When we think of alpine luxury, Lake Arrowhead immediately comes to mind. Drive a couple hours east of Los Angeles and find yourself up in the San Bernardino Mountains, where a network of trails and forest surround the picturesque lake complete with a charming village town. The lake itself is private and accessible only to residents, but visitors can get on the water via guided paddleboat tours. (Pro tip: head to nearby Lake Gregory to get on the water.)
The drive up to Lake Arrowhead is part of the journey as it brings you out of the congested city and up into the alpine wilderness of the San Bernardino National Forest. Here, you can take in all four seasons – so pack some warm clothes (and tire chains) if visiting in the winter months.
Where to Eat & Drink: the Best Restaurants & Bars in Lake Arrowhead
Lou Eddie’s in nearby Sky Forest offers up wood-fired pizza in a roadside cabin. Grab a drink from the brewery, which shares the same back deck. Photo: Escape LA.
Newest in Lake Arrowhead is Rippin’ Bowls, serving up poke and açaí bowls. We have yet to try this new spot (opened in March 2023) but according to its Instagram, Rippin’ Bowls hopes to bring a healthy alternative to the mountain – offering fun, fresh, curated chef inspired menu in a quick takeout environment. Find it in Lake Arrowhead Village.
Located right in the middle of Lake Arrowhead Village, local staple The Lakefront Tap Room and Kitchen offers up casual American fare with a stellar view of the lake. Expect a rotating tap list and craft cocktails on the large outdoor patio or take in live music on the weekends.
Continue your craft beer journey at Lake Arrowhead Brewing Co. for a selection of their own brews and guest taps. Their expansive patio hosts varied pop up food vendors in warmer months so you can sip and snack in the great outdoors.
Lou Eddies Pizza serves up fire roasted pies with a focus on local ingredients. Expect a line, but the wait is well worth it! Pizzas are served takeout style, but you can enjoy them on the patios below that are shared with their brewery. If you’re short on time or the line is long, snag a frozen pie to take home and enjoy.
Jetties Lake Club’s counter service is great for a quick meal or drink, overlooking Lake Arrowhead. Photo: Escape LA.
Perfect for people watching, Jetties Waterfront Kitchen + Drink is a happening patio right on the lake. This counter service restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu focuses on burgers, sandwiches, and salads and is great for dining in or grab and go. If dining in, enjoy a libation from the full service bar and snag a seat outside.
Located between San Bernardino and Lake Arrowhead, Stone Creek Bistro is a full service bistro serving up seasonally driven dishes. The menu mixes it up with Southern American comfort food alongside traditional French bistro dishes in a casual and cozy atmosphere.
Located in the historic Saddleback Inn, Diane’s Saddleback Grill serves up fine dining at approachable prices. Occasional entertainment is offered in the 1917 space that once served as a gathering place for Hollywood personalities like Howard Hughes and Charles Lindbergh.
Rustic meets tablecloth service at The Grille at Antler’s Inn. Located in Twin Peaks, the restaurant and bar are located within the cabin-like building, and is a low-key spot for a drink.
For breakfast or lunch, LuluBelle’s Coffee House and Bakery offers an inviting atmosphere centered around a fireplace, for cozy vibes all-year long. Located in Running Springs, a quick 15 minute drive from the Village.
Wine and beer prevail at The Grapevine. Enjoy a charcuterie board with a perfectly paired glass of vino on the large patio that also hosts a summer concert series. The venue also hosts unique events and fun monthly clubs or those looking to expand their wine, beer, and cheese expertise.
What to Do in & Around Lake Arrowhead, CA: Hiking, Off-Roading, and Boat Tours
Keep in mind before setting out for any hikes in the area, you’ll need an Adventure Pass. Photo: on the Castle Rock Trail by Escape LA.
Many hikes in the requion require an Adventure Pass – available at many gas stations and other vendor points scattered through the region. If planning to hike on multiple days, our tip is to purchase the passes for all the days you’ll be hitting the trails in one stop so you won’t waste time locating a point of purchase each day. It’s worth planning ahead to know which hikes you’ll be doing and if the pass is required.
A quick yet rewarding jaunt is Heart Rock Trail. This short 1.3 mile hike follows Seeley Creek to an overlook of a 20-foot waterfall next to a heart-shaped pool. A popular hike great for all ages.
The Will Abell Memorial Trail is particularly nice early in the morning or late evening for that sought after golden hour lighting. A 1.9 mile loop with a bit of elevation change and nice forest views. The trailhead is close to Stone Creek Bistro for a post-hike bite to eat.
For some elevation gain paired with great views or neighboring Big Bear Lake, Castle Rock Trail is our pick. This 2.7 out and back trail is moderately challenging due to the 820 foot elevation gain, but worth the climb for the panoramic views at the top. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Castle Rock sign on the right side of the trail so you don’t miss the turnoff that heads to the top.
The Pinnacles Trail begins in forested alpine terrain and as you ascend it quickly turns into a challenging bouldering and climbing trail as you approach the top third of the hike. On clear days, views of the Mojave desert are the payoff at the top. We recommend downloading a map prior to heading out as it can be easy to lose the trail for this 4.6 mile out and back trail.
Nearby the Pinnacles Trail you’ll find the Pinnacles OHV Staging Area to set off on an off-roading adventure. There is a wide variety of terrain from beginner to more advanced trails for 4×4 and side-by-side vehicles.
Since Lake Arrowhead is a private lake, the Lake Arrowhead Queen paddlewheel boat is one of the few ways for visitors to get out on the water. Hop on for a guided tour and a peek at the exclusive luxury homes that surround the lake. Tours are offered throughout the week and tickets can be purchased at LeRoy’s Boardshop.
Where to Shop In & Around Lake Arrowhead
Peruse the vintage racks and home goods at evergreen, then head across the street to Littlebear Bottleshop. Photo c/o evergreen.
Shop the craft brews or ask the staff for their recommended wine picks at Littlebear Bottleshop. Located in Skyforest, the shop is a convenient stop for Lake Arrowhead Village and surrounding communities and also has a nicely curated selection of gifts and barware. Fun fact: The shop is named after Lake Arrowhead’s original name Little Bear Lake.
A stop at evergreen is well worth it for carefully curated vintage clothing, natural apothecary, and small batch gifts. Housed in a light-filled space that was previously a gas station on the corner of Highway 18 and Kuffel Canyon Road in Sky Forest.
If you forgot to bring enough layers or need a blanket for cozying up at the fireplace, browse the Pendleton Woolen Mills outlet in the main shopping mall area of Lake Arrowhead Village. A perfect spot to pick up your alpine adventure souvenir.
Antique shoppers can delight at several small shops in and around Lake Arrowhead. Browse books, classic Hollywood era trinkets, and home decor in a 1940s art deco gas station over at Cedar Station in Cedar Glen. Also located in Cedar Glen, Timberline in the Glen stocks home decor, antiques, lighting, florals, and more. Encompass Antiques stocks books, vintage finds, and local art in an inviting shop in Crestline. In the Village, The Lake House is worth a visit for gourmet essentials, original art, and cabin style antiques.
Where to Stay: the Best Hotels & Airbnbs in Lake Arrowhead
The Hideout at Split Rock is a must for cabin lovers. Photo c/o the Hideout at Split Rock.
There are a handful of hotel and motel offerings in and around Lake Arrowhead whether you want to be right in town or tucked away in the woods. However, we love the selection of vacation rentals in the area for an ultimate get away from it all to relax and recharge. Here’s a shortlist of our favorites.
The sweet Casa Cabina is part of the super kid-friendly Piva Casa Collection, with properties nationwide. Three bedrooms sleeps seven guests, including a bunk room. Close to some of our favorite Arrowhead spots and hikes, including Stone Creek Bistro, Heart Rock and Will Abell Memorial Trails.
This cluster of ten cozy midcentury-clad cabins, the Perch in Twin Peaks, sits on four private acres in the San Bernardino National Forest – just over an hour from LA and a few miles from Lake Arrowhead. It’s the perfect spot for groups of family and friends who are looking for a little privacy, or simply rent one cabin and use it as your home base to explore the region.
Garden in the Sky
Garden in the Sky is named for its peaceful setting, in the natural beauty of its mountain setting. From shopping in Lake Arrowhead Village – only a five–minute drive away, to hiking and swimming in Lake Gregory – only a nineteen–minute drive, this home is in a great location to experience the best of this magical region.
Hideout at Split Rock
We love the Hideout at Split Rock cabin for chicly renovated 60s vibes. Small whimsical details fill the space, and we love the ladder-accessed loft for cozy naps with a view. Only seven minutes to the Village, this is a serene and secluded spot to tuck away for a weekend.
Alpen Adventures Cabin
This very cute cabin with gorgeous lake views begins around $150 a night, which is enough for us to get excited about.
Add on gorgeous lake views, a killer furnished deck, beautiful stone fireplace and room for ten guests, and we’re all in.
This large modern chalet with lake views has a hot tub, with room for eight guests over four rooms. Spend a rainy day in the game room, with a pool table, arcade games, in-home bar. In winter, three fireplaces to cozy up new to; in summer, enjoy the amazing deck with a fire pit.