm

Ride time from my house to Big Pine Flat: 2 hours 56 minutes
Ride time from Big Pine Flat to Butler Peak: 1 hour 28 minutes
Ride time from my house to Butler Peak: 4 hours 24 minutes.
Average Speed at summit of Butler Peak: 8.10 MPH

RIDE TIME: 7:15:17

Ate a gu packet, granola bar, power bar on the way up and a granola bar on the way down. Drank 148 ounces... a camelbak and 2 bottles, used every drop. Another bottle would have been nice. Rode with arm and leg warmers on all day, but not necessary at all, just didn't want to get burned.

Took off with Romolo at 7:30am. He turned back at 9am right at Oak Springs Ranch to do some stuff. Met up with Brett & Aaron from San Diego at 8:30am just after the intersection of Bowen Ranch Rd with Oak Springs Ranch Road (3N14). Oak Springs Ranch Road is still in good shape, pretty free from sand and all rideable. Big Pine Flat and Hanna Flat Campgrounds are shut down, the water is turned off. There is still a few puddles and running water on 3N14 near Coxey Meadow and just below Big Pine Flat. The road to Butler peak had a big icy puddle in it, maybe 2 miles up from 3N14 and a running stream, had to walk around it. About halfway up the road to Butler Peak from 3N14 I flipped down to granny ring to try to conserve water because my Camelbak was almost empty and I had about a bottle and a half left on the bike. I parked my bike behind the propane tank and walked up. It was windy and chilly up there and the tower is all shut down for the winter with steel covering the windows. Damn, what a view. There's a light snow covering on San Gorgonio and the 9 peak ridge to San Bernardino Peak down to about 9500 feet elevation. Just after leaving the summit, I was riding down 2N13 pretty quick and hit a little rock in the wrong place, pinch flat in the rear tire. Luckily the tire didn't seem damaged. I pulled two thorns out of the tire when I was changing the tube. I put a little air in the new tube to make it easier for me to install, this took maybe 40-50 pumps with my stupid pump. I flipped the lock lever back down on my pump and it broke off. I managed to get the pump off the tube with some pliers. This pump has a ratio of about 200 pumps for 5 pounds on a good day. I smash that pump on the valve stem and try to hold it tight pumping like mad cause the broken part is digging into my fingers. I take a break to let my fingers get some color back and do this on and off about 4 or 5 more times. I thought I got about 25 pounds in there, but then again it felt like I was riding a flat tire. I asked a few people driving by if they had a pump, but nobody did. I took off going real slow trying to keep my weight off the tire. I was maybe a mile from Big Pine Flat when I ran into 4 guys riding from Orange County that had a pump. They let me use it. I pumped it for quite a while but as it turns out I got home with only 20psi in there. As I was pumping I saw the tire was sliced about 3/8", so it's probably good I didn't put more air in there. I took it easy on the bike the rest of the way home, but I was still moving decently. Probably would have got home at about 2:30pm without the flat and pump breaking. Great day for a ride, can't beat this weather for November. What's with me and Butler Peak and flat tires? I don't get flats very often, actually 4 in the last 2 years that the slime didn't fix that I remember, 2 of them on Butler Peak. I'm done for the year with this long riding bullshit... well, probably not, there's still a month to go. I need me some CO2.
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