Seven Oaks Trail Rehabilitation
As part of the official San Bernardino National Forest trail system, the Seven Oaks trail is located in the Santa Ana River drainage South of Big Bear and travels approximately 2.5 miles from Forest Service Road 2N10, near Grand View Point, downhill to 2N06, near Camp Radford. While the trail is at least 30 years old and documented on many versions of USGS topo maps, it is currently overgrown and impassable in most areas. The Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation is working with the US Forest Service to rehabilitate this multi-use trail that enjoys spectacular views of San Gorgonio Peak, the highest point in Southern California. Once repaired, the Seven Oaks trail can provide a unique pathway for hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers to travel between the Big Bear and Santa Ana River Valleys. We hope you will help us with this unique opportunity to bring a special trail back to life.
Scheduled Seven Oaks Trail Maintenance Session Dates:
(Every other Thursday and alternating Saturday for June and July)
Thursday, 6/3/10, Trail Boss: Randy Putz
Saturday, 6/12/10, Trail Boss: Randy Putz
Thursday, 6/17/10, Trail Boss: Randy Putz, Phil Hamilton
Saturday, 6/26/10, Trail Boss: Siri Eggebraten
Thursday, 7/1/10, Trail Boss: Randy Putz
Saturday, 7/10/10, Trail Boss: Peter Sutherland
Thursday, 7/15/10, Trail Boss: Craig Smith
Saturday, 7/24/10, Trail Boss: TBD
Thursday, 7/29/10, Trail Boss: Craig Smith
Thursday, 9/9/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Thursday, 9/16/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Thursday, 9/30/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Saturday, 10/9/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Thursday,10/14/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Saturday, 10/23/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Thursday, 10/28/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Saturday, 11/6/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
Thursday, 11/11/10, Trail Boss: Gary Keller
We continue to assess further scheduled dates based on our progress and conditions. (Due to pending Winter conditions, further dates will most likely not be scheduled until Spring 2011.)
Each session is a half day, from 8am to Noon. Please arrive at the designated trail head, ready to work, by 8am.
- Sturdy boots
- Long pants and long-sleeved shirt to protect against scrapes and cuts
- Eye protection / sunglasses
- Sun screen
- Water (plenty!)
- Snack and Lunch
- Hand saw
Trail Maintenance Sessions meet at EITHER the Upper Trail Head or the Lower Trail Head. Please be sure you know which one your particular group will be meeting at. How you arrive will depend on several factors, and those arriving by vehicle are encouraged to carpool. Parked vehicles may require an Adventure Pass.
Directions to the Seven Oaks UPPER Trail Head: The quickest and easiest way to the Upper Trail Head is to travel from the top of Knickerbocker Dr. (above the Elementary School in Big Bear Lake) on Forest Service Road 2N08 for 4 miles to the South. 2N08 dead-ends into 2N10 (aka Skyline Drive) at Grandview Point, which is also the top of 1E01 (aka Pineknot Trail), as well as the Upper Trail Head of the Seven Oaks Trail, all of which converge at the same point. This route takes about 20 minutes as Forest Service Road 2N08 is a rough dirt road recommended for high clearance / 4-wheel drive vehicles. Consider hiking or riding up along 1E01′s single track instead of driving.
Directions to the Seven Oaks LOWER Trail Head: There are two routes to the Lower Trail Head depending on your off-roading comfort. Those equipped with high clearance / 4-wheel drive vehicles can venture from the top of Clubview Dr (next to Bear Mountain in Moonridge) up 2N10 approximately 1.5 miles until the road levels out at the junction with 2N06 just before reaching the backside of Snow Summit. Make a left on 2N06 (aka Radford Truck Trail or Radford Camp Rd), following any signs to Camp Radford / Converse Station / 2N06, and travel another 5 miles down to (almost) the bottom of the Santa Ana River Valley South of Big Bear. The Lower Trail Head is on your right just before a power line and includes a parking area. If you reach 1N04 or Converse Station, you have gone too far. This shorter, harder route takes about 30 minutes of slow going as Forest Service Roads 2N10 and especially 2N06 are rough dirt roads recommended for high clearance / 4-wheel drive vehicles.
An easier, but longer, route to the Lower Trail Head is to take Highway 38 out of the East end of the Big Bear Valley and travel approximately 20 miles past Barton Flats to Glass Rd. Make a right on Glass Rd and travel down 2 miles to the junction with Seven Oaks Rd. Make a right on Seven Oaks Rd, followed by an immediate left on Radford Camp Rd, following signs towards Converse Station / Camp Radford. Travel 1 mile until you reach a fork, veering to your left over a cattle guard while keeping Converse Forest Service Station on your left. Go 1/4 of a mile to another intersection with 1N04 and veer slightly to your right onto 2N06 (but NOT a hard right onto 1N04). Travel 1 more mile up 2N06 (aka Radford Camp Rd) just past the power lines to the Seven Oaks Lower Trail Head parking area. This Highway 38 route is almost 4 times the distance – 25 miles – and takes about 45 minutes from the East end of the Valley, but it is better suited for low clearance non-4-wheel drive vehicles.
Because of the aggressive schedule, we know not everyone will be able to show up to every session. But because of the frequent opportunities, we do hope that you will be able to attend multiple sessions. Each session will have a designated Trail Boss (indicated on the Schedule above) with whom you should RSVP so that details like transportation, tools, meeting place, etc. can be determined. For safety purposes, a minimum trail crew size of 2 is necessary. You can also leave a comment below with any message to be passed along.
Current Rehabilitation Status Updates:
May 6, 2010 – Board members from the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, along with US Forest Service personnel responsible for trail maintenance, surveyed the lower trail head.
May 13, 2010 – Gary and Randy began the initial tagging of the proposed lower trail head section from the parking area to the base of the first switchback. Due to the heavy oak thicket grown over the original trail bed, progress was slow and resulted in only 300′ of passable corridor after several hours of clearing.
June 3, 2010 – Gary and Randy completed the initial flagging of the proposed lower trail head section from the parking area to the base of the first switchback. Significantly more progress was made during this session. A tagged, passable corridor now exists parallel to the ravine at the lower trail head up to the big oak tree where the first switchback begins – a distance of approximately 1/3 of a mile. The next step is to review the tagged section with US Forest Service trail personnel and determine the exact trail bed location and remaining clearance requirements. A review with the Forest Service of the upper trail head off of 2N10 near Grandview Point is currently scheduled for 8am on Thursday, June 17.
June 10, 2010 – US Forest Service trail personnel met with Randy and Gary at the lower trail head on 2N06 and reviewed the previously flagged section. Most of the proposed corridor made sense as marked, with a few portions re-routed slightly to either add more gradual sweeping S-turns or to better avoid the adjacent drainage and its soft decomposed granite bed. The Forest Service gave approval of the final flagged route with the go ahead to clear the overgrown trail corridor to the proper 8′ wide x 10′ high dimensions and begin work on re-establishing the trail tread. Next steps for this lower trail head include clearing the initial corridor for the re-routed sections, then clearing the corridor to the proper full dimensions, flagging the trail tread, and cutting the tread.
June 17, 2010 – Reviewed the upper trail head off of 2N10 at Grandview Pt. and IE01 with US Forest Service trail and timber personnel. Phil, Gary, and Randy braved thick Mountain Whitethorn bushes to help flag the initial upper trail route and to find older existing flags from a previous flagging effort years prior. Some progress was made – about 1/3 of a mile down is roughly flagged – but terrain and design challenges at the very beginning of the trail prevented complete flagging of the entire 1/3 mile. Next steps for this upper trail head are to finish flagging the very beginning and cut an initial corridor through the thick chaparral consistent with the recent flagging.
June 22, 2010 – Received word from the US Forest Service trail personnel that a US Forest Service trail crew, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), cleared large logs on the lower section near 2N06 and started some brushing beginning on the first switchback.
June 24, 2010 – More brushing from the switchback towards the bottom of the trail up to about the 1 mile point done by the US Forest Service ARRA-funded trail crew. They also slashed and disguised the skid line to discourage short cuts at the top of the trail. Thanks Jeanette & Crew!
June 26, 2010 – Phil, Gary, Randy, Sander, and Trail Boss Siri spent the morning surveying from the bottom to almost halfway up, as well as clearing more trail corridor below the first switchback.
July 1, 2010 – Siri, Randy, and Phil met with the US Forest Service at the upper trail head and flagged the final entrance route from 2N10 down to the first boulders. The Forest Service installed bulletin boards at both the upper and lower trail heads.
July 15, 2010 – Close to 50 people, including assorted Conservation Corps and Trail Foundation Members, spent the morning brushing and doing finish work on the upper trail. A demonstration section was established and flagged at the upper trail head to serve as an example of how the completed trail should look. Signage and a map was installed on the bulletin board explaining the restoration project. Special thanks to the San Bernardino National Forest Association and the US Forest Service for lending their crews to the cause.
July 29, 2010 – Foundation Board members spent the morning honing their finishing skills on the trail tread near the upper trail head.
August 12, 2010 – Although 60 campers from the Torrance YMCA scheduled to volunteer failed to show, Foundation members, Pete Fulkerson of Equada Outfitters, and the Urban Conservation Corps numbered over 20 workers and discarded cut brush near the upper trail head. Three log benches were installed at the upper trail head and afford a spectacular view of the Santa Ana River Valley and San Gorgonio Mountain. A reporter and photographer from the San Bernardino Sun visited to document our work.
August 20, 2010 – Armed with chainsaws, Gary, Siri, and Randy performed finish brushing near the lower trail head as part of their Sawyer Field Certification that authorizes them to operate chainsaws in the San Bernardino National Forest. Thanks, Jeanette and Anne!
September 9, 2010 – Ed Wallace and Gary Keller benched 170 more yards just below the middle section on a knoll that transitions from the west facing slope down to the east facing slope.
October 9, 2010 – Seven Trails Foundation members did quite a bit on banking just above the mid-point and discovered one section of about 100 yards that is going to need some retaining wall work. We were pleased that there was no major washout from the recent rains.
Oct. 23, 2010 - Nine people worked on the trail, hiking up from the lower trail head to above the area that we worked on 2 weeks ago, and again completing a considerable amount of benching. Four mountain bike riders were met coming down the trail (Pat Follett & Company), as well as one lady hiking. It was encouraging to come across people using the trail! We will start to meet at the upper trail head on the future work days.
November 11, 2010 – Another good showing of 10 volunteers hiked down from the upper trail head & finished off the areas that needed banking (or benching). With Winter and snow approaching, we plan to call it good with further maintenance until next Spring. We noticed that someone tore the plastic “NO VEHICLES” sign off of the info board and plan to replace it ASAP.
April 21, 2011 – Thanks to Trails Foundation Member Gary Keller, Driz Cook, and 10 of Driz’s High Trails Camp employees (great workers!), 2 downed trees near the bottom were removed, 6 water bars were installed, and the worst side slope areas were re-benched. Gary reported that the Seven Oaks Trail looked better than expected after the especially hard wet winter, and that a survey hike along its distance shows that the trail is now clear from top to bottom. Gary figures one more day of trail work on the upper third will put it in good shape!
Want To Help?
Please leave a comment below (which will be kept private) with how you can help and your contact information.