Go for a sunset drive on the iconic Rim of the World Highway, overlooking the city below. Photo: Escape LA.

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.

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 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. 

Try Honey’s House for quaint cabin vibes – complete with an exposed stone fireplace and large wraparound deck. If you want to step away from the peaceful setting, the cabin is only a 10 minute walk to the amenities of Lake Arrowhead’s neighboring community Crestline. 

If you’re looking for a contemporary mountain stay for a larger group, Black Arrow boasts five bedrooms and plenty of entertainment options. Play shuffleboard or skeeball or grill for your group out on the private deck complete with outdoor dining and firepit. If you can pry yourself from the treetop views, the home is a quick ten minute drive to Lake Arrowhead Village.

For the A-frame fanatics (we know you’re out there), book 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. 

For those traveling with kids in tow, family-friendly Casa Cabina is an updated Bavarian cabin that sleeps up to seven. The neutral interiors, wood beams, and ample natural lighting shine in this Bavarian style cabin that is a short ten minute drive to the Village. 

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.

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 the San Bernardino Mountains, it’s a great spot to stop for a drink or dinner at this romantic get-away from it all restaurant. Reservations highly recommended.

If you’re searching for your caffeine fix, LuluBelle’s Coffee House and Bakery offers up espresso drinks, baked goods, and light snacks. Open for breakfast and lunch in an inviting atmosphere centered around a fireplace for cooler days or nights. 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.