Trail Name: Seven Oaks
Forest Service Designation: 0E01
Total Distance: 2 miles
Overview: Steep trail from the Skyline Ridge down into the Santa Ana River Valley.
Activities: Hiking, Horses, and Bikes
Trail Type: 100% Singletrack
Description: Begin at the benches where Skyline Trail, Pine Knot Trail, Grandview Point Trail, and Seven Oaks Trail all come to a 4 way crossing zone. Head south, down the beautiful opening valley of Seven Oaks, through a couple of switchbacks and past rocky outcroppings. Drop into the namesake oaks, and follow the trail down through the tough decomposed granite bench cuts. The finish will bring you onto Radford Truck Trail, 2N06.
Possible Loops / Variations: Make it an out and back from either the top or the bottom. Consider adding it on to your hike up Pine Knot trail. You can also take a bike down Seven Oaks, back up Radford, along Skyline Trail, and back to your starting point. This is a good testpiece for mountain bikers, as the descent is fast and hard and the climb up Radford is a grind fest.
Trailhead and Parking: Good parking at either end of the marked Seven Oaks trailhead. See above map.
The Seven Oaks Trail is OPEN for use! Read below to see the story of a trail brought back to life.
As part of the official San Bernardino National Forest trail system, the Seven Oaks trail is located in the Santa Ana River drainage South of Big Bear and travels approximately 2.5 miles from Forest Service Road 2N10, near Grand View Point, downhill to 2N06, near Camp Radford. While the trail is at least 30 years old and documented on many versions of USGS topo maps, it is currently overgrown and impassable in most areas. The Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation is working with the US Forest Service to rehabilitate this multi-use trail that enjoys spectacular views of San Gorgonio Peak, the highest point in Southern California. Once repaired, the Seven Oaks trail can provide a unique pathway for hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers to travel between the Big Bear and Santa Ana River Valleys. We hope you will help us with this unique opportunity to bring a special trail back to life.
May 6, 2010 – Board members from the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, along with US Forest Service personnel responsible for trail maintenance, surveyed the lower trail head.
May 13, 2010 – Gary and Randy began the initial tagging of the proposed lower trail head section from the parking area to the base of the first switchback. Due to the heavy oak thicket grown over the original trail bed, progress was slow and resulted in only 300′ of passable corridor after several hours of clearing.
June 3, 2010 – Gary and Randy completed the initial flagging of the proposed lower trail head section from the parking area to the base of the first switchback. Significantly more progress was made during this session. A tagged, passable corridor now exists parallel to the ravine at the lower trail head up to the big oak tree where the first switchback begins – a distance of approximately 1/3 of a mile. The next step is to review the tagged section with US Forest Service trail personnel and determine the exact trail bed location and remaining clearance requirements. A review with the Forest Service of the upper trail head off of 2N10 near Grandview Point is currently scheduled for 8am on Thursday, June 17.
June 10, 2010 – US Forest Service trail personnel met with Randy and Gary at the lower trail head on 2N06 and reviewed the previously flagged section. Most of the proposed corridor made sense as marked, with a few portions re-routed slightly to either add more gradual sweeping S-turns or to better avoid the adjacent drainage and its soft decomposed granite bed. The Forest Service gave approval of the final flagged route with the go ahead to clear the overgrown trail corridor to the proper 8′ wide x 10′ high dimensions and begin work on re-establishing the trail tread. Next steps for this lower trail head include clearing the initial corridor for the re-routed sections, then clearing the corridor to the proper full dimensions, flagging the trail tread, and cutting the tread.
June 17, 2010 – Reviewed the upper trail head off of 2N10 at Grandview Pt. and IE01 with US Forest Service trail and timber personnel. Phil, Gary, and Randy braved thick Mountain Whitethorn bushes to help flag the initial upper trail route and to find older existing flags from a previous flagging effort years prior. Some progress was made – about 1/3 of a mile down is roughly flagged – but terrain and design challenges at the very beginning of the trail prevented complete flagging of the entire 1/3 mile. Next steps for this upper trail head are to finish flagging the very beginning and cut an initial corridor through the thick chaparral consistent with the recent flagging.
June 22, 2010 – Received word from the US Forest Service trail personnel that a US Forest Service trail crew, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), cleared large logs on the lower section near 2N06 and started some brushing beginning on the first switchback.
June 24, 2010 – More brushing from the switchback towards the bottom of the trail up to about the 1 mile point done by the US Forest Service ARRA-funded trail crew. They also slashed and disguised the skid line to discourage short cuts at the top of the trail. Thanks Jeanette & Crew!
June 26, 2010 – Phil, Gary, Randy, Sander, and Trail Boss Siri spent the morning surveying from the bottom to almost halfway up, as well as clearing more trail corridor below the first switchback.
July 1, 2010 – Siri, Randy, and Phil met with the US Forest Service at the upper trail head and flagged the final entrance route from 2N10 down to the first boulders. The Forest Service installed bulletin boards at both the upper and lower trail heads.
July 15, 2010 – Close to 50 people, including assorted Conservation Corps and Trail Foundation Members, spent the morning brushing and doing finish work on the upper trail. A demonstration section was established and flagged at the upper trail head to serve as an example of how the completed trail should look. Signage and a map was installed on the bulletin board explaining the restoration project. Special thanks to the San Bernardino National Forest Association and the US Forest Service for lending their crews to the cause.
July 29, 2010 – Foundation Board members spent the morning honing their finishing skills on the trail tread near the upper trail head.
August 12, 2010 – Trails Foundation members, Pete Fulkerson of Equada Outfitters, and the Urban Conservation Corps numbered over 20 workers and discarded cut brush near the upper trail head. Three log benches were installed at the upper trail head and afford a spectacular view of the Santa Ana River Valley and San Gorgonio Mountain. A reporter and photographer from the San Bernardino Sun visited to document our work.
August 20, 2010 – Armed with chainsaws, Gary, Siri, and Randy performed finish brushing near the lower trail head as part of their Sawyer Field Certification that authorizes them to operate chainsaws in the San Bernardino National Forest. Thanks, Jeanette and Anne!
September 9, 2010 – Ed Wallace and Gary Keller benched 170 more yards just below the middle section on a knoll that transitions from the west facing slope down to the east facing slope.
October 9, 2010 – Seven Trails Foundation members did quite a bit on banking just above the mid-point and discovered one section of about 100 yards that is going to need some retaining wall work. We were pleased that there was no major washout from the recent rains.
Oct. 23, 2010 – Nine people worked on the trail, hiking up from the lower trail head to above the area that we worked on 2 weeks ago, and again completing a considerable amount of benching. Four mountain bike riders were met coming down the trail (Pat Follett & Company), as well as one lady hiking. It was encouraging to come across people using the trail! We will start to meet at the upper trail head on the future work days.
November 11, 2010 – Another good showing of 10 volunteers hiked down from the upper trail head & finished off the areas that needed banking (or benching). With Winter and snow approaching, we plan to call it good with further maintenance until next Spring.
April 21, 2011 – Thanks to Trails Foundation Member Gary Keller, Driz Cook, and 10 of the instructors at High Trails, (great workers!), 2 downed trees near the bottom were removed, 6 water bars were installed, and the worst side slope areas were re-benched. Gary reported that the Seven Oaks Trail looked better than expected after the especially hard wet winter, and that a survey hike along its distance shows that the trail is now clear from top to bottom. Gary figures one more day of trail work on the upper third will put it in good shape!
August 14, 2011 – Peter Sutherland organized a word day and dragged along Gary Keller, Randy Putz, Craig Smith and four more helpers to get the trail in final shape.