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Summer Lake Ride: Silverwood to Arrowhead

7/01/2023 @7:45am

Kick off July 4th weekend with a heat-beating Saturday ride between two lakes in the San Bernardino Mountains. We'll depart Silverwood Lake to run Pilot Rock Trail with its stunning views and rocky terrain then disappear into the forest as we make our way to Lake Arrowhead. It's a fun ride with something to offer drivers and rigs of almost every level.

The ride we have crafted is very flexible. The first part of the day will be spent along the 11-mile stretch of rocky ridge known as Pilot Rock Trail. The beauty of this trail is that like its nearby cousin, Cleghorn Ridge, all the hard challenges are totally optional.


UPDATE: we discovered that the main trail is pretty chewed up from the storm season, so we are advising that first time off-roaders as well as any drivers with low clearance rigs (i.e Subaru) sit this one out.


The event also comes in a partial or full day commitment. Drivers will have the ability to bail onto pavement after Pilot Rock trail to make it an earlier day. The rest will continue on into the western edges of the San Bernardino National Forest and essentially circle around Lake Arrowhead to approach it from the eastern side. This side of the forest is also looking rough after the storm season. We recommend intermediate drivers and rigs only for this shorter part at the end of the day, which will also include an optional side run for advanced drivers during this part of the adventure while the rest enjoy the mountain goodness of the main trail.


SCORCHers looking to tackle hard challenges will have plenty of options to go steep and deep on the short, thrilling, and frequent offshoots along Pilot Rock Trail. Most of the challenges on Pilot Rock take place in view of the main trail, so its also a good chance for newer off-roaders to observe more experienced drivers pushing their rigs a little harder.

We'll take pauses along the way to take in the views, meet other drivers and riders, and have a lunch. Dinner and drinks in Lake Arrowhead Village overlooking the lake is also definitely on the table if enough rigs are willing to stick around when the day is done.


We are managing our RSVPs on Meetup. Come on out! Read on for more info.



This can be an fun day with a few moderate challenges or a long day full of challenges, or anything in between. The big issue on the main trail is the ruts left by the flowing water from the storm season. They are not deep but it does mean slowing down, picking a line, and flexing a bit. The easiest route is not a rollover threat, but if you do it wrong you could need to get tugged out from high-centering or struggle with low traction.

Pilot Rock Trail is at its core a usually well maintained ridge road that most of the time can be handled without needing to go into 4x4 mode.  However this time we will  encounter many ruts and uneven surfaces as well as small to medium rocks on the trail that will present some but not a ton of challenge.  There are a few narrow-ish shelves to traverse that will require a sharper attention to steering but are in no way a hazard to alert drivers. Due to some overgrowth, there is also a chance for some pinstriping.  It seems to be the kind that just washed off, but consider yourself warned.


If you are looking for some real challenges, there are 7 or so points along Pilot Rock where you can venture just a few dozen yards off the main trail onto parallel offshoots.  These can range from mildly intermediate to pretty darned hard.  None of them are longer than a mile in length (most are shorter) and all of them rejoin the main trail without needing to double back.


Some of these offshoots have a range of lines to choose from to further customize your challenge level.  This also means advanced beginners and intermediate drivers can find an off shoot or two offer a comfortable opportunity to broaden their skills and learn more about the capabilities of their rig. The type of challenges include steep climbs, low traction surfaces, off-camber rock traversing, sharp turns, and narrow clearances.

The main trail for the second part of the day, when wemove into the forest, will offer more of a challenge.  One strip of this trail is marked as black diamond but feels intermediate. Pinstriping is also more likely on this side since we are deeper in the woods. This is also typically the type of marks that wash off and do not damage the paint. Your mileage may vary.

Those of you up for a little more of a technical challenge will break off from the main trail for little adventures.   The first opportunity is for a short but steep offshoot right after we hit the second part of the ride.  Later on, an advanced group will head down the steep, narrow 2N29Y trail known as Stove Flats / Plantation OHV Road then meet up with the main group a few miles later. We are also considering taking a small group of hardcore drivers down Old Pilot Rock Trail, with a serious gatekeeper at the top of the optional offshoot and another at the end before joining back with the main trail.


We are meeting at the Silverwood Lake Pilot Rock OHV Staging Area at 7:45am to air down and be ready for an 8am drivers meeting followed immediately by our departure.  It will take a 2-3 hours to move everyone through Pilot Rock Trail to our lunch spot.  Anyone who wants to call it a day can hop on the paved 173 and make their way home.  The rest will lunch for up to an hour then move on the 3 hour or so romp through the forest. All in, the full day will wrap up around 4:30pm give or take 1-2 hours depending on factors that can't be predicted.

We'll hit pavement and air up near MacKay Park.  Those interested in keeping the day going a little longer will head over to Lake Arrowhead Village for dinner and drinks overlooking the lake.



Here are some recommended items to bring along.  We get a little kickback from Bezos if you buy any with our links.  You can also visit our store for more gear suggestions.




IMPORTANT UPDATE: We scouted the trail and the main part of the route is little more chewed up from the epic storm season than we expected. We advise against this being anyone's first time off-roading, but it will make a great chance for intermediate beginners looking for a little more adventure. We also advise against low-clearance vehicles for this ride (sorry Subaru drivers) so we're not pulling rigs out of ruts all day.

Because of the trail conditions, it took us longer than expected to progress along the trail. So we will likely stop for lunch on Pilot Rock. That could leave less time for the trails for the trails we planned for the second half of the day, after the bail out point. We are recommending that only intermediate or above drivers/rigs commit to the second part of the day, since that side is even rougher.


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The organizers of SCORCH meetups are not responsible for any damage done to your person or vehicle at the events, getting to the events, or after the events. We are a group of adults meeting up for an activity that takes a high degree of personal responsibility. All participants must do so at their own risk.


If you act like an asshat, douche, idiot, jerk, or in any way behave or operate your vehicle in a manner that is a risk or annoyance to others or does not respect the rules of the land we are on, you will be asked to leave the ride and be possibly ejected from SCORCH.






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