The hike from Pine Knot Trail To Grand View Point is one of the most popular hikes in Big Bear, CA. This 7-mile hike gains 1230 ft and provides hikers with stunning views out towards San Gorgonio Mountain and a bird’s-eye look down at Big Bear Lake. This trail requires no permit and allows dogs.
Getting There: Directions And GPS Track
- The trailhead for Pineknot Trail 1E01 is located on Mill Creek Rd in Big Bear California, west of Big Bear Village. If you’re driving in from the west on HWY 18, you’ll turn right on Tulip Ln. If you’re driving in from the east via Big Bear Village, you’ll turn left on Mill Creek Rd. Get directions on Google Maps: Mill Creek Rd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
- The Pineknot Trail 1E01 is located at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area. There are a few parking spots right in front with some parking restriction signs out front. We opted not to park there just to be safe, and are glad, as we saw a few tickets handed out. Park along the street instead and display an Adventure Pass.
- Download GPX
- See track on Strava
- Distance: 7.00 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1230 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 6847 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 7674 ft
- Time: 2-5 hours
- Difficulty: (2.5/5)
- Dog Friendly: Yes
- Permit Required: No
- Parking: Limited parking near trailhead. Adventure Pass required when snow is present.
- Weather: This hike is best done in the warmer months before snow and ice cover the trail.
- Trail Condition: This trail consists of mostly buffed out single track and switchbacks
- Cell Phone Reception: Spotty
Do you have the appropriate gear for this hike? Don’t hike unprepared!
See my current hiking gear list.
Hike Map And Elevation Profile
0.0 Miles (6847 ft)- Starting out from the Aspen Glen picnic area, you’ll head south past the bathrooms for around 150ft to pick up the Pineknot Trail.
The beauty of the Pineknot Trail starts right away as hikers are ushered under a canopy of pine trees with the unmistakable smell of crisp, clean mountain air. This trail is very well marked, so keep an eye out for the abundance of blue trail arrow markers.
0.25 Miles (66945 ft)- There is a junction early on in the trail where you’ll want to turn left to stay on the Pineknot Trail. It can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention, but the junction is well marked.
After the junction, the trail climbs up a series of level and well graded switchbacks. We hiked this trail the day after a heavy rain, and had a soft mud under our feet. I can imagine that on dry and hot days, that mud would be soft dirt and dust. I much prefer the light mud.
0.70 Miles (7093 ft)- As your approach the end of the first mile, you’ll see an area with makeshift benches with views out to Big Bear Lake. I only had my wide angle lens for this hike, so the photo makes the lake look quite small. The views are actually quite a bit nicer in person.
1.05 Miles (7001 ft)- Leaving the viewpoint behind, you’ll hike downhill a bit and pass another junction. Stay straight ahead here to continue on Pine Knot Trail.
2.30 Miles (7533 ft)- You’ll cross fire service road 2N08 and continue following the signs for Pine Knot Trail that lead straight ahead.
Just after crossing the fire service road, you’ll see Deer Group Camp on your left hand side. It looks like this site is under maintenance from the fire service, but there are functional pit toilets and a few benches if you’re looking to take a break.
From Deer Camp, you’ll continue uphill and hike the final series of switchbacks on your way to Grandview Point.
3.1 Miles (7569 ft)- The Pine Knot trail reaches a junction at forest road 2N10. This is a busy intersection that also includes the Skyline Trail and Seven Oaks Trail. There is a nice little viewpoint at this junction that can be taken in where the people are standing up ahead in the photo below. This is not Grandview point though.
For Grandview Point pick up the trail to the right of where those people are standing. Make sure you see the trail sign that says Pineknot Trail, as it would be very easy to start hiking on the Skyline Trail from here.
From this point on it is a straight shot ahead, and you’ll start getting your first views from the trail of San Gorgonio.
3.50 Miles (7664 ft)- The views from Grand View Point are pretty spectacular, and there is ample room and seating for hikers to take a break to enjoy them. I suggest stopping for a nice lunch, and then returning to the trailhead on the same route that you used to arrive.
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2 thoughts on “Hiking Pine Knot Trail To Grand View Point – Big Bear, CA”
Whenever I see photos of the forests in California I am reminded about how different the ecosystem is from the forests in New Jersey. Beautiful images.
It really is amazing to observe the diversity of landscapes from one coast to the other!