Lightning Gulch Point is the unnamed prominent peak that resides between Sugarloaf Mountain
and Onyx Peak
. It has a prominence value of P745. The entire summit ridgeline is old weather beaten Sierra Juniper Woodland, with mixed Pinyon, Limber, and Lodgepole Pine. Lightning has amazing views of the western Mojave, Big Bear Lake peaks, and the San Bernardino high country.
Take the I-10 through San Bernardino getting off on the Orange exit, also marked SR-38. Take SR-38 through the suburbs and up into the mountains for 40 miles. At 40 miles you will reach Onyx Summit 8443 feet with a dirt road leading off on the right and a asphalt road leading off to the left.
Park on the east side of the road at the large turnout. The trailhead is the asphalt road on the west side of SR-38. Go through the opening into a large open dirt area. On the right you will see a 4wd route, very rugged and steep, hike up this as it rounds Peak 9156. Follow the route to the saddle where there is a intersection with a South-North dirt road. Hike to the left about 30-50ft. and you will see a rough 4wd route leading west up the slope. This route will gain the main ridge with amazing views of the Mojave. Continue on this route as it passes about five false summits. After you round Peak 9306 Lightning will come into view on the left. The woodland thins out on it's summit. Continue on this route as it drops to a saddle, then ascends directly up to the open summit area. There is a pair of triangle signs marking the summit cairn.
RT 5 miles, gain 1300-1500ft. 2-3 hours
This peak would be a great snowshoe hike. Also the upper portions of the 4wd drive route would be great for bikes. The lower portion near the trailhead would be more hike'a'bike.
You will need a Adventure Pass to park anywhere along the route. Adventure Passes are available at the Mill Creek ranger station at the lower reaches of SR-38.
Camping is available at many of the campgrounds you will pass along SR-38. Also if you continue on SR-38 you can drive into Big Bear Lake for many overnight options. The summit is open and flat enough for camping. I think it would be fun though it would be windy and cold.
Go to San Bernardino National Forest homepage for current conditions.
For more information on mountain biking in the Big Bear area check adventurehostel.com