Due to the recent storm that passed through California and other western states, many areas may be temporarily closed due to trail damage and/or other reasons. Please check with local authorities prior to your trip.

Smarts Ranch

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4.4/5 (11 reviews)
Big Bear City, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 05/27/2023

Trail Information


Smarts Ranch Road or 3NO3 as it is known by locals and off-roaders, is a mellow trail leading into the heart of the forest. There are not many side trails off of Smarts Ranch Road but it does paint some beautiful pictures of the lush green forest, as well as beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the early morning and evening hours.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.4/5 (11)
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/02/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Not much damage, if any, from Hillary. Burns is blocked by a boulder between the two sidewinder entries.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/10/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We came in from the east on Burns Canyon Road, and went the wrong way at the Y. It was a little rougher than 2N02 (Burns Canyon), but we never had an issue. We drove a stock Wrangler JLU, and never shifted into 4 low.
Visited: 07/09/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Tried going up this trail from Burns Canyon. All was well until we hit the Rocky Shelf (waypoint #6 above). It is far more difficult and worn/washed out Much more rocks protruding, making clearance an issue. We had a very stock 2 week old Bronco with us and chose not to drag the bottom of it down the shelf. So we turned around and continue to Big Bear on Burns Canyon.
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Official Crew
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Temporary Closure
Visited: 04/13/2023

The road is temporarily closed. If you would like to read more about the closure: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sbnf/conditions/?cid=FSEPRD538928
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Rated 4/5
Visited: 11/07/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran this with a stock 2008 Porsche Cayenne with ride height adjustable air suspension on oversized 31" all terrain tires. Trail rating is accurate. There are a few sections rated 2, lots of sections rated 3 and one steeper section at the south end just before it meets up with 2N02 that warrants a 4 rating. I used to drive this road all the time in the late 90s and early 2000's. At that time it was mostly difficulty 2 with maybe a few sections of 3. From my perspective I was AMAZED how torn up this road has become over the past 18 years or so. It used to be a fairly comfortable smooth road that any stock SUV could run. That's no longer the case. Now it's a rough and rocky road. Pretty obvious the Forest Service has done no maintenance on this road even though it's a primary transit route on the east side of Big Bear. I wonder if they just don't have the money for road maintenance or if there subtly trying to minimize public access with worsening road conditions.

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