Trailhead: 701 Blue Bird Ln, Fawnskin, CA 92333
Length: 6.8 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 1325 ft.
Total time: 2.5 hrs
Dogs: Yes, on leash
Parking: There is parking lot with bathrooms. You’ll need an adventure pass which you can get at the rangers station or any sporting goods store.
Last Saturday @ill_profe and I had planned to hike Sugar Loaf in Big Bear but there was some event going on where cars were lined up the streets and bouncy houses were at the trailhead and we were like, yeaaaaahhhhh passssss.
Since we’d made the drive out I racked my brain for an alternate and came up with the very memorable name of Bertha Peak, named after Phineaus H. Bertha, discoverer of mumus.
Bertha Peak starts from the Cougar Crest trailhead. When you come to the fork in the road, continue to the left.
You will begin to meander through a forest that is rather fairy tale like.
You’ll climb steadily, but gently, and if you get tired there’s like 1,000 benches for you to sit on and enjoy the views.
Seriously, guys. I’ve never seen so many benches on a trail. Benches to the left of you, benches to the right of you. There was a sale on benches and EVERYONE GETS A BENCH!
Also, on the way up we saw a bunch of cairns which we kicked down while shouting “LEAVE NO TRAAAAAAACCEEE.”
Look, I’m a big fan of cairns when they’re marking a trail (sorry Sierra Club) but when they’re just hanging out there because someone was bored and serve no purpose I kick ’em down so they don’t contribute to soil erosion and encourage others to leave stuff they shouldn’t. You may find this overkill and say “Oh, come on Kristin, you’re just being a prude, let people have their dumb rock stacks” to which I say ::insert emoji shrug::
Anyway, there’s not a lot of opportunity to get lost on this trail so just keep on heading up. At some point you’ll see some towers in the distance, and that’s Bertha peak. You’ll come to a juncture where the PCT splits off but there’s a sign letting you know Bertha is a-that-away (right… it’s to the right. Go to the right, because that’s where it is.)
This is where this fairly gentle trail starts getting real. It becomes a fire road but a fairly steep fire road. I mean, not like Cactus to Clouds steep, but steep enough to where you go “Boy howdy, this is kinda steep.”
Apparently, you’ve also stepped into a time warp where people say things like “Boy Howdy.”
Annnnyway, at one point on the fire road, you’ll see a track off to the right. You can take that up if you want a slightly more strenuous trek, or just stay on the fire road. Eventually you’ll make it to the top for some amazing views of the lake
There are also some buildings up there you can walk around for alternate views of the area. You might also find a guy up there stacking rocks out of boredom and think “when he leaves Imma kick those suckers down.”
Or maybe that’s just me.
When you’re done, go back the way you came.
All in all Bertha Peak was a great backup to the trail we were originally planning on doing. I especially recommend it as an introduction to elevation training.
Or carin kicking.