Nestled high in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California lies Lake Arrowhead, a pristine alpine lake that offers both natural beauty and a wide range of recreational activities. This stunning destination, often referred to as the "Jewel of Southern California," has been captivating visitors and locals alike for over a century. From its rich history and unique flora and fauna to its numerous attractions and outdoor adventures, Lake Arrowhead is a year-round haven for those seeking an idyllic mountain escape.
The story of Lake Arrowhead began with the native Serrano people, who inhabited the region for centuries prior to European exploration. In the early 19th century, Spanish settlers and missionaries began arriving in the area, ultimately leading to the displacement of the Serrano people. In 1893, the Arrowhead Reservoir Company was formed, and construction on the dam that would create Lake Arrowhead began. Completed in 1922, the reservoir served as a critical water source for the burgeoning city of San Bernardino.
Over the years, Lake Arrowhead has evolved from a simple reservoir to a thriving community and vacation destination. The development of the Lake Arrowhead Village in the 1920s attracted visitors from all over, and the area quickly became known for its breathtaking views, rustic charm, and outdoor activities.
Lake Arrowhead is situated in the San Bernardino Mountains at an elevation of approximately 5,100 feet above sea level. The lake covers 782 acres and has 14 miles of shoreline. The surrounding mountains, which reach elevations of over 11,000 feet, are home to lush forests and diverse ecosystems.
The region experiences a Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The average high temperature in July is around 78°F, while the average low in January is around 27°F. The area typically receives about 40 inches of snow per year, creating a winter wonderland for snow enthusiasts.
The Lake Arrowhead area boasts a rich array of plant and animal life, making it a nature lover's paradise. The forests surrounding the lake are dominated by ponderosa pine, white fir, and incense cedar trees. In the spring and summer, wildflowers such as lupines, paintbrushes, and penstemons paint the landscape with vibrant colors.
The diverse habitats in the region support a wide variety of wildlife, including black bears, mule deer, bobcats, and mountain lions. Birdwatchers will delight in the numerous bird species that can be spotted around the lake, such as Steller's jays, acorn woodpeckers, and mountain chickadees.
Lake Arrowhead offers a wealth of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages and interests. In the summer months, the lake provides the perfect setting for boating, fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Visitors can also take a scenic cruise aboard the Lake Arrowhead Queen, a historic paddlewheel boat that offers narrated tours of the lake.
The surrounding mountains offer miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy lakeside strolls to challenging treks through the rugged wilderness. In the winter, the nearby ski resorts of Snow Valley and Big Bear provide ample opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
Lake Arrowhead is 185 feet deep at its maximum depth.
The shoreline of Lake Arrowhead is 14 miles.
1.5 miles wide