Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.70 mi (5.95 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Pinnacles hike will take you on a 1000' climb to panoramic views over the San Bernardino Mountains, as well as down on the Victorville high desert area. 

Despite its location just a couple miles outside of Lake Arrowhead, the Pinnacles trail feels much more like Joshua Tree, with desert plants, formations of granite boulders, and a near total lack of trees once you emerge from the lowest elevations of the hike. The trail traces a route over packed dirt and rocks, includings lots of scrambling up boulders once you hit the higher portions of the hike.

An important note for those looking to do this hike is to be prepared with a GPS map of the route. While much of the trail is clear, numerous stray footpaths and false summits, along with sections of scrambling up boulders, the routefinding will be immensely easier if you have a GPS track to reference along your route. At points where it appears footpaths diverge, or you must climb up lines of boulders, previous hikers have placed cairns, which can help guide you.

The trailhead itself is nearly as confusing as other points of the hike, with two separate parking areas. One at a signed gravel shoulder with room for about 10 cars along the side of Highway 173. Another trailhead lies beside the Gun Club. Both trails meet, and continue up paralleling a creekbed. Towering above in the near distance are the tall boulder pinnacles. The boulders you see, however, sit about 700' beneath the actual trail end at the summit, which are a little further back. 

Along the bottom of the hill, the trail remains a clear path, though the loose gravel will make it a slippery path and worth slowing down a bit. As the trail progresses, it becomes increasingly steep, until soon becoming more scrambles up bouldery slopes than actual trail. Keep an eye out for the cairns here.

Upon reaching the top of the false summit, the route becomes trail again, until the final scramble up to the top. 

At the top, a geocache can be found, along with panoramic views of the mountain and high desert area. The summit is windy and much cooler than the arid environment below. After taking in the views, hikers can retrace their route back down.

Though this trail lies near the Lake Arrowhead region, it has more a chaparral environment. Hikers should plan for exposure to sun, and no water or amenities along the hike. 

Much of the hike fluctuates between numerous footpaths veering in all directions, and scrambles up trail-less slopes. Approaching this hike with a downloaded GPS track will make the effort infinitely easier and quicker.

While it lies in the San Bernardino National Forest, there are no amenities here, and the Forest Adventure Pass is not required if parking in the gravel trailhead at this site.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Epic panoramic views.

Cons

No shade. Shooting range sounds throughout the hike.

Trailhead Elevation

4,775.00 ft (1,455.42 m)

Highest point

5,720.00 ft (1,743.46 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

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