|Typically Open:||Year Round|
|Highest Elevation:||7548 feet|
|Duration:||About 1 hour|
|Shape of Trail:||Out & Back|
|Best Direction to Travel:||N/A|
|Nearest Town:||Big Bear City|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Big Bear City|
|Official Road Name:||2N90|
|Management Agency:||US Forest Service|
Tip Top Mountain was home to a silver, lead, and gold mine back in the late 1800's up through the early 1900's. The name of the mine changed a few times over the years as the mine switched hands, with the earliest name being Tip Top Silver Mine. Today you can still find the mines throughout the area, but many are unsafe to explore and the Forest Service has blocked many of the mine entrances. The top of Tip Top Mountain has a 360 degree picturesque view, with diverse scenery ranging from the sun-drenched desert landscape to the lush, and at times snow-capped mountains of the San Bernardino National Forest. Tip Top Mountain is just one of the many trails you can venture upon on what locals call, "the back way to Big Bear" and it truly is a gem. So, indulge yourself in the beautiful scenery, weather and trail systems this area provides.
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.Read more about our rating system
|Spring:||Trail is usually dry unless there have been recent rain.|
|Summer:||Trail is usually dry and dusty.|
|Fall:||Trail could have snow in late Fall.|
|Winter:||Trail could be impassable due to snow.|
Tip Top Mountains trailhead is located just off 2NO2, also called Burns Canyon Rd. Trail 2NO2 comes to a fork in the road where you can turn right off of 2NO2 and on to Tip Top Mountain trail 2N90. You will see a clear sign at the trailhead of Tip Top Mountain so you know you are in the right location. Shift into 4WD, and air your tires down here so you can get a little more traction as you work your way over rocks. Continue down a smooth dirt road until you reach the base of Tip Top Mountain's trail then the fun begins!
We have made it to the first of many rock gardens along the way to the top of Tip Top Mountain. This is where airing down your tires comes in handy. The rocks are not very big, but can be a bit slippery and unstable. Watch as you bounce off and over rocks so you don't get to close to the edge of the trail. Although you have not worked your way up the trail very far, the drop off is still a good ways down.
You have reached the half way point of the trail. You can turn around here if you do not want to continue to the top, or you can keep to the right of the trail and head all the way up. This spot is big enough for a few rigs to park side by side, and is a good point to take a break, have lunch or just enjoy the view before you hit the top. There is another trail off to the left side you can take from this point, the 2N90C, which is also an out-and-back trail. At this point along the trail there is a few options and a few short offshoots, each fun nonetheless, so pick one and enjoy the ride!
After you continue on the trail, from the half way point, you run into another rock garden with loose flat rocks. Take your time as you work your way up the mountain. This side of the trail also has a large drop off on the drivers side, so hug as close to the passenger side of the ridge as you can. Like most places along this trail, it is only wide enough for one rig to safely work its way up the trail.
This Rock Garden fits its name, its a little climb littered with good sized rocks that bounce you around on your way up. This spot is not too bad, just a few large rocks to watch out for as you go up and over them. Think of it like a nice back massage as you bounce your way up to the top of the trail. Once again watch the driver's side drop off as you bounce off rocks to make sure you do not get to close to the edge. Before you start up the Washboard rock garden, there is a turn off for trail 2N90B. This is a fun out and back trail. At the very end of the trail is an old mine that has been gated off. It is a fun little off shoot to explore.
You have almost made it to the top of the trail, to claim victory over the Tip Top Mountain! Just one last rocky stretch and your at the top. This rock garden isn't too strenuous, mostly loose broken rocks, but it does have a diff hanger in the middle if you are running in a stock height rig. For the most part, the hardest sections of the trail are behind you. After here, just one more turn before you can revel in the views!
Round the last of the turns on the Tip Top Mountain trail, and park on either the upper or lower plateau. Both plateau's are wide enough to park multiple rigs side by side. Here you can see the nearly 360 degree view of the diverse terrain. Take some time to admire the scenery before you head back down the same way you came up. Hang on! The ride back down is a little bumpier then the ride up.
Starting Point: Pioneertown