If you are looking for a great place to off road and get away from the desert heat of California, then heading up to Lake Silverwood might be the perfect trip for you. As part of the San Bernardino National Forest, the lake is located between Hesperia and Crestline. This collection of trails varies in elevation from about 3000 to 6000 feet, making for cooler temperatures than most of SoCal’s popular riding locations. With trail options ranging from tame fire roads to some challenging climbs, this destination ride will be fun for the whole family. The majestic views of green forested mountains and the lake itself make for a great family outing.
One of the many places to park is the Cedar Springs Dam Staging Area. It is located off highway 173 near the Northeast end of the lake by the dam itself. (From the 15 freeway, exit highway 138 towards Silverwood Lake and make a left turn about 8 miles onto 173. Travel another 2-3 miles till you see the staging area sign and proceed from there.)
From this staging area, there is access to Miller Canyon, Pinnacles, Devils Hole, Crab Flats, Deep Creek, Big Pine Flats and more. In the area, there are close to 20 trails in total, and that is without including the trails within the Big Bear area. We recently rode the Miller Canyon trail above Lake Silverwood and were greeted by awesome views and a strong cool breeze. Designated signs along all trails help to easily navigate these OHV areas, but if you need some extra help you can pick up a Motor Vehicle Use Map from any ranger station or order it to come by mail.
Green stickers, spark arresters, and an adventure pass are required to ride. Daily and annual adventure passes can be purchased online at MyScenicDrives.
Camping with or without a trailer is reasonably priced and easy to do as well. Big Pine Flats Campground is first come first serve but other OHV campgrounds can be reserved.
Reservations can be made on these sites:
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area: Mesa Campground
If you just plan on staying for the day, then the Miller Canyon Staging Area or the Pinnacles Staging Area are convenient places to park and ride. We recently rode from Miller to test a few vehicles and found that we were able to have a fun ride and still found places to test the cars abilities to handle climbs, rock crawl, and twisty terrain. It was also nice to be able to easily park our 40 foot trailer in the shade near picnic tables where we ate lunch before our ride. However most campsites in the area require trailers to be under 36 feet.
With access to trails that average 10 miles in each direction, it is a pleasant place to ride whether you are camping all week or just going for picnicking day trip. If you would like more information and trail maps for the park and its surrounding areas check out California Parks And Dirtopia San Bernardino