April 23, 2021 ~ Southern California
Today Tim was scheduled to finally get his second vaccine shot, and we had half a day before he needed to check in. I had recently posted on our Facebook site, that we had been introduced to a new site called myscenicdrives.com.
The site is easy to use. When you pull it up, you have the option to put in a city, state or your zip code to see what scenic drives are in your area. I quickly found out that there were several within a reasonable drive, and settled on taking the “Rim of the World Scenic Byway” – at least the first half of it anyway.
The site recommends starting at the west end at Phelan. If coming from the south, take the exit after 129 for Highway CA-138.
If you make a very short detour (turn left and head west) you will see some good examples of the huge upheaval along the San Andreas Fault line.
Off to the right side of the road there is a small opening along the guardrail with enough room to safely pull off the highway to snap a few pictures.
Back on CA-138 continuing west, just up the road on your left side is the entrance for Mormon Rocks Station where you can take a 1-mile loop Mormon Rocks Interpretive Trail hike. They brag that the trail provides great views of both the Mormon Rocks and the Cajon Pass. We did not have enough time to do the hike, but would love to return in the future.
The jutting sandstone formations were named after the Mormon settlers who passed through this area in 1851 and founded San Bernardino.
Park free at the ranger station. Don’t forget good hiking boots and water. There is no shade and can be hot in the summer months, so recommend going early in the day. It is dog friendly, but they must remain on leash. The “Interpretive” part of the name is sadly misleading as the signage was burned in the 2002 Louisiana Fire and has never been replaced. It is rated “easy” and kid friendly, but do be on the lookout for rattlesnakes as they can be found in the area.
Back in your car, it is time to backtrack the 1/4 mile or so. Once you cross over Interstate 15, continue going East on CA-138. You have now officially started on the” Rim of the World Scenic Byway” drive.
11 miles from I-15 you will come to Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area which has recently reopened. Entrance for the day per car is $10.
There are tent campsites as well as RV sites with hookups for units up to 31 feet long. Reservations can be booked online. Boating and fishing (large mouth bass, striped bass, trout, catfish, carp, bluegill, sunfish and crappie) allowed with license. Miles and miles of bike and hiking trails.
Just FYI, if you live in Southern California, you may be want to purchase the California Explorer Vehicle Annual Pass for $195. This will give you free access to the popular beaches in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles County and is also honored at most parks throughout the state that are operated by California State Parks.
You will pass right by Silverwood Ranch House, a sushi, Japanese, Asian, Korean restaurant in the middle of nowhere. We have not eaten there, but the reviews (although few of them) make it sound a bit intriguing. And if by chance you do try it, we would love your feedback!
Next up is the quaint little town of Crestline and Lake Gregory Regional Park. Currently, most of the activities are still closed due to COVID restrictions, but hopefully they will be lifted soon and swimming, kayaking, fishing, waterslides, biking, hiking and boating will resume after Memorial Day.
Lakes are plentiful in the San Bernardino Mountains, and we next stopped at Lake Arrowhead Village for a few minutes. Home to 50 shops, restaurants, and outlet stores, it is a destination all by itself. The lake itself is private, and can only be accessed with permission.
The Lake Arrowhead Queen Tour Boat makes for a wonderful outing and fun way to get a look at multi-million dollar homes along the shoreline. According to the Village website, tickets can be purchased at LeRoy’s Boardshop along the dockside in the Village. I, however, was not able to get either LeRoy’s or LA Queen Tour Boat websites to come up to verify current prices, and if they were currently offering tours. I hope that they have not become another COVID casualty.
Continuing onward, we met up with Hw 18, which is the stretch that is actually known as Rim of the World Highway. Turn left, towards Running Springs and Big Bear. Normally the views go on and on forever along this stretch with several excellent viewpoints to stop at for great pictures, including here just past Baylis Park Picnic area.
The fog had rolled in, and unfortunately, this was our view 😦
A bit further on, it opened up a little as we climbed to a higher elevation. We still could not see the valley below, but looking out over the clouds was still stunning, especially with the suns reflection.
We drove past Skypark, formerly known as Santa’s Village (Skyforest). The 230 acre outdoor complex is an adventure park for the entire family. Some of the many activities include mountain biking, hiking, fly fishing, archery, ziplines, seasonal ice skating or roller skating rink, rock climbing and more.
Located right across the highway, overlooking the valley is the newest RV park in the area. If the weather allows, (which is most of the year) the views from the Skypark Camp and RV Resort are exceptional. On a clear day you can see all the way to Catalina Island!
Heaps Peak Arboretum is a botanical garden. It used to be worth a stop, but now sadly it is overgrown, neglected and only a shadow of its former glory. Still, some reviewers love it even in it’s current condition.
If you do decide to give it a look, you will need a Forest Pass for your car windshield. The 0.8 mile loop trail is easy and part of it is cement walkway that is handicap friendly.
We had returned full circle to our mountain cabin near Running Springs, so will end the post here. We had planned on completing the drive the following day, past Snow Valley, Big Bear, and on to Barton Flats, but the second COVID vaccine normal side-effects caused Tim to be overly tired. We decided to postpone that portion of the drive and will complete it soon.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am especially grateful that Tim is now fully vaccinated and we will be able to visit a few dear friends in the near future. Thankfully, Tim was back to his perky self by the following day, with no other symptoms other than a sore arm. It has been a LONG year+ for everyone, but we do see encouraging signs that the worst is behind us.
We are so appreciative to the many of you who have stuck with us this past year when we have not been able to get out and share our normal travel adventures with you. We are in the process of looking at some RV road trip options, as well as other scenic drives in our area so that we can continue to bring some fresh content to this page. I have a couple of International destinations that I am drooling over, when the time is right. For anyone new here, we invite you to subscribe below and join our growing community.
And finally, we ALSO have a new Facebook page called, A Note From Abroad: Let’s Travel where we post a variety of travel related topics including, travel updates, super travel deals, RVing and road trip tips and tricks, scenic pictures from our magnificent National Parks as well as favorites from around the globe. If you love to travel, are new to traveling, or simply think that someday you might like to travel, there is something here for you. Please click this link to join that group. All are welcome!