Big Bear News – Big Bear, CA – Officials with San Bernardino National Forest have modified the closure areas for two wildfires that occurred last year. The Snow Fire closure was modified to reopen the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Black Mountain Road (4S01) and Snow Creek Village. The El Dorado Fire closure has been modified to reopen some areas of the San Gorgonio Wilderness in Sand to Snow National Monument and close additional areas in the Barton Flats area. More details can be found below.
After crews performed stormproofing along the trail, the PCT reopened Saturday, April 3. Off-trail areas within the closure remain closed, meaning dispersed camping and cross-country travel will not allowed at this time. Vehicle access to the trail junction with Black Mountain Road (4S01) remains closed due to snow and ice.
The Snow Fire was ignited on September 17, 2020, and grew to 6,254 acres.
El Dorado Fire reopening
A portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness within Sand to Snow National Monument will reopen Saturday, April 10. The South Fork, Lost Creek, Aspen Grove, and Fish Creek trailheads will reopen, but access beyond some interior trails junctions, such as the San Bernardino Peak Trail, west of Dry Lake Saddle, will be closed. Hikers should take note of current trail access information, which is noted below in the FAQs.
Limited, but free wilderness permits for day hiking and overnight camping are required and are available online from the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association, a Forest Service partner.
New El Dorado Fire closure areas
New areas outside the wilderness and north of Jenks Lake Road will close due to the threat of mud slides and debris flows from spring rains and summer monsoons. Included within the area closure are the Ponderosa Nature Trail, Whispering Pines Trail, and a portion of the Santa Ana River Trail. Rokolai Road (1N55), Hathaway West Road (1N75), Hill Ranch Road (1N86) and Stetson Hollow Road (1N86B) will close.
The El Dorado Fire ignited on September 5, 2020, and grew to 22,744 acres.
Can I drive to all the trailheads?
Forest Service roads 1N02 and 1N05 that serve the Aspen Grove and Fish Creek trailheads were closed for the winter season and will reopen when dangerous ice and snow conditions have subsided and hazard trees and rocks are mitigated. Hikers may hike to these trailheads, but parking is very limited and the distance may be considerable for some visitors.
What are the trail conditions like?
Winter conditions still exist and hikers should bring appropriate gear for safe travel. Field reports indicate snow starting at about 8,500 feet. Additionally, the Lost Creek Trail was burned over in the 2015 Lake Fire. A scratch trail has been marked, but may be hard to follow for some visitors.
When will Forest Falls area trailheads reopen?
Forest staff are currently evaluating the possibility of reopening them later month. Please stay tuned.
Can I hike San Bernardino Peak?
This popular trail remains closed at this time, as the El Dorado Fire burned through large portions of the western section of the wilderness and monument.