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Rim of the World Conifer Road Trip

Big Bear Lake Visitors Center - Big Bear Lake, CA


Join us on the Rim of the World!


Are you ready for a conifer adventure?

Join the Western Region for an adventure along the eastern transverse ranges of the San Bernardino mountains, just northeast of Los Angeles, California. (Note: our first trip to this area was to the middle range, San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles Crest Highway). The eastern mountains are a little higher, topping out at 11,503 feet above sea level, and we will be in the 5,000- to 7,000-foot range. They are also wetter mountains, so the forest tends to be a little lusher, but still southern California dry.  Our first two road trips were really fun, but this will be even better as we will spend Saturday night in the mountains.  Like our last trip to Owens Valley, there is no registration fees to attend. You just pay for your meals, drinks, and hotel rooms; and drive yourself or carpool with friends. The roads are mostly two-lane highways, but there is a short stretch Sunday of well-maintained smooth dirt road.  As before, each stop will allow for hiking or hanging out.  There will be level, paved paths for those not wanting a wilderness experience, as well as trails for those who do.  Driving individual cars gives us flexibility to spend more time at a location if desired.


Bigcone Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa)



Our organizer and point of contact is Dan Spear. Once you have made your reservations, please inform him; he’s maintaining a list of all who will be participating and wants to know who’s coming. If you have any questions, please email him at or call him at 714/812-6696.  Be aware that participants are required to pay for all meals, lodging and transportation. It’s your vacation; the ACS Western Region is simply providing structure, camaraderie and a unique opportunity interpretive study!

Now, or as soon as possible

  • make your hotel reservations at both venues (2 hotels). Information follows below.
  • arrange for car pools or rent your own vehicle.
  • arrange for transportation to our hotel venue. Closest airport is Los Angeles – Ontario International Airport (ONT)


Friday, April 27th

  • Arrive and check into our first night’s hotel. Hotel promo code is ACS. Rates Friday night are $99 for single King, $99 for double Queen, $109 for an Executive King Suite. Click on the hotel name for information about the hotel.

Ayres Hotel Ontario Mills Mall
4395 E. Ontario Mills Parkway
Ontario, CA  91764

  • 6pm — those arriving Friday are encouraged to join the group for a no-host meet and greet/ice breaker/strategy session over drinks and dinner. Meet old friends and make new ones.

Saturday, April 28th

  • complimentary breakfast at the hotel
  • TBD — for today’s road trip, we head east and up into the San Bernardino Mountains on the Rim of the World Highway.  Our first stop will be Jenks Lake; in addition to the typical native conifers, we will see planted non-natives including Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant sequoia), an unidentified Cypress, Pinus sabiniana (Gray pine) among others. At a stop at Convers Flats, we will see the original grove of Giant Sequoia planted at the Forest Experimental Station in 1915.  Later, we make a stop at the south fork of the Santa Ana River to see how many people will be needed to wrap arms around a very large Giant sequoia. These trees have since naturalized and one can find seedlings all over the forest, including near and around Jenks Lake.
  • Midday — lunch at The Oaks Restaurant in Angeles Oaks.
  • Throughout these mountains we will pass by, and stop to see amazing trees — Pseudotsuga macrocarpa (Bigcone Douglas-fir), Abies concolor var. lowiana (Pacific White fir), Calocedrus decurrens (Incense-cedar), Pinus coulteri (Coulter pine), Pinus jeffreyi (Jeffrey pine), Pinus lambertiana (Sugar pine), and Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine).
  • We will spend the afternoon roaming, eventually working our way to Big Bear Lake, about 40 miles from Angeles Oaks.  We will crest Onyx Summit at 8,443 feet elevation on our way to Big Bear Lake and then drop down into a Pinyon/Juniper woodland containing Pinus monophylla (Singleleaf pinyon pine), Juniperus occidentalis (Sierra juniper), and Juniperus osteosperma (Utah juniper).  The contrast as we enter this rain shadow, going from lush to dry, is amazing.
  • Arrive at our second night’s hotel. Promo code is ACS. The rate is $119 per night.  A mix of single bed and double beds has been set aside for us. Once again, click on the hotel name for specific information for our hotel:

The Lodge at Big Bear Lake, a Holiday Inn Resort
40650 Village Drive
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315, 909/866-3121

  • TBD — dinner in the village near the hotel. We have a choice of lots of fun and interesting eateries.

Sunday, April 29th

  • for today’s adventure, we head to Bluff Lake (the photo showing on the web page above), a small natural lake above Big Bear Lake.  We will see Pinus contorta var. murryana (Sierra-Cascade lodgepole pine) surrounding the lake and meadows (filled in lakes of the past) and the Champion Lodgepole pine at 110 feet high, and 75 feet wide, with a trunk circumference of over 19 feet.  We will continue heading west along the Rim of the World Highway and spend the afternoon around/near Lake Arrowhead and Silverwood Lake.  There is an arboretum at Heaps Peak we may have time to stop in and see.
  • we should wrap up by 4 or 5pm and will have a 30- to 45-minute drive back to Ontario.
  • 6pm — arrive back at the Hotel Ayers to either stay another night, catch a late flight home, or continue on your own adventures elsewhere. For those staying a second night at Hotel Ayers, the promo code and rates are the same, unless our 8-room block is not fully reserved. In that case, the rate will rise to $119.

We hope to see you on what promises to be a fabulous trip!


  1. danielspear commented

    I’ll be organizing this trip. I really hope you can join us for the comraderie and seeing these beautiful mountains and forests. Please contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. This is a trip for anybody who likes trees.

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  2. danielspear commented

    Thankfully the current fires are not close to Rim of the World and at the other end of Southern California. 100 miles to 160 miles to the west. We will however see the aftermath of the June 2015 Lake Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains. It burned over 31,000 acres (over 49 square miles!). Most of the area burned will not be accessed on our road trip, but a couple areas near the highway did burn, which shows the stark contrast.

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