With the goal of exploring new areas in Big Bear and also covering a lot of miles, we organized a day run up to Clarks Summit. We started on the south-side of Big Bear off of Highway 38 near San Gorgonio Campground. The trailhead marker is 1N04 off of Highway 38.
Overall, the days run would clock in at about 4 hours, including a few breaks...including lunch. Total mileage is approximately 30 miles.
After airing down, we started the well-graded trail, which very gradually ascends the mountain side, passing by a few private camps along the way.
At approximately the six mile mark from the start of the original trail off of highway 38 is the intersection for Radford Truck trail number 2N06. And despite the black diamond indicator on the trail marker, the biggest challenge was probably safely navigating around a lone mountain biker.
Ascending the mountain road, highway 38 quickly disappears into a sea of trees in the valley below. The elevation gained on Radford Truck trail provides for excellent views across the valley and toward Sugarloaf Mountain.
Radford Truck trail was in fairly good condition this day; seems as if it were recently graded.
Sugarloaf Mountain is seen in the distance from the edge of Radford Truck Trail. Sugarloaf peaks at 9,952 and is the tallest in the San Bernadino Mountain range. In winter time, Sugarloaf Mountain would be covered in snow, of course only when it's a non-drought year in California.
At approximately the 12 mile mark, Radford Truck trail reaches Skyline drive, trail 2N10. Skyline Drive is well graded and can be heavily trafficked in both directions. Expect to see other off-roaders (including motorcycles and ATVs), hikers, mountain-bikers, and more. Take care while driving to help prevent a head-on collision.
From the intersection of Radford Truck trail and Skyline Drive, turning west (left) onto Skyline Drive will lead to Clark's Summit (for a short hike) and eventually to the intersection for Clarks Grade.
The sign for Lodgepole Pine; head left.
At nearly 17 miles in, there is an option to hike out to Clarks Summit (we did not hike it this day). And just after that point, is the intersection for Clarks Grade, trail marker 1N54 that leads down to Seven Oaks Road.
Clarks Grade is slightly more rough than Radford Truck Trail. Though overall, easily traversed in a four-wheel drive vehicle with high ground clearance. Possible for ambitious Subaru drivers.
Here there are more incredible views. Though, keep your eyes on the trail while moving as this shelf-road could be unforgiving as many sections are sheer drop offs. If you don't like heights, this may not be for you.
Arriving in the vast expanses of Monache Meadow at 8,000 feet elevation instills a humbling feeling that exemplifies our reason for escaping the confines of daily life.
Day two of camping in the Inyo National Forest