3N34 - Willow Creek Jeep Trail

Lake Arrowhead, California (SanBernardino County)

Last Updated: 09/23/2021
4.7 / 5 ( 31 reviews )
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Highlights

Highlight: 3N34 - Willow Creek Jeep Trail
A few miles north of the mountain lake community of Lake Arrowhead you will find Willow Creek Jeep Trail. This trail is amongst a network of OHV routes in the San Bernardino mountains in the San Bernardino National Forest. As you travel across this trail you begin to notice the forrest environment on the south slowly fade toward a hinting desert landscape on the north. This is most prominent as you pass 3W13 (waypoint 9) and turn to the north. Along the trail you will make two creek crossings ; willow creek and little bear creek. Both crossings are over concrete-slab fords. The east end of 3N34X (way point 27) offers the most fun of this trail for the adventurous offroader. This rutted, rocky hill was fun enough for us to run it up and down.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
2WD Vehicle with High Clearance
Concerns:
Summary:
Willow Creek Jeep Trail is an easy trail. The high end rating comes from the steep, rutted sections on Rut Hill.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
2
EASY
OPTIONAL
3
MODERATE
Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 8" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 9" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 12" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep but with good traction.
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Community Consensus

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Description

Willow Creek Jeep Trail is the west end of the Crab Flats OHV trail, 3N34, in the San Bernardino National Forest, north of Lake Arrowhead. When this trail is run from west to east, it leads into Dishpan Springs. Willow Creek can be combined with Cleghorn Ridge , Pilot Rock, Dishpan Springs and 3N16 for an overland mountain trek across the San Bernardino mountains with minimal pavement contact. This trail is mostly easy, with short moderate sections. Though some sections are marked as black diamond ratings, a moderate blue is more accurate for these sections and an easy green is accurate for most of the trail. The short section of 3N34 between waypoints 14 and 15 is also known as Ash Meadows Road. The 2.5 mile long section of 3N34 from waypoint 17 through 24 is also known as Squint Ranch Road. This is a great trail for beginners who are looking to try a little more than a fire road. **Permit information:** A permit (forest adventure pass) is not required to run this trail. It is only needed if you park at an area with improved facilities; toilets, picnic tables, fire rings. The Splinters Cabin Picnic Area, at the end of 3N34C (Waypoint 22), off the south end of this trail, or the Pinnacles OHV Staging Area at Waypoint 2, are examples of where you should have an adventure pass.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Directly off CA-173, the trailhead is well marked with signage for Willow Creek Jeep trail, 3N34 and Pinnacles OHV staging area.
2. Pinnacles OHV Staging Area (0.42 mi)
Pinnacles OHV staging area includes a large parking area, tables with shade and vault toilets. Parking here requires a Forest Adventure Pass ; $5/day or $30/year.
3. 3N34X West Intersection (0.49 mi)
This is the west intersection of 3N34X. Notice the "X "at the end of the route number. Left will take you on 3N34X which is the harder, northern loop of Willow Creek Jeep Trail. Right will keep you on the easier route; 3N34 (no "X"). Either way is still Willow Creek Jeep Trail. The trails meet again at waypoint 5; 3N34X east intersection. The mile markers for the following waypoints are based on going right at this point. If you choose to go left, waypoint 25 is next.
4. 3W65 Intersection (1.77 mi)
3W65 is limited to vehicles with a maximum width of 50". No jeeps are allowed on 3W65. Stay left to continue on 3N34.
5. 3N34X East Intersection (2.2 mi)
At this point you should stay to the right to continue forward on 3N34. Left will take you on 3N34X; the harder, northern loop of Willow Creek Jeep Trail, which will land you back at waypoint 3 once you pass through waypoints 27, 26 and 25.
6. Big Turnout (2.39 mi)
This is a good spot to stop for a break and enjoy the scenery. There is plenty of room for vehicles to park at this location.
7. Left Right Option (2.44 mi)
Here you can take your pick; left or right. Either option keeps you on the trail and takes you to the Willow Creek crossing.
8. Willow Creek Crossing (2.51 mi)
The concrete pad here makes for an easy crossing over Willow Creek.
9. 3W13 Intersection (2.63 mi)
Here you will have to keep left to continue on 3N34. 3W13 is limited to vehicles with a maximum width of 50".
10. Ice Mocha (2.95 mi)
When wet, this lower section of the trail collects 15" plus of icy water mixed with the earth, resembling a tasty caffeinated beverage. While there is a shallow bypass to the side of this icy slurry, it's hard to resist making a splash in the deep end.
11. Small 2x Turnout (3.24 mi)
This small double turnout provides enough space for a few vehicles to park on each side of the trail.
12. Rocky Hill (3.45 mi)
The rocks on this short uphill section can easily be avoided by smaller vehicles.
13. Tiny Rock Garden (4.2 mi)
This point of the trail includes a cute little rock collection that might make a fun obstacle when it grows up :) .
14. 2N75 - Ash Meadows Intersection (4.31 mi)
Turn left toward Squint Ranch to stay on 3N34.
15. 3N38 Intersection (West) (4.45 mi)
Turn right here to stay on 3N34. An optional detour to the left will take you on 3N38, by the locked gates at the Lake Arrowhead Airport and then loop you back around to waypoint 17.
16. 2N29Y - Stove Flats Intersection (4.82 mi)
Stay to the left to continue on 3N34.
17. 3N38 Intersection (East) (5.07 mi)
Turn right to stay on 3N34. The optional detour to the left will take you on 3N38, by the locked gates at the Lake Arrowhead Airport and then loop you back to the west to waypoint 15.
18. 3N34D - Devils Hole Intersection (5.21 mi)
Stay right to continue on 3N34. Signs mark this section of 3N34 as "most difficult", but it is no harder than the rest of the trail. A left here will take you on 3N34**D** to Devils Hole.
19. Lunch Loop Turnout (5.78 mi)
This small loop allows for parking half a dozen or more vehicles and is a good place to stop for lunch or to enjoy the scenery.
20. 2N25 - Rouse Ranch Road Intersection (6.48 mi)
Continue straight at this point to stay on 3N34.
21. 2N27Y - Rouse Meadow Intersection (6.97 mi)
Continue straight at this point to stay on 3N34.
22. 3N34C Intersection (7.4 mi)
Continue straight at this point to stay on 3N34. A hard left will take you to the Splinter's hiking trailhead.
23. Little Bear Creek Crossing (7.48 mi)
The concrete pad here provides an easy path through the little bear creek.
24. End of the Trail / 2N26Y (7.56 mi)
From here you can continue straight to end your day on the trail. The road ahead is 2N26Y - Hook Creek Rd. which will lead you down the east side of Lake Arrowhead on your way out. If you haven't had enough yet, a hard left here will take you into Dishpan Springs (Extreme trail).
25. 3N34X Water Tank (0.55 mi)
Here you will find a water tank and a small turn out. This mile marker is based on starting from the trailhead and turning **left** at Waypoint 3 (3N34X).
26. 3N34X Lookout Tree (0.7 mi)
This small turnout and tree make for a good place to stop and enjoy the view to the east. The mile marker here is based on starting from the trailhead and turning **left** at Waypoint 3 (3N34X).
27. 3N34X Rut Hill (0.8 mi)
If you like ruts and rocks mixed with your hills, you have come to the right place. This rutted, rocky hill might look intimidating, but it is no problem with the right line. The mile marker here is based on starting from the trailhead and turning **left** at Waypoint 3 (3N34X).

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: San Bernardino

From San Bernardino, Take CA-18 N. Exit CA-138 ramp to Crestline. Continue onto CA-138 W. Continue straight onto Lake Dr. Turn right onto Lake Gregory Dr. Turn left onto CA-189 E. Turn left onto Grass Valley Rd. Turn left to stay on Grass Valley Rd. Turn left onto CA-173 W. Turn right onto Willow Creek Jeep Trail.

Camping

Improved
Designated
The North Shore Campground is the closest improved campsite, but this campground is only open from late April through early October. North Shore Campground has potable water and flush toilets. Fees are $23 per 1 vehicle for the night, however fees increase and a 3 night minimum is enforced on holiday weekends.
Camping: 3N34 - Willow Creek Jeep Trail

Land Use Issues

Arrowhead Ranger Station 28104 Highway 18 P.O. Box 350 Skyforest, CA 92385 (909) 382-2782 (voice) (800) 877-8339 (TTY)

Trail Reviews (31)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: is there a map available .im just begginer and my jeep 2018 wrangler wit 35 tire and 4 inch lift is gonna be a problem
–jadd diaz (04/21/2018)
A: Congratulations on your new Jeep! It should have no trouble with this trail. For a map, there are a number of smart phone apps that will work with a phones GPS, allow downloading of maps for offline use and will open and display the GPS track (GPX file) above. Gaia GPS and Back Country Navigator are a couple of the more popular map applications. If you want a paper map, copies are available at the Big Bear Discovery Center and, sometimes, in the metal box, next to the signs at Waypoint 2 of this trail.
–G. Martin (04/22/2018)
Q: Is a permit required for this trail or is it only required if camping?
–White JK (04/20/2018)
A: A permit (forest adventure pass) is not required to run this trail. It is only needed if you park at an area with improved facilities; toilets, picnic tables, etc. The Splinters Cabin Picnic Area, at the end of 3N34C, off the south end of this trail is an example of where you should have an adventure pass.
–G. Martin (04/20/2018)
Q: 3N34D Squint Ranch Rd to Lake arrowhead I was wondering if this trail that heads out to Squint Ranch rd is actually a Black Difficult level? Or is more like blue?
–RAUL (07/02/2017)
A: Signs mark this section of 3N34 as "most difficult", but it is no harder than the rest of the trail.
–G. Martin (07/02/2017)
Q: 2wd Prerunner Tacoma with good tires and experience. Might give this a shot in a few weeks. Thoughts? Great write-up!
–Mike (06/10/2017)
A: Deflate tires to 20-25, and you'll be okay.
–RAUL (07/02/2017)
A: Thanks for the reply! For some reason I didn't get an email notification. Yes I plan on running this trail from the other way. Going up next week
–Mike (06/24/2017)
A: I think you will be fine. It's dry now, so the hardest parts are WP 27: 3N34X Rut Hill (if you go on 3N34X) and maybe a short hill just before WP 19: Lunch Loop Turnout. If you run this from east to west, you might want to bypass 3N34X. Going up Rut Hill without 4WD might be problem.
–G. Martin (06/10/2017)

Writer Information

G. Martin

Mapping Crew - California

G. Martin, gm4x4 on Youtube , is a California native, born and raised in northern California and now living and wheeling in southern California. He enjoys exploring new trails and setting up camp in the remote outdoors. You may come across him in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the mountains of Big Bear, in the central Sierras near Shaver Lake or any other dirty, rocky road in the southwest.
For individual use only, not to be shared.