Lake Looper

Hike a loop around Jenks Lake in San Bernardino National Forest

In summer Jenks Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest is bustling with families enjoying lakeside activities. But in the fall and winter this place is calm and peaceful.

A 3.1-mile loop trail explores the lake. It begins on Hwy. 38 near the Barton Flats Snow Play Area, where you’ll see a small sign marking the trailhead. Parking gets busy when winter snow arrives and the snow play area is in motion, but once you get out on the trail you’ll find solitude. The grade is moderate but consistent, climbing 485 feet towards the lake. The hike starts along Barton Flats Road, but after about half a mile you’ll see the trail to Jenks on your left. The hike is mostly just through trees, and there are patches of snow from early season snowfall. By late winter the lake becomes a snowy winter wonderland—it even freezes!

Caution, it’s not firm enough to walk on, but it looks lovely. Once you reach the lake, the trail then circles it, taking you back to the same spot. Note: The trail is occasionally hard to find around the lake, but the lake is small enough that you can see it the entire time you’re circling it. If you don’t feel like doing the whole lake loop, there are plenty of places to simply enjoy the quiet near the lakeshore. There are also picnic tables, so bring a lunch and relax, too.

Be sure to check weather and trail conditions before doing this hike. Weather conditions can change rapidly, so be prepared. The Jenks Lake trailhead is along Hwy. 38 near the Barton Flats Snow Play Area in the San Bernardino National Forest. Adventure Pass required. Dog-friendly!

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