Strawberry Peak southwest of Lake Arrowhead is the site of a historic fire lookout tower that was built in 1933. The lookout is manned by volunteers from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends during the fall months. Views from the tall tower include Lakes Arrowhead, Gregory, and Silverwood, San Bernardino Peak
and 10,000' Ridge in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, San Jacinto Peak
, Harrison Mountain
, the Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles
, Cucamonga Peak
and Mt. Baldy
, and the wide open Mojave Desert to the north and San Bernardino Valley to the south. On a clear day you can even see the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island!
Strawberry Peak was named because of the abundance of wild strawberries growing in the area. The nearby town of Twin Peaks was once known as Strawberry Flat.
Strawberry Peak was once on the HPS list but was delisted in 1969.
From Hwy 18 in Rim Forest (between Crestline and Lake Arrowhead) take Bear Springs Road (paved) north for 2 miles, following the signs to the lookout. You can park near the base of the tower and then there are about 40 steps to climb to get up to the fire lookout cab which looks out over the surrounding mountain landscape... So it's not much of a hike but makes for a pleasant family outing. Especially for those like me who love fire lookouts! This trip can be combined with a visit to Keller Peak
or Butler Peak
which also have historic fire lookouts atop them.
You need an Adventure Pass to park in this area
. They are $5/day or $30/year. Interagency Annual, Senior, and Access Passes are also accepted. These passes can be purchased at the nearby Arrowhead Ranger Station which is just a couple of miles east of the turnoff to Strawberry Peak.
The Strawberry Peak Lookout is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Memorial Day to Labor Day and longer on fall weekends if staffing is available. Upon reaching the lookout, a gate with a sign may be posted that will inform you if the lookout is open for public visitation. A Forest Service volunteer mans the lookout. This person is responsible for detecting fires and relaying radio messages to a dispatcher, who in turn sends firefighters and support equipment to extinguish the reported fire. The lookout may be closed due to fires or repair work. If the gate is open, you are welcome to visit the lookout, talk with the Forest Service volunteer, and enjoy the view which is spectacular.
No more than 4 – 5 people are recommended on the lookout at a time, as there is very little space. Please sign the daily log so we know you have been there. The lookout has just a couple of simple rules for safety; please do not sit on the catwalk railing or lean against any part of the building, particularly the windows or smudge them. The lookout needs a clean, unobstructed view at all times. The windows are very fragile and break easily.
The nearest campground is Dogwood Campground. It is on Hwy 18 just a couple of miles east of the turnoff for the Strawberry Peak Lookout. It has 93 sites and reservations are available by calling 1-877-444-6777 or by going to www.recreation.gov
External LinksSan Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) page on Strawberry Peak
San Bernardino National Forest Website
Rim of the World.net
NWS Weather forecast for Lake Arrowhead