Keller Peak is located just east of Running Springs and west of Snow Valley Ski Area. It is a nice hike up a new trail to a peak that contains a fire lookout and several radio and TV communication towers. Keller Peak has great views of the San Gorgonio Wilderness, Big Bear Valley, Lake Arrowhead, Inland Empire Basin and even over to the high deserts on really clear days. The trail is open to hikers, horses and mountain bikes.
- ~12 miles round-trip
- Start at 6000', peak at 7882'
- Moderate to strenuous
- What to bring:
- Good shoes, water, food, sunscreen, camera, Seven Summits punch card, hiking poles (optional, and recommended because of the length)
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Directions to Trailhead
Head toward Running Springs on Hwy 18, right after Arrowbear (about 11 miles from BB dam) you will see a road on the left that heads to Keller Peak. You can park here with your Adventure Pass or turn at the next driveway on left which is the Children’s Forest Visitors Center.
The trailhead of the Exploration Trail is on the right side, just as the road turns sharply to the left.
The trail heads in a southeasterly direction for the majority of the hike and is mostly straightforward.
Be aware that you will have 2 dirt road crossings. The first is approx 1 mile into the hike and is very easy to see where the trail continues on the other side. The next road crossing in about ½ mile further down the trail and you will need to pay attention because different dirt roads come together just as the trail crosses. Basically just keep heading straight across the road toward the south and look for the trail ahead of you.
Depending on the season, you may encounter several small creek and stream crossings. Even when these streams are flowing, there are easy ways across each of them with out getting your feet wet, so no worries there.
At the top of the Exploration Trail you will meet back up with paved road 1N96 and will now need to turn right and head up the 1 ½ miles up the road to reach Keller Peak.
You will be treated to great views on the way up this spiraling road to the top, including the view down into the Santa Ana River Valley which is about 4000’ straight below you!
Once you reach near the top you will encounter this spacecraft looking building with warning signs posted. Don’t stop here! Keep heading around the corner and up to the summit. You are looking for the white fire lookout tower which is straight ahead. Once you reach here, you will need to go the south side of the tower and look along the chain link fence for the Seven Summits marker. Just follow the fence around clockwise from the front where the gate opens and you can’t miss the marker and punch attached to the fence.
This hike is longer and has more elevation gain than the previous summits so make sure you are well-prepared and you’ll have lots of fun!