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
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