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Keller Peak via Exploration Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Hike up to, and enjoy the views from, the oldest fire lookout in the San Bernardino Mountains.


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Map Key

12.6

Miles

20.3

KM

Out and Back

7,864' 2,397 m

High

6,010' 1,832 m

Low

2,022' 616 m

Up

2,022' 616 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly The fire lookout is awesome and the volunteers who man it are amazing! They will happily answer any questions you or your youngsters may have.

The lookout is open to the public from Memorial Day to first snow; 9 am - 5 pm.

Overview

This route will take you to the oldest fire lookout in the San Bernardino Mountains. From here, on a clear day, you can see from the Mojave Desert to Catalina Island! The volunteers are incredibly friendly and happy to answer questions and demonstrate their equipment.

Need to Know

You can drive your car up to the lookout (though parking is VERY limited) if you have children or other family members who can't make the journey on foot.

Description

From the trailhead, take the trail to the right where you'll see an information sign and a half-log bench. Follow this path as it traverses some creek beds and climbs a rocky ridge before entering a black oak forest community. Enjoy the shade of the oaks and admire the towering sugar pines as you ascend the western flank of Keller Peak. Between miles 3 and 4, scenic vistas of the high San Gabriel Mountains open up to the west. Just after 4 1/2 miles the Exploration Trail ends at Keller Peak Road. Follow this one lane paved road 1 1/2 miles to the peak of the mountain and the fire lookout that is perched here.

History & Background

Just below the lookout, along the road, look for the memorial plaque for the WWII aircrew that lost their lives when their B-26 crashed into the peak on Dec. 31, 1941.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jason Ethridge

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes

#900

Overall
  5.0 from 3 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#143

in California

#900

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64 Views Last Month
5,917 Since Jun 27, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Looking across the San Bernardino Mts, at Mt. San Antonio (Baldy), in the San Gabriel Mts, from the Keller Peak Fire Lookout.
Jun 27, 2016 near Running…, CA
Looking up at the northern side of Keller Peak from the Exploration Trail.
Jun 27, 2016 near Running…, CA
A majestic sugar pine stands along the Exploration Trail in the National Children's Forest, on the way to Keller Peak.
Jun 27, 2016 near Running…, CA
The Keller Peak Fire Lookout.
Jun 27, 2016 near Running…, CA
The friendly volunteers at Keller Peak Fire Lookout.
Jun 27, 2016 near Running…, CA
Keller Peak
Apr 8, 2018 near Running…, CA

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Check-Ins

Jul 21, 2018
Raquel Z
12.6mi
Jul 23, 2017
Sean Crees
May 27, 2017
Blake Prentiss
Great down and back. Fire outpost is open 9-5pm. 15mi
May 21, 2017
Seth Docherty
Beautiful hike and amazing view from the lookout tower. 12.6mi — 6h 40m
Jun 27, 2016
Jason Ethridge