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See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.

23C

Tip Top Mountain

7623'

Location: San Bernardino County, about 9 miles east of Big Bear City, 118 miles from Los Angeles

Maps

Auto ClubLos Angeles and Vicinity, San Bernardino Mountain Area
Forest ServiceSan Bernardino National Forest
USGS ToposRattlesnake Canyon 7½, Big Bear City 7½, Onyx Peak 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
 Viewable JPG file - Approximately 710K
 GPX file or Google Earth KML file to download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)
 Routes as shown on CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)

Nearby Peaks: Granite Peaks, Mineral Mountain, Black Mountain #4

Printable version of this route

ROUTE 1

(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 150' round trip
Gain: 100'
Time: 3 minutes round trip
Rating: Class 1, easy
Navigation: Easy

Original: Warren E. von Pertz and John Backus, December 1974

DRIVING ROUTE 1

(Northern approach)

  • From Big Bear City, drive northeast on SR 18 about 6 miles, 0.3 mile past the 61.00 mile marker, to 3N03 (dirt) on the right, signed "Cactus Flats". Turn right. High clearance recommended on for all dirt roads in this area. Note your odometer and go as follows:
  • At 1.3 miles, fork with 3N07Y to the right. Keep straight.
  • At 3.3 miles and 3.6 miles, forks on the left to Smarts Ranch. Keep straight.
  • At 5.0 miles, you cross Arrastre Creek.
  • At 5.1 miles, fork. Go left.
  • At 5.2 miles, fork. This is the turnoff for Granite Peaks. Keep straight.
  • At 7.4 miles, fork in a saddle with 2N02 on the right. Keep straight.
  • At 7.7 miles, fork with 2N90 on the left. Turn left.
  • Drive 1.4 miles farther on 2N90, keeping right at all forks. At this point turn left.
  • Go 0.4 mile to the end of the road. Park here.

Note:

2N90 is in very poor condition and may not be passable with many 4WD vehicles. Parking at the beginning of 2N90 adds 3.6 miles rt.

(Western approach)

  • From Big Bear City, drive east on SR 38, and where it turns south to ascend to Onyx Summit, turn left (east) on Shay Road. Reset your odometer.
  • At 2.7 miles, Shay Road becomes Baldwin Lake Road, as it goes around the east side of the (dry) lake.
  • At 3.5 miles, intersect Vail Drive on the right (east). Turn right.
  • Continue on Vail Drive about 100 yards, then turn left on 2N02 (signed). High clearance recommended on for all dirt roads in this area. Reset your odometer.
  • Go 7.0 miles on 2N02 to a junction with 3N03 at mile 7.4 of the north driving route. Turn right and continue as in the north driving route.

HIKING ROUTE 1

  • From the parking area, hike up the ridge a short distance to the summit. Another trail to the top goes up the southeast ridge, past the remains of a building.

Printable version of this route

ROUTE 2

(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Gain: 900' total, 800' out plus 100' on return
Time: 1-1 1/2 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, easy
Navigation: Easy

Original: George Wysup, September 2000

DRIVING ROUTE 2

  • From Big Bear City, drive northeast on SR 18 about 6 miles, 0.3 mile past the 61.00 mile marker, to Forest Service 3N03 (dirt) on the right, signed "Cactus Flats". Turn right. High clearance recommended on for all dirt roads in this area. Note your odometer and go as follows:
  • At 1.3 miles, fork with 3N07Y to the right. Keep straight.
  • At 3.3 miles and 3.6 miles, forks on the left to Smarts Ranch. Keep straight.
  • At 5.0 miles, you cross Arrastre Creek.
  • At 5.1 miles, fork. Go left.
  • At 5.2 miles, fork. This is the turnoff for Granite Peaks. Keep straight.
  • At 7.4 miles, fork in a saddle with 2N02 on the right. Keep straight.
  • At 7.7 miles, fork with 2N90 on the left. Keep straight.
  • At 8.8 miles, fork to the left. Park here.

HIKING ROUTE 2

  • From the parking area (6870'), hike north to the saddle between hills 7462' and 7393', going around the east side of 7462', then north to a saddle and across a road.
  • Continue north up a ridge to the summit.

ALTERNATE ROUTES

Tip Top can also be climbed from Mineral Mountain by going northwest along the ridge, over bump 7393'. Proceed from there as in Route 2. Distance is about 2 miles from Mineral Mountain and gain is about 450'. Return to vehicle as in Route 2, adding a southeast hike along the road to the parking place for Mineral Mountain.


NOTE

Tip Top Mountain is just outside the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness area.

History of Summit Signature

Climbing Archives

Please report any corrections or changes to the Mountain Records Chair.


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