This knife ridge, linking Sugarloaf Mountain and Sugarlump Peak (the top of Bear Mountain’s Geronimo Ski Run), has a faint foot trail running it’s length and offers a possibility for a new destination hike in Big Bear that will draw locals and visitors alike.
PLEASE NOTE: right now this is NOT a system trail. As such we are not encouraging you to use this trail, only to consider it as concept and potential project.
Looking at current USFS Maps, we can see that this trail is already designated as a continuation of the Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail (2E18.1&2). This means that it potentially can be brought into the system and up to Forest Service trail standards and maintained like any other trail in the Big Bear Valley.
How this trail fell into disrepair and off the current trail inventory is a question no one can yet answer. If we’re going to bring this trail back to life, however, we’ve got to make sure there is solid access to it and a well thought out plan that takes into account the environmental effects to the area surrounding it.
This would be a non-motorized multi-use trail, designed primarily for hikers because of the rough terrain but usable by equestrians and mountain bikers alike.
Does Big Bear Need Another Trail up Sugarloaf?
The current route to the top of Sugarloaf is 5 miles up an old road bed (Green Canyon) and along a forested and rocky ridgeline. While beautiful in it’s own right, this route has few exposed vistas and the objective of Sugarloaf Peak is rarely in sight as one travels to the summit.
Traveling from the western side, along Sugarlump Ridge, provides consistent views of Sugarloaf Peak as well as dramatic views of both the Big Bear Valley and the Santa Ana River Valley.
The Sugarlump Ridge Trail would provide a 5 mile hike to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, accessed conveniently off USFS Road 2N10. Currently visitors that day hike in the Big Bear Valley cluster around several very popular and heavily impacted trails.
This new trail possibility can spread user impact and offer a reasonable length, high caliber destination hike with amazing views of the San Bernardino National Forest.
Steps in Making it Happen
- Work with the USFS to determine the official status of this listed trail.
- Work with the USFS to determine the best way to access this trail; either with a trail along USFS road 2N21 or link via Skyline on the Upper Plumber’s section, traversing through Bear Mountain Ski Resort. ***An interesting note is that Fuels Reduction plans include the length of this ridgeline, possibly allowing for trail building opportunities similar to that of Skyline.
- Determine the strength of community and USFS support for this project.
- Rehabilitate and build this trail to meet USFS standards.
But There’s More…Big Bear Rim Trail
From the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, one can continue on to Wildhorse Meadows, cross 2N93, and then take existing trails and roads to Onyx Summit and link with the PCT. Right now the PCT can connect with Hanna Flats, but there are proposals underway for a trail that goes to Crafts Peak and down to Camp Creek Trail, which, via Siberia Creek, can connect back to Skyline.
This route has precedent; part of it (from Wildhorse Meadows to Onyx) was used under approval by the USFS in the Kodiak 100 running race the fall of 2013.
Having a 50+ mile trail that surrounds the Big Bear Valley would provide a multi-day backpacking loop, drawing a new and much needed user group to Big Bear and increasing recreational tourism.
Many Pictures and Source Material
We’re providing this information both to the trail users of Big Bear Valley and to the USFS; they have requested from us detailed GPS information, pictures, and rationale for this trail to aid them in their project assessment and development. If you have additional information or opinions concerning this project, please contact us.