Located at an altitude of 5,100′ in a forest of pines, cedars, oaks and maples is Lake Arrowhead, a 784 acre manmade lake some describe as the “Jewel of Southern California”. Located about 90 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Lake Arrowhead is in the center of Southern California. Only minutes from the local ski resorts, 2 1/2 hours to San Diego, 1 hour to Palm Springs, and 3 hours from Las Vegas, makes this community the ideal location for all that Southern California has to offer.
Click Here: View from Rim High School
The Lake Arrowhead Communities are located on 9,215 privately owned acres totally enclosed within the 812,000 acre San Bernardino National Forest.
In June of 1851, a caravan of 500 Mormons set off from Salt Lake City crossed Cajon Pass and proceeded to set up a small settlement called San Bernardino. The real supply of lumber for this new town was going to have to come from the San Bernardino mountain-tops to Little Bear Valley (later to become “Lake Arrowhead”), but there was no economical way to get there. It was decided that a road up Waterman Canyon to the mountain crest would be built. Just about every man in the community was recruited to help hack out the first public road into the area. This new road was incredibly steep and dangerous, however, serious logging in the Mountains began in July of 1852. The center of activity for logging in the late 1800’s was from Crestline to Little Bear Valley. By the turn of the century, most of the logging industry had spread east along the mountain tops towards the Running Springs / Green Valley Lake area from Lake Arrowhead.
In 1881, the Arrowhead Reservoir Company took over the old Mormon Road. They re-graded the road, and rerouted the last 2 1/2 miles to the crest with switchbacks. It was operated as the waterman Canyon Toll Road until 1905, when the county took it over. Waterman Canyon Road has several of the notorious 13 switchbacks that tested both man and machine traveling into Lake Arrowhead. Travelers on their way to Lake Arrowhead stopped to rest and let their vehicles cool down on one of the many tight corners of the Waterman Canyon Toll Road. The Clark’s Grade route ran up Santa Ana Canyon and over the crest (near Snow Summit) to Bear Valley. This road was eventually abandoned in favor of the longer Highway 38 route over the crest near Mt. Onyx.
In 1891, Gus Knight and John Metcalf built the Bear Valley Toll Road from Green Valley through Holcomb Valley to Big Bear Lake. It operated from 1892 until it was purchased by the county in 1911 and opened to free public travel. Cars lining up to travel into the mountains at the Santa Ana River control point. The road was only wide enough for one way traffic. So, a three hour up, then a three hour down control was used to handle traffic to and from Lake Arrowhead.
Lake Arrowhead Dam
In December of 1890, the Arrowhead Reservoir Company was formed. It was capitalized with $1,000,000 and plans to create a mammoth irrigation project on the western part of the San Bernardino Mountains to provide water for a thirsty San Bernardino. In 1891, the new company purchased over 4,000 acres of land in and around Little Bear Valley. They finished construction of a new toll road up Waterman Canyon by March of 1892 to haul heavy equipment and supplies to the new Little Bear Lake dam site. By 1912, the Little Bear Lake dam had reached a height of 160 feet. However, all of this came to a halt in 1913. Two years earlier in 1911, landowners from the desert side of the mountains had filed an injunction to stop the Arrowhead Reservoir & Power Company from diverting the natural flow of water. In 1913, the Superior Court in San Bernardino found in favor of the desert landowners. So, after spending $2,791,000 and 22 years of work, the Arrowhead Reservoir’s plan to provide water to San Bernardino was dead.
In 1921, the Arrowhead Lake Company, a Los Angeles syndicate, purchased the Little Bear Lake and all of its properties from the Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Company. They immediately began work finishing the Little Bear Lake dam. It was raised to a final height of 184 feet. However, the Arrowhead Lake Company wasn’t interested in selling water. It was their plan to build the finest resort in Southern California. The lake was renamed “Lake Arrowhead”. Luxury Lodges were built, a golf course was put in, and exclusive tracts were offered for sale. $8,000,000 was invested to demolish the existing Little Bear Resort and start construction on a unique Norman English style village.
On June 24, 1922, the new Lake Arrowhead village was officially opened to the public.
For almost one hundred years, Lake Arrowhead has been the premier mountain resort in Southern California. Access from the San Bernardino Valley is via State Highway 18, a nationally designated scenic byway known as “Rim of the World Highway”. Most of the thirty minute drive is over a four lane limited access highway with the last seven miles (“The Narrows”) being a two lane road providing magnificent views ranging on clear days to the Pacific Ocean, and Catalina Island.
LAKE ARROWHEAD VILLAGE
Lake Arrowhead Village is the center of resort activities with a wide variety of lodging, dining and shopping opportunities for visitors. Other communities service not only the tourist, but also the permanent and vacation home resident. The area also has over 50 group camps as well as being the base for camping and recreation in the National Forest.
Almost all the private land surrounding Lake Arrowhead has been subdivided into residential lots. About 10,000 lots are in Arrowhead Woods where property ownership carries with it the right to use Lake Arrowhead. 10,000 lots have been improved with residences ranging from modest cabins to some of the most expensive homes in the world. 4,000 of these homes are occupied full time by the permanent population of about 10,000. The 6,000 second homes are used on weekends, holidays and in the summer. In a summer holiday weekend, the population swells to forty thousand. The permanent population is growing rapidly from 6,300 in 1980 to the 10,000 estimated in 1992, a 4% annual growth rate. Ultimate build-out population is projected to be about 33,000. Assuming the 4% growth rate continues, the permanent population will he approximately 14,000 in the year 2000, 20,500 in the year 2010 and 30,000 in the year 2020.
The demographics of the Lake Arrowhead population are not well documented. There are a number of retired residents but probably not more than 20% of the population. School attendance continues to grow and it is estimated that 50% of the permanent households have children in grades K-12. Income and education levels are higher than those of surrounding communities.
Lake Arrowhead has a unique climate for Southern California; it has four distinct seasons. In the summer, it is about 20 degrees cooler than the valley floor with summer highs generally in the 80’s. In the winter, nighttime temperatures regularly dip below freezing but are usually above freezing by 9 a.m. with an average winter high in the 50’s. Average rainfall is 50 inches a year, which is 3 to 4 times typical rainfall in the Southern California area. Average snowfall is 80 inches a year starting in late November and usually ending in March.
The area receives 310 annual days of sunshine being above the marine layer that covers the Los Angeles Basin during much of the year. Air quality is generally good due to the elevation being above the valley’s inversion layer.
Tourism is the primary economic generator for the area contributing 78 million dollars a year and providing 600 full time and 700 part time jobs for local residents. The area is host to 2.4 million visitors a year, primarily part-time vacation homeowners and their guests. There are 400 guest rooms in hotels, motels and Bed and Breakfasts for overnight visitors as well as 500 cabins, which are rented out on a short-term basis. Ski packages, Weddings and Eco-Tourism are major sources of visitor growth. The area is also popular for business conferences. Accommodation occupancy during most of the year is very high, 90% on holidays and weekends and only 45% on weekdays. Summer is the most popular tourist season with winter usage growing.
There are virtually no research and development, manufacturing, wholesaling or distribution employers in the Arrowhead area. These types of businesses are located in the Valley below, a 30 to 60 minute drive for mountain residents. Estimates are that about 50% of the employed people who live at Arrowhead and the surrounding communities commute down the mountain on a daily basis.
Real Estate activities in the area are quite significant with membership in the Rim of the World Board of Realtors being about 350. Home construction in the area is about 200 units a year. This, along with a significant repair and remodel business generates employment for about 400.
A partial listing of retail establishments in the Arrowhead area includes 35 restaurants, a growing collection of factory outlet stores, numerous antique and gift stores and a lumberyard. There are two supermarkets, four convenience stores, five gas stations, two drug stores, and three full service banks. Thirty minutes away at the base of the mountains are two regional malls, most auto dealerships and all major warehouse, and home improvement stores.
Local Services Major Employers:
Rim of the World Schools (500)
Lake Arrowhead Resort (160)
Mountains Community Hospital (155)
Stater Brother’s Markets (95)
Jensen’s Markets (90)
Coldwell Banker Sky Ridge Realty (75)
Lake Arrowhead Fire District (70)
UCLA Conference Center (65)
Southern California Edison (35)
Southern California Gas (24)
Water activities on Lake Arrowhead include lake fishing, water skiing, sailing and two beach clubs for swimming and sunbathing. Since Lake Arrowhead is private, visitors who are not guests of property owners have limited use of the Lake. There is also a private Yacht Club on the lake. Opportunities in the nearby National Forest include hiking, stream fishing, off road and equestrian trails and camping. Alpine and cross country skiing is 20 minutes away.
In Town, there is a private country club with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming pool; a sports bar and a four-screen movie theater.
The Rim of the World Parks and Recreation District sponsors a craft and self-improvement class program as well as adult and youth sports leagues and programs. The district also provides childcare facilities.
Organized youth sports available in the area include Little League, Pop Warner Football and AYSO Soccer. For seniors there is an active Senior Center in the Twin Peaks area.
Lake Arrowhead is a private lake, which is governed by the Arrowhead Lake Association, and is for restricted use by Lake Arrowhead property owners. Lake Size 782 acres approximately (at fullest level) 14 miles Shoreline Distance 185 feet (measured at the tower) 1.5 miles 2.2 miles Water Temperature 24 to 72 with an average of 50 to 72 during the summer.
ARTS & SCIENCES
Arrowhead has numerous cultural events and organizations. The Arrowhead Arts Association has a number of jazz and classical concert presentations during the year as well as an art auction. The Rim of the World Art Council maintains an art exhibit in Lake Arrowhead Village year round featuring work by numerous local artists. There are also several active local theater groups. Wine clubs, hiking clubs, and service organizations abound.
Several times a year the Lake Arrowhead Rotary Club brings in artists from all over Southern California to showcase their work in a lakeside Art and Wine Festival. In addition almost every weekend there is a craft fair, a hike race, a 15K run, a boat show, an ice show, community dances, or some other event held for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors. Fourth of July Fireworks on the lake are a Southern California tradition.
Arrowhead is also the home of the Mountain Skies Astronomical Society, a 1,500 member organization. This group is presently designing a 1.8 million-dollar, 6,500-sq. ft. facility, which will house a premier astronomical instrument and a science education center on a three-acre site along Rim of the World Highway.
Mountains Community Hospital is an acute care medical facility located in Arrowhead which also provides a 24 hour emergency room, long term nursing care as well as home health services. 20 physicians representing a broad range of specialties serve the community along with dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists and psychologists.
Paramedic units operated by the fire department cover the entire community, which together with the hospital and air ambulance, transport to the specialized facilities of Loma Linda and St. Bernardine’s just several minutes away. This provides the area with outstanding medical services.
Principal road access to the Arrowhead area and among the Arrowhead communities is on the network of State Highways 18, 138, 173 and 189. Caltrans maintains two road maintenance facilities in the area. San Bernardino County maintains the balance of the public road network and has a maintenance facility in the area.
A fixed route bus system (MARTA) operates around Lake Arrowhead and connects to the other mountain communities of Crestline and Lake Gregory, Running Springs and Big Bear. Public transportation down the hill to San Bernardino is in the planning stages.
Ontario International Airport, 50 minutes from Lake Arrowhead, is serviced by most major domestic carriers as well as being serviced by Southwest Airlines and Aero Mexico. Currently plans are underway to convert a San Bernardino Air Force facility to an International Airport. This is just 30 minutes from the Arrowhead area.
Lake Arrowhead is an unincorporated area governed by the County of San Bernardino. A County building in Twin Peaks houses building and safety. The County also provides libraries in Blue Jay and Crestline. The California Highway Patrol has a facility in Running Springs. Fire protection and Paramedic service are provided by the Lake Arrowhead and Crest Forest Fire Districts with four full time and four volunteer stations located in the Arrowhead area. In addition, the Forest Service and California Division of Forestry provide fire protection facilities, equipment and personnel in the area.
Lake Arrowhead Communities Service District provides water and sewer to Arrowhead Woods. Water service to surrounding communities outside of Arrowhead Woods is provided by private water companies. The Rim of the World School District covers not only the Lake Arrowhead area but also the Crestline and Running Springs area.
The single high school and junior high school as well as two of the district’s five elementary schools are located in the Arrowhead area. Several Universities are located within commuter distance from the Arrowhead area in San Bernardino and in the Desert to the North.
The U.S. Postal Service maintains seven post offices in the Arrowhead area. All mail is delivered to post office boxes only.
“The Mountain News” and “Alpenhorn” are published weekly covering the mountain communities. Charter Cable provides cable television. Cellular phone service is provided by Verizon and Cingular while Verizon provides regular phone service. Natural gas is provided by Southern California Gas and electricity by Southern California Edison. Disposal Services by Burrtec. United Parcel Service, DHL, and Federal Express also service the community for delivery services.