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DesertMud - Hiking, Mountain Biking, Pine Trees, Southern California
Hiking Mountain Biking Pine Trees Jul 7, 2022
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You are here: Home : Mountain Biking Last Updated on 09/04/2004    
Diff: Rating 8/10
Scenic: Rating 8/10
Tech: Rating 5/10
Hesperia to Arrowhead & Silverwood
         2 lakes MTB ride
Location: San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest, Southern California
Region: Lake Arrowhead Region
Total Distance: 52 Mi
Elevation Gain: 6,500 Ft
Season: Year-round
Type: Loop
Start Elev: 2,920 Ft
Peak Elev: 5,600 Ft
Total Time: 5.67 hr

Ride added by
on 09/04/2004
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.
Take Thomas Guide San Bernardino County map pages 4738 and 4737 for getting around in the Lake Arrowhead area. Also take USGS 7.5' Lake Arrowhead Quad and Silverwood Lake Quad.

From Hesperia Lakes, ride south on Arrowhead Lake Rd to Hwy 173. Make a left, go 1 mile and the road becomes unpaved. About 6 miles up the unpaved portion is Willow Creek Jeep Trail 3N34. Make a left here. Note that this road is currently closed due to fire damage... whether or not bikes are allowed, I couldn't make sense of the signs. One red one said closed to fire damage or something like that, but 2 others said "no motorized vehicles". I wasn't the standard red route closed stick, it was more like a poster board. 2 to 1 says closed to motorized vehicles only, so I proceeded. On the other side of the gate it was mostly all mountain bike tracks so others had made the same decision before me. A short distance after the gate is the Pinnacles Staging Area and a 3N34 detour... I didn't know what that was. I proceeded on 3N34 which was in pretty bad shape and definately not rideable in the other direction. There's some technical descents on this route that I don't remember at all from the last time I road this route in 1998. Steep ascents and steeper descents and hill after hill after hill. Granny gear saw some action here. Eventually 3N34 makes a hairpin turn back around a small semi-loop and continues to the east and passes the Squint's Ranch Private Road. At one of the next road junctions, 3N34 heads out north towards the desert. This is where you head straight, more or less, onto some other road 2N-something er other. This road is marked "most difficult", and they got it right, most of it is unrideable, which I do not remember at all from 1998. Eventually you come to a small plateau and another road junction with a burnt tree that the top of the trunk looks like it's about to fall off. Here's where I made a mistake. I took 2N28Y to the right marked "more difficult". Well, this was another long walk up some pretty steep hills. I should've gone straight instead which would have kept me on Squint's Ranch Road which eventually curves around into Hook Creek Road. 2N28Y passes a small OHV trail maybe a hundred yards north of the junction and then begins climbing. Eventually, you see a 3 or 4 story house way up on the hill in the direction you're heading. 2N28Y finally reaches the paved road junction of Banff Dr and Mammoth Dr where there is a gate with a similar sign setup as before at Willow Creek (3N34) and Hwy 173. I took Mammoth Dr only to find out that it loops back around into Banff Dr. Then I took Banff Dr to Yellowstone Dr, made a left and it loops around to Yosemite Dr. Made a left about 1 block down to Highway 173. I made a right onto hwy 173 and took it to Willow Creek Rd and made a left. Then I road a little mess of roads above the lake for a few minutes turned around and made a right into this private beach area. I went down to the water and it was muckier than hell. I found an unused dock and went out and dipped my head in the silty water. Got back on the bike, refilled the Camelbak with 2 liters of Gatorade, back on Willow Creek Rd to Hwy 173. Made a left onto Hwy 173 to the ranger station opposite Pilot Rock Rd and had me a picnic and a cold shower, they've got water there! Then I was debating whether to ride back down Hwy 173 or head out to Pilot Rock and over to Silverwood Lake. Feeling pretty good, I filled up 1 liter of water and headed up Pilot Rock Rd 2N33. This was a nice ride, and on familiar territory, and in a forest that's mostly not burned. Although, I'm sorry to say, one really nice Coulter Pine that I remember as far back as 1997 as being one of the best looking ones out there, bit the dust. It was dead as dead can be. Up to Pilot Rock and then down. Riding down from Pilot Rock is always relaxing, it's a real nice forest road, nice grade to not be on the brakes all the time. Now I was debating whether to stay on 2N33 or drop down steeper 2N36 to Pilot Rock Conservation Camp and Hwy 138. Not wanting to face the desert again this early in the day, I opted for the longer route to Hwy 138. Made a left on 2N36. These two miles fly by in an instant... there's maybe 5 feet up uphill on the descent. This road is not fun to ride up because it's hard to get traction, but it's a real nice ride down. 2N36 meets up with Dart Canyon Rd. Make a right here back to the paved road, make a left a few hundred feet to Hwy 138. Highway 138 from this point is a nice ride cause it's a wide shoulder all the way down to Hwy 173... past Hwy 173, the shoulder disappears completely, however. Take Hwy 138 to Hwy 173, make a left and go about a mile to the 90ยบ bend to the right. The closed gate is Las Flores Rd. The trail to the left, just in front of the gate loops up to some powerlines and back around to Las Flores Rd. Portions of these roads look like they've been graded in the last few days. That and the two large graders sitting behind the gate hint at it. I don't like going this way on this Las Flores Rd, it's too sandy and there's too much walking once you get to the steep part and it's always hot and miserable out here. Once to the high point, it's a lot better descending and a quick ride out to the aqueduct at the closed gate and back to Ranchero Rd in Hesperia. Just before Las Flores Rd drops down toward Summit Valley Rd, make a right and ride a trail along the rim of the plateau to Ryeland Rd, unmarked. You can take this now paved portion thru residentail area too Ranchero Rd. Make a right onto Ranchero and ride to Arrowhead Lake Rd. Make a right back to Hesperia Lakes.
I got a flat just after the newly paved portion of Hwy 173 begins while ascending early in the ride. I take the tire off to find that it's the same type of flat that I got on the ride Hesperia to Bulter Peak... a rim-side tear in the tube. This time however, there were absolutely no punctures on the outside of the tube. So now I'm convinced that these Slime tubes that I have, which I still have 4 left, are totally defective. Damn things. It's not a pinch flat, it's not a spoke flat, it's just a rim-side tear in the tube. This time, being that there was only one puncture and no other sign of damage, I tried patching the tube with them sticky patches. I think I had about 25 pounds in it before the patch failed and the air instantly rushed out. So I get out a fresh tube, just a cheap Schrader tube and had trouble getting the presta insert out of the wheel. Finally I got that out and put the new tube in and was rolling fine the rest of the ride. Killed about an hour and 20 minutes here though.

I got a late start on this ride. Took off at 9am. It wasn't a super hot day, but once on unpaved Hwy 173, it really started heating up. I had originally planned to ride out to Green Valley Lake on a jeep trail that I didn't know if it existed or not. Being that I made the wrong turn, I never got to see if it was even there... bummer.
Trail Condition
The jeep trails on the north side of Lake Arrowhead are in piss-poor shape. Willow Creek, Squints Ranch and that damn 2N28Y, not much good riding and totally dry. Last time I was out here there were stream crossings all over and the trails were in much better shape and much more rideable, that was June 1998.
Forest Details
North of Lake Arrowhead, it's pretty much all burned now. Burned, burned, burned... there's no shade, none.
Notes about this ride report
Computer Readings:
Distance: 51.92 miles
Odometer: 5443.2 miles
Max Speed: 38.5 MPH
Ride Time: 5:38:24 Hours
Average Speed: 9.2 MPH
Miles on new computer (Cateye Enduro 8): 337.38 Miles
Start time: 9 AM
End time: 5 PM

I started this ride with 5.5 liters on my back and 2 28oz bottles on the bike. I had maybe a half liter at the ranger station and filled up 1 liter. I got back with 1 liter and 1 1/2 28 oz bottles on the bike. I only lost 4 net pounds on this ride which is about 2 liters.
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