Something Silverwood

Hike at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

Most people think of Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area in the San Bernardino National Forest as a summer outing, but a hike along the 6.6-mile (round-trip) Cleghorn Bike Path proves this park might be even better in the fall. In the summer this area is jam-packed with families barbecuing and swimming, but in the fall and winter it’s a much different scene with the majority of the crowds gone.

Hike in solitude among oaks, ponderosa pines, and manzanita trees. The Cleghorn Trail is a mostly flat and easy hike (or bike ride), climbing just 328 feet in elevation as it circles the lake along the occasionally paved path. Most of the elevation gain happens all at once, but with frequent stops to admire the views of the lake and the San Bernardino Mountains it doesn’t feel so bad.

As you leave the parking area, the trail starts out hugging the lakeshore, passing through the Cleghorn Day Use Area. After that the trail leaves the lake for a while, offering a peaceful escape deeper into nature, and even intersecting with the Pacific Coast Trail for a it.

Then the trail wraps back around and follows the lakeshore (this time on the opposite side of the lake) before ending at the marina; go back the way you came. Birdwatching opportunities are plentiful this time of year, with great blue herons, snowy egrets, loons, and Canada geese calling this park home. If you get lucky you may even spot a bald eagle, seen here only in fall and winter.

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. Dog-friendly...ish (some parts are off-limits to dogs).

Story and photos by Natalie Bates, @wanderwithnatalie

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Bike the Monterey Coastal Recreation Trail

    To the Lighthouse

    The Monterey Recreation Trail is one of America's most beautiful coastal experiences, accessible to bikers, strollers, rollers, and walkers. This 8-mile (round-trip) bike ride follows premier parts of the trail before detouring to Pacific Grove's storied Point Pinos Lighthouse.

  2. Sponsored

    The Unexpected Wonders of Monterey

    One of the world’s best teachers? Mother Nature. And one of the best destinations to learn from her? The Monterey Bay Aquarium. Spend a few hours at the Aquarium, then take your pick of self-guided walks...

  3. Tombstones and Tarantulas

    Forget black cats; a randy tarantula crossing your path can really get your heart racing. So can spirits in a cemetery! Visit Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and learn about these misunderstood spiders, plus pay a visit to the Rose Hill Cemetery, where ghosts are said to exist.  

  4. London Calling

    The writer Jack London was known for his adventure stories, and an autumn hike at his namesake state park in Sonoma Valley illuminates more than his career. Eucalyptus, oaks, sprawling vineyards, and brilliant redwoods are part of the autumn magic amid the rich history of the park.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. woman hiking Elkhorn Slough Reserve in Monterey

    Hike Elkhorn Slough Reserve

    Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California’s few remaining coastal wetlands. Go on a hike and marvel at one of the state's largest coastal salt marshes, a valued habitat for birds, plant life, sea otters, and marine mammals.

  2. Red Rocks in California

    Colorful badlands, towering buttes, and scenic desert cliffs form a hikers paradise. Red Rock Canyon State Park is a lightly visited desert wonderland where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converges with the El Paso range.

  3. Woman hiking up to views from Desolation Canyon in Death Valley National Park

    Canyons Calling

    Canyon hikes come in all shapes and sizes in Death Valley, and we’ve got two gems. One requires more rigorous scrambling and navigation, and leads to a dryfall; the other takes you up to a brilliant vista.

  4. Hiking Cobb Estate Haunted Forest

    Welcome to Mr. Cobb's Haunted Forest

    The ruins can be explored on an easy 1.5-mile (round-trip) loop trail. Hike it close to dusk for maximum creepiness (just make sure you're out by dusk, when the park closes).