Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Dogs allowed General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 7-8 San Bernardino Mountains - Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead Season: Summer

Dogwood Campground Trails (Rimforest)


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Dogwood Trail, Rimforest, CA
Sunlight through trees on the Dogwood Trail
Dogwood Trail, Rimforest, CA
Pines on the Dogwood Trail

Dogwood Campground Trails (Rimforest)

      • Location: Highway 18 in Rimforest. From I-210 in San Bernardino, take the Waterman Ave./Highway 18 exit. Follow Highway 18 northeast for 17 miles to Daley Canyon Road. Turn left and make an immediate right onto the small frontage street leading to the campground entrance. Park where available on the side of either the frontage road or Daley Canyon Road. If you are coming from the east, Daley Canyon Road is 1.2 miles west of the junction with Highway 173 from Lake Arrowhead, 8 miles west of Rimforest and 25 miles east of Big Bear Lake.
      • Agency: San Bernardino National Forest/Arrowhead Ranger Station
      • Distance: 2.8 miles
      • Elevation gain: 350 feet
      • Difficulty Rating: PG
      • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
      • Best season: May – October
      • USGS topo map: Harrison Mountain
      • More information: Trip description (slightly different route) here; Dogwood Campground information here; Map My Hike report here
      • Rating: 7
Dogwood Campground, Rimforest, CA
0:00 – Start of the hike at the Dogwood Campground entrance (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

This little treat of a hike explores a small network of trails near the Dogwood Campground off Highway 18, a mere 17 miles from San Bernardino. The route described here is not signed but navigation is still fairly straightforward. As close as the trail is to civilization (the nearby roads and the campgrounds) it’s hard to get too lost and it’s a fun area to wander around without a specific plan, especially on summer days when the heat reaches the triple digits in the Inland Empire.

Dogwood Campground, Rimforest, CA
0:15 – Bear left at the “Y” junction (times are approximate)

Just past the signed entrance to the campground, before the gate, look for an unsigned single-track trail descending on the left. Follow it down to a footbridge in a ravine shaded by black oaks and pines. Between the trees you can get a glimpse of Strawberry Peak and its lookout to the west. The trail then climbs through the thick forest to a Y-junction half a mile from the start. Bear left (the right fork leads to the campground) and continue 0.2 mile to a T-junction, the start of the loop portion of the hike.

Dogwood Trail, Rimforest, CA
0:21 – Start of the loop at the abandoned service road

This post describes a clockwise route. Turn left and descend along an abandoned service road for 0.2 mile. Where it makes a hairpin left turn, continue on a single-track trail, heading northeast. The trail then climbs steadily through pines and cedars, making a few switchbacks and reaching a junction at 1.7 miles. Make a sharp right (staying straight brings you to the northern end of the campground.) Continue following the single-track, ignoring a few other turnoffs on the right that lead to the campground. The vegetation becomes thicker, though never difficult to traverse.

Dogwood Trail, Rimforest, CA
0:27 – Leaving the road at the hairpin turn

At two miles you reach a T-junction. Here, you can return to your starting point through the campground and the paved road by turning left or stay in the woods by turning right. If you head right, you will return to the junction from earlier in only 0.1 mile. Turn left and retrace your steps 0.7 mile back to the campground entrance.

Dogwood Trail, Rimforest, CA
0: 51 – Hard right at the junction just below the campground

Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Dogwood Trail, Rimforest, CA
1:00 – Right turn at the T-junction, completing the loop
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