The Pinnacles of Lake Arrowhead is a group of small, granite peaks Northwest of Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains. There are many excellent climbing opportunities with hundreds of bolted climbs scattered throughout the hills. Many local climbers compare the quality of the rock to that of Joshua Tree. The chaparral and manzanita surrounding and covering the Pinnacles tends to be the largest deterrent for most to some of the more remote walls and formations. A trail leads to the beautiful meadow just South of the Ugly Wall, supposedly this awesome little spot is referred to by local climbers as "The Center of the Universe". All other trails must be followed carefully as many small use-trails lead of into other areas,the main summit itself, and multiple bushwacks. There are at least 5 walls/groups of outcroppings that are bolted, with the area itself totaling in more than 50+ routes. The Pinnacles' main summit is an HPS peak and can easily be climbed in a day with the nearby HPS peak Mt. Marie Louise.
Coming from the South:
•Drive east on I-10 to I-215.
•Drive north on I-215 to SR 30.
•Go east on SR 30 to SR 18 (Waterman Avenue) in San Bernardino. Exit the freeway and turn left (north).
•Drive north on SR 18 to Daley Canyon Road about 5.5 miles east of the Crestline SR 138 turnoff. Turn left (north) on Daley Canyon Road. Note your odometer and go as follows:
•At 0.5 mile, junction with SR 189. Turn left.
•At 0.8 mile, fork. Go right and then immediately left onto Grass Valley Road.
•At 2.8 miles, fork with Grass Valley Road on the left. Turn left.
•At 5.3 miles, intersection with SR 173. Turn left.
•At 5.5 miles, intersection with Pilot Rock Road (2N33).
•Continue on SR 173 about 0.7 mile to the entrance of a rifle range. This is the trailhead. Drive about 0.2 mile further to the pavement end. Park here. Alternate parking is at a concrete water tank about 0.2 mile south of the rifle range.
Coming from the north:
Highway 173 has an impressive stretch of single lane dirt road cut into the side of a mountain with 700-900ft drops in some areas,
**With the record setting rains of 2004, the highway was washed out in many regions. It has been repaired for the most part, but is still an exhilirating drive.**
•Go east on I-10 and then north on I-15 to SR 138. Turn right (east).
•Go east 8.5 miles on SR 138 to SR 173 near Lake Silverwood. Turn left (east) on SR 173.
•Go east on SR 173. The highway is paved for the first 8 miles and then becomes a dirt road. Continue 7 miles on the dirt road south up the Mojave River Canyon (spectacular) to the beginning of pavement.
•Park off the road near the rifle range which will be on your right (west). Do not block the entrance to the range.
•You can drive about 0.2 mile further to where the pavement ends and park there or alternatively you can park at a concrete water tank about 0.2 mile south of the rifle range.
The Pinnacles lie in the San Bernardino National Forest, an adventure pass must be displayed on your car dash when parking anywhere in the national forest. The permits are $5 for a daily permit or $30 for an annual permit. The permits can be purchased at any San Bernardino National Forest ranger station or online at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/. Local Rangers have been known to be pretty active in ticketing in this area, so the permit is advised. No permits are needed for hiking in the Pinnacles. Overnight stays require a camping permit, and a stove permit if needed.
When To Climb
The Pinnacles can be climbed anytime of year. Being situated in the rain-shadow of the San Bernardino Mountains, they receive limited precipitation, and only get snow and ice on the tallest summit a few weeks out of the year. They are a definite chaparral environment, cold winter weather, and hot dry summers. The spring is the nicest time of year to be out, the summers can get pretty hot (high 90’s). There are no reliable water sources, so plan accordingly.
Camping is allowed in the area. There is a nice meadow to South of Rotten Rock Valley and the 'Center of the Universe', but the lack of water, and the short hike in make this a better day use area.