Castle Rock is a prominent landmark near the south-west end of Big Bear Lake. From the top of the rocks there are great views of the lake and surrounding valley.
Hiking Castle Rock from Highway 18 is only about 2 miles round trip but there is around a 500 feet elevation gain and at the 6,750 foot elevation of Big Bear can get your blood pumping. The trail winds through magnificent stands of pine, fir, and cedar trees which add to the beauty. Along the way and at the top of Castle Rock there are different views of Big Bear Lake. The trail head is pretty much accessible year round and this hike was done in late May.
The Serrano Indians lived in Big Bear Valley many years ago and there is a legend about Castle Rock. At that time the name for Big Bear was Yuhavait which means “pine place.” The story goes there was a beautiful young Indian girl named Wyhnemah who once lived there. All the young men of the tribe were constantly competing with each other for her attention, but she only cared for one young brave named Pahwek. He was a hunter and whenever he was gone on hunting trips to get food for the tribe, Wyhnemah would climb to the top of Castle Rock and watch for his return. When she would see him in the distance, she would climb down and run to meet him. On one such trip, Pahwek did not return when he was supposed to. As the days and weeks went by, Wyhnemah came to realize that something was terribly wrong and that he would never be coming home. Not wanting to live her life without her true love, she climbed to the top of Castle Rock one evening and stepped off the edge to join Pahwek forever in the happy hunting ground.
A little closer view of a portion of Big Bear lake.
This windswept tree shows the harsh environment the trees must endure.
Another less exposed tree with one of our explorers to show the size of the tree as he photographs it.