3N10 – John Bull

Big Bear City, California (SanBernardino) Technical Rating: 5-8

Last Updated: 04-09-2018

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Status: Open
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult
Length: 4.4 Miles
Category: Altitude, Desert, Forest, Iconic, Mud, Rock, Sand, Snow Wheeling
Highest Elevation: 8,200 '
Duration: about 6 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Go: West
Nearest Town:
Big Bear City
Nearest Town w/ Service:
Big Bear City
Forest Service Road: # 3N10
Forest Service / Park District:
San Bernardino Forest Service

3N10 – John Bull Highlights

Highlights: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

This is a must do trail when in Southern California. Often used as the proving grounds prior to a trip to the Rubicon, you can expect large boulders over 36 inches big, loose rocks that love to do body damage, and big trees that seem to jump out of nowhere and kiss your vehicle. Be warned though, this trail will put man and machine to the test.

Technical rating: (5-8) Moderate-Difficult

Heavy rock and/or severe ruts. Rocks exceeding hub height frequent. Shelves to 12". Deep mud or uphill mud sections. Steep grades to 25 degrees and can be loose or rocky. Water crossings may exceed 30" in depth. Side hill to 30 degrees. One vehicle wide. Body damage possible. Experience needed. Vehicle Modifications helpful.

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Directions to Trailhead

East Trailhead Baldwin Lake Options 1 - Follow Highway 18 east of Big Bear Lake, turn left onto Holcomb Valley Rd towards the Big Bear landfill. Turn left onto 3N16 just before the landfill entrance, after about 2 miles your come up to 3N02 on your right. Turn onto 3N02 and follow it about 1 mile to 3N10, turn left onto 3N10 to enter "John Bull Trail", at just under 3 miles you will find the "Gate Keeper" this is the official start of the trail.

Option 2 - Follow Highway 18 east of Big Bear Lake, turn left onto Holcomb Valley Rd towards the Big Bear landfill. Turn left onto 3N16 just before the landfill entrance, after about 2 miles your come up to 3N32 on your right. Turn onto 3N32 and follow it about 1.5 mile to 3N10, the trail dead ends into John Bull.

Fawnskin From Fawnskin, take 2N09 north till it dead ends, turn right on 3N16 and travel roughly 1.5 miles and turn left on 3N32. Follow it about 1.5 mile to 3N10, the trail dead ends into John Bull.

West Trailhead Fawnskin From Fawnskin, take 2N09 north till it dead ends, turn left on 3N16 and quickly go right on 3N10. The trial dead ends into John Bull.

 

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:

34° 19' 2.26"N
116° 52' 26.81"W

Topo Maps:

GPS Exchange File:

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Route Description

Commonly referred to as the mini Rubicon Trail, John Bull is one of the most difficult trails in the San Bernardino Forest trail system. Large boulders, tight turns, and small squeezes between trees are just some of the obstacles you will encounter. Once you arrive at the infamous "Gate Keeper" you will start crawling your way up boulder fields with rocks the size of small cars. Mixed with loose dirt, traction is minimal and ground clearance is your friend. Short wheelbase vehicles tend to fair better, but a properly armored SUV or pickup truck can make it though without many hang ups. There is no right or wrong way to run the trail, but most run it west to east. There are a few areas where it would be tricky to get by a group of vehicles that are going the opposite way.

1: 3N32 Cutoff

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 1: 3N32 Cutoff 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 1: 3N32 Cutoff 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 1: 3N32 Cutoff

This is where most people think John Bull trail starts but really is the middle of the trail. Just North of this spot is the Gate Keeper. East is John Bull East

For more information on 3N32 please visit http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1569-3n32

2: John Bull Gate Keeper

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 2: John Bull Gate Keeper 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 2: John Bull Gate Keeper 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 2: John Bull Gate Keeper

Tied with the large rocky area in difficulty, this area is a popular gathering spot because of the ample shade, cell service, and entertaining show. It is recommend that you have 33 inch tires, rock sliders, and a working locker to make it through this spot. Expect rocks larger then 32 inches and ledges over 24 inches.

3: Large Rocky Area

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 3: Large Rocky Area 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 3: Large Rocky Area 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 3: Large Rocky Area

This area is the other super hard part of the trail. If you don't have a lift and at least 33 inch tires, you will likely drag your rocker panels. The rocks in this area are over 36 inches large and have drop-offs over 32 inches tall.

4: Overlook

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 4: Overlook 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 4: Overlook 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 4: Overlook

This overlook used to be a yellow post campsite. At some point, a tree fell blocking the path down to the area. However, many people still stop close to the overlook and hike over. On top of the overlook, you are roughly 3,000 feet above the valley floor in front of you.

5: West Long Rock Garden

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 5: West Long Rock Garden 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 5: West Long Rock Garden 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 5: West Long Rock Garden

This is the longest rock garden on the trail, and it has some rocks that would love to catch your differential. Keep an eye out, and you will be fine.

6: West Small Rock Garden

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 6: West Small Rock Garden 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 6: West Small Rock Garden 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 6: West Small Rock Garden

This is the first rock garden when traveling from the west side. This little play area is fun, but be warned, the rocks are big enough to do damage to your rocker panels.

7: Dirt Hills (4.2mi)

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 7: Dirt Hills 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 7: Dirt Hills 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 7: Dirt Hills

The dirt hills are a popular hang out and photo spot on the trail.

8: West End of Trail (4.4mi)

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 8: West End of Trail 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 8: West End of Trail 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 8: West End of Trail

If you decide to run this trail from west to east, this marks the beginning of the John Bull Trail.

9: 3N10 meets with 3N16 (5.0mi)

3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 9: 3N10 meets with 3N16 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 9: 3N10 meets with 3N16 3N10 – John Bull - Waypoint 9: 3N10 meets with 3N16

To get to John Bull, turn North at 3N10 - West Connector from 3N16 – Holcomb Valley Road at this location.

Access Issues

This trail is open year around. But they will randomly close trails in the area during certain times of year with no warning. They are also trying to close this area for the winters, thus please contact SBFS for access information before making your trip and let them know you want to keep this trail open year around..

For more information, please contact the Big Bear Discovery Center at 41374 North Shore Drive, Highway 38 Fawnskin, CA 92333 Mailing address: PO Box 290 Fawnskin, CA 92333 (909) 382-2790 (voice) (TDD/TTY dial (800) 735-2922)

More Information

Camping and Lodging

Camping & Lodging: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

The San Bernardino National Forest is a nearby oasis for millions of Southern Californians who want to escape for the weekend and go camping. The higher elevations of the forest mean that the summertime temperatures are cooler than the valleys below. And as an added bonus most campgrounds have shaded sites and some are near streams or lakes. Many campgrounds are adjacent to beautiful natural areas and you can find solitude on quiet wilderness trails. Some campgrounds are reserved campsites, and on weekends or holidays we definitely recommend making a reservation. To do this, visitors can go online to www.recreation.gov or call toll-free 1-877-444-6777. Most campgrounds can accommodate both tent campers and RV's. All campgrounds have picnic tables and restroom facilities, and some even have showers and other amenities. Most campsites accommodate up to 6 people and 2 tents. There may be an additional cost for more than one vehicle. The Forest Service describes camping as either "developed" (usually accessible by road and including facilities like picnic tables, restrooms and fire-rings) or "undeveloped/dispersed" (remote areas accessible only by dirt roads or trails, no facilities). During winter months some locations may be inaccessible due to snow or closed, check with the local Ranger Station for updated conditions. More info can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/sbnf/recreation/camping-cabins. You are allowed to dispersed camp anywhere in the forest, but you are not allowed to have any open wood or charcoal fires any time of the year.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to...

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Questions & Answers

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Trip Reports

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 04-09-2018

Status: Open

Conditions:

High Temperature: 71° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

Great little trail, ran it in about 30 minutes. The weather was amazing... Couldn't believe it was April.

Someone did tear up the east rock garden something fierce. Sad to see when someone moves all the rocks out of the way.

But my New Falken Tires were amazing on the trail. Best decision I have done with the jeep was putting these bad boys on.

Missing profile

Don Quick

Offroaded on 01-27-2018

Status: Open

Conditions: Sunny

High Temperature: 35° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

Conditions were perfect.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 09-14-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Dry

Top 5 Hard Trails in Big Bear Holcomb Valley

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 07-01-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Sunny

Low Temperature: 40° F

High Temperature: 80° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

What a great day... Had a ton of fun.

Dsc 5905

David May
Official Crew

Offroaded on 07-01-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Sunny

Low Temperature: 40° F

High Temperature: 80° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

A small group of us decided to escape the heat and do some wheeling up in the Big Bear area. The John Bull sounded like a good time. This last winter has made the trail a little more technical than last year, but nothing too difficult. Once you get past the gate keeper you have seen the worst of it. The changes in the trail made for a great time. I will probably run it again very soon.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 05-05-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Dry

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

Well, the snow is gone and the trail didn't change much this winter. Maybe got a little easier

I do think we might have found John Bulls Cabin and mining area which was pretty cool.

Screenshot 2017 02 04 17.14.02

G. Martin
Official Crew

Offroaded on 03-19-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Partially Cloudy

Low Temperature: 40° F

High Temperature: 50° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

This is a great trail! There is some snow on the east side of the trail, but it is still passible. We ran this in my JK and my brothers International Scout, just after running Gold Mountain.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 09-17-2016

Status: Open

Conditions: Sunny

Low Temperature: 51° F

High Temperature: 72° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

Another great trip... It is easy to see why this is probably the most popular driven hard trail in Southern California.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 05-01-2016

Status: Open

Conditions: Wet

Low Temperature: 30° F

High Temperature: 50° F

Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California Trip Report: 3N10 – John Bull - Big Bear City, California

Great day on John Bull. The trail was really slippery making it fun. Our group was able to make it through with minimum stacking. We watched several other groups go through and just destroy their rigs.

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