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A view of the lake, boats and houses from Lake Arrowhead Village.

Lake Arrowhead from the VillageView All Sizes

JOURNAL : June 14, 2009

Camping at Lake Arrowhead

California > United States

Series Camping at Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is a quaint mountain resort town that hovers protectively over its cache of water. On the way up to Big Bear I decided to take an overnight detour into the town. Since I drink dozens of gallons of its water on a weekly basis an investigation into the source was long overdue.

I happened upon Green Valley Lake by accident while seeking out a camping ground in the area. It was a welcome breath of country air from the built-up Lake Arrowhead just to the west.

Green Valley Lake

Many a Lake Town

The pattern follows other lake towns like Tahoe and Big Bear with narrow curvy roads hugging the shoreline and woody houses densely built into the steep banks. For awhile I sought a pleasant spot to stop and nibble but nary a parking place was to be found. Indeed, everywhere were signs warning against parking by temporary freeloaders like myself.

After meandering through numerous neighborhoods I popped back out on the main road (the 173) and decided to stop on a spit of land between Lake Arrowhead and Papoose Lake, adjacent to a small marina. I had the long-awaited snack and consulted the map for the location of the North Shore Campground.

The Eastern End of Lake Arrowhead

The Eastern End of Lake ArrowheadView All Sizes

Lake Arrowhead

Where It's At and Where It Ain't

Okay, if you happen to be looking for it, you must take a right onto Hospital Road near the eastern end of the lake, head up a few hundred yards, then take a left opposite the entrance to the hospital. Only one rather ambiguous sign is posted on the main road. It wasn't very clear and I ended up driving back and forth for an hour, trying different roads before I axed someone and they gave me the correct directions.

North Shore Campground

This was the highlight of the 24 hours spent in the vicinity of the lake. The campground, although blanketed with dry grass, was quiet, shady, and sits on a rise which affords some views — albeit partially obscured — of Lake Arrowhead and surrounding mountains. I walked about a bit and selected the camp site with the highest elevation.

The next morning as the sun was rising I was rewarded with some beautiful views while warming up in the new sun.

Heading out of Lake Arrowhead on the Rim of the World highway the elevation climbs past 6000 feet and the clouds spanned the entire horizon.

The Rim of the WorldView All Sizes

Lake Arrowhead from North Shore Campground

Lake Arrowhead from North Shore CampgroundView All Sizes

Lake Arrowhead from the Green Valley Lake Road. Beyond is the Mojave Desert.

Lake Arrowhead from the Green Valley Lake RoadView All Sizes

A mallard looking for a handout.

A mallard looking for a handout.View All Sizes

Quiet Sunday Morning

The rest of the morning I explored the area and its many winding roads. For awhile I poked around in Lake Arrowhead Village and scoped out the shore, but it seems largely inaccessible to casual inquiry, apparently almost entirely private property. The area has many beautiful houses. Many were unoccupied and town traffic was quiet on a Sunday morning. For the future I noted this area is best explored on a motorcycle or bicycle.

After awhile I headed back onto the Rim of the World drive towards Green Valley Lake and Big Bear...

The view from my camp site as the sun came up.

A view from my camp siteView All Sizes

A small Marina with Papoose Lake in the background.

A small Marina with Papoose Lake in the backgroundView All Sizes

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