San Bernardino Travel Guide

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Entrance to tasting room

Entrance to tasting room

Anon E. Mouse

Located in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains directly above the City of San Bernardino, the arrowhead landmark can be seen for miles around. This important landmark has for centuries been a symbol of the San Bernardino Valley to the Native Indians and then to the pioneers and settlers that followed. It is believed to be a natural landmark. The face of the arrowhead consists of light quartz, supporting a growth of short white sage. This lighter vegetation shows in sharp contrast to the surrounding chaparral and greasewood. Indians who inhabited the San Bernardino Valley believed that the arrowhead pointed the way to the hot mineral springs below, with healing qualities, and thus considered it holy ground. Through the years, numerous forest fires have caused some erosion. But the arrowhead landmark continues to preserve its uniqueness and remains a symbol of the 'pioneer spirit' of the San Bernardino Valley. In 1810, the landmark reminded Father Francisco Dumetz of  Saint Bernardino, an Italian priest born in 1382 and named the valley after him.

The city of San Bernardino was formed by a group of nearly 500 men, women, and children who left Utah in 150 wagons led by apostles Amasa Lyman and Charles Rich. They arrived near present-day Devore in the Cajon Pass early in June. There is an unusual formation of rocks called the Mormon Rocks that commemorates this arrival. The official name for this formation is Rock Candy Mountains but no one will know what you are talking about. The Mormon missionaries had been given permission by Brigham Young to find a way across the Mojave Desert to the San Bernardino Valley .   The next February, they purchased the San Bernardino Rancho from the Lugos and set aside an area for a town - San Bernardino was born. San Bernardino as an official Mormon settlement lasted only 5 years - in 1857, Brigham Young recalled the colonists, and many returned.  The vacuum that was created by so many leaving so quickly was soon filled by opportunists of all kinds - San Bernardino found a reputation as a tough town.

The mountains above the city of San Bernardino have many things for a visitor or native to do. In the winter, there is skiing and snowboarding at ski resorts in Wrightwood, Running Springs and Big Bear. There are many mountain lakes for fishing.

Silverwood Lake was formed by the 249-foot Cedar Springs Dam. At 3,350 feet, it is the highest reservoir in the State Water Project. The park features hiking trails, swimming beaches and designated areas for boating, water-skiing and fishing. The lake has trout, large-mouth bass, catfish and bluegill. There is a marina with a launching ramp, boat and equipment rentals, and a store. The park has picnic areas, including three that can only be reached by boat. The lake attracts waterfowl, raptors and songbirds. Canadian Geese and an occasional bald eagle can be seen in the area.

Big Bear Valley was first occupied by the Serrano Indians approximately 3,000 years ago. In 1845, while in pursuit of Indians, Benjamin D. Wilson discovered and named Bear Valley because "the place was alive with bears!" and some of them were BIG. In 1860 William Holcomb was hunting one of those bears and discovered gold instead! What followed was Southern California 's largest gold rush. There are several abandoned mines in the area, a famous one is the Lucky Baldwin mine. Be wary of finding scruffy characters who might challenge yoru presence in some areas. There are some who are still searching for the “mother lode.”

Big Bear's first dam was completed in 1884 and was followed by the Valley's first hotel in 1888. In 1949 the first ski resort opened and Big Bear Lake soon became Southern California 's favorite mountain getaway. Hollywood also has a history in Big Bear. Since the filming of "The Call of the North" in 1914, so many motion pictures have been shot in Big Bear Valley that it has been called " Hollywood 's back lot." The only movie where Clint Eastwood sings, “Paint Your Wagon,” was shot here. It was a duet with Lee Marvin and proves why they never had a career in singing. There have been countless others made here as well.

Near Big Bear is the entrance to the hike to the top of Mount San Gorgonio, also called Greyback because of its coloration. This is the highest point in Southern California at 11,449 feet elevation. There are 11 other peaks in the same range over 10,000 feet elevations. The San Gorgonio Wilderness covers 58,969 acres and contains two small lakes, meadows, streams, 100 miles of trail, densely forested northern slopes, and rugged terrain. A Wilderness Permit is required to hike. 

There is fishing at many lakes maintained by the City and County of San Bernardino. Most are stocked with Rainbow Trout in the winter months and catfish in the summertime. The latest information on the regional parks can be found at County Parks

Lower elevations, too, can offer high-level entertainment. More than 280 acres of parks, lakes, and recreation areas are within the city limits of San Bernardino . Let your youngsters experiment with hands-on exhibits at A Special Place Children's Museum. Spend an evening listening to music by the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera Company at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts or appreciating world-class entertainment at the Glen Helen Hyundai Pavilion. There are student productions at a nominal cost at California State University, San Bernardino. The San Bernardino Symphony plays at the California Theater. The conductor is Carlo Ponti Jr. His mother, Sophia Loren, regularly attends the opening nights.

If you love cars, don't miss the Route 66 Rendezvous Festival, a three-day event in September that draws 160,000 automotive-nostalgia buffs who cruise the highway in their "rods." There are many events within the Route 66 celebration. The limit on entries is vehicles 1900-1973, any year Corvette, Viper or Prowler and the total is 2448, one for each mile of old Highway 66.

Drive to Redlands to see the Marmalade Mansions, 300 restored Victorian-era homes built by early residents who became wealthy in the citrus industry. On your way, stop at the San Bernardino County Museum to learn about regional archaeology, geology, history, and art. Established as an adjunct to Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the Asistencia is often said to be part of a second, inland chain of missions.

The nearby communities of Yucaipa, Oak Glen, and Cherry Valley comprise the region's apple-orchard country. You'll find farms that invite you to pick your own fruit, sip cider or specialty wines, enjoy folk entertainment, and take a hayride.

For the shoppers there is the Ontario Mills Mall and outlet malls near Barstow and Cabazon.

Gamblers can play at the San Manuel Casino as well as the Morongo Casino. The Morongo Casino is on the way to Palm Springs and is near the outlet malls. The famous Hadley Fruit Orchard store is nearby as well where you can get a one-of-a-kind Date Shake.

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December 06, 2005 change by handyman321

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