Big Bear to Silverwood Lake

Leaving Big Bear

Cajon Pass was about 80 miles down the trail from Big Bear. We were excited for the challenge of a longer stretch!

We left Big Bear around 10am. The owner of Wolf Creek Lodge, Frank, drove us to the trail head with his beautiful dalmatian Pepper riding shotgun. Soon into our hike, we saw our friends the section hikers. They had spent the night in Big Bear too, and one of the people from their party went home.

We climbed for a bit. The weather was pleasant, albeit a bit hot. We made it about 9 miles before setting up camp near a small stream. We struggled getting back in the rhythm of hiking after taking a zero day. Even though we didn’t make it far, I was happy to be camped alongside water. At least I thought that at the time…

Eating a snack on our climb

Is that ice?

Nick set the alarm for 4am. I woke up in the middle of the night COLD. I was in a t-shirt and sleep pants. I quickly pulled on my fleece and puffy jacket, but I was still cold. I kicked myself for leaving my beanie in my backpack, which was outside of the tent. I searched around for my socks with my headlamp and finally found them. One sock was partially under Nick’s head. When I put my socks on, I was finally warm enough to fall back asleep. The alarm went off at 4am. Neither of us wanted to get up because we were so cold. He wanted to sleep until 6 and I wanted to sleep until 5, so we settled on 530am. Miraculously I was able to fall back asleep and was awoken to Nick tapping me around 545am. It was still quite cold, so instead of getting up we sort of cuddled while still huddled in our sleeping bags. We eventually got up, and I saw that my water bottle outside of the tent was slush. It must have dropped below freezing overnight!

Nick then admitted that he was also freezing. He thought that he might have made a mistake by buying the cheap sleeping pad from Big 5, and didn’t want to admit that. Once he saw the frozen water bottle and realized that it was actually cold and that it wasn’t an issue with his pad, he told me that he barely slept due to being too cold.

The weather warmed up throughout the morning and was quite pleasant. I then encountered the strangest thing I saw on the entire trail.

A truck right in the trail!

I left a comment in FarOut: “To the owner of the white Toyota Tacoma at mm 282.8 – you left your car on the trail”.

Pretty soon after we had our first encounter with one of the Tough Old Broads, Water Sprite. She asked if we had seen the truck, and she told us that she called it in the forest service. I suppose I could’ve done that instead of leaving a silly comment in the app. We met the rest of the Tough Old Broads. They were a mother, daughter and aunt group. They ended up slack packing because the mom broke her wrist, and they were doing what they could to keep on hiking. I learned that the daughter, Dulce, also was blogging for the Trek (here’s a link to her blog page).

Deep Gratitude for Deep Creek Hot Springs

We set up our camp on a ridge that night. At 330am, we woke up to intense winds. I was afraid the tent was going to break, so we got up. I hadn’t slept well the previous night. I had started worrying about my sleeping pad popping just like Nick’s had. While we were packing up, we saw Starlink in the sky. We had no idea what it was and no cell phone reception, so we joked that is was going to hit earth and the world would end.

We had an ambitious goal for the day. We needed to hike 18 miles to make it to Deep Creek Hot Springs. Much of the hike was relatively dull. We returned back to the desert from the trees, and we saw some pretty flora along the way.

A beautiful flower

We took our break at a wonderful stream. Shortly after our break, we passed the 300 mile marker! The miles were starting to come quicker to us. It took a long time and felt like a huge achievement to reach the 100 mile marker. 200 felt great as well and came little quicker. 300 snuck up on us.

Taking a break at a beautiful stream under Deep Creek Bridge

300 miles down!

We arrived to the hot springs around 6pm. There were around 25 people there and three tents, despite the “no camping” signs. We picked a campsite and then jumped right in. It was so nice for my aching feet. The water was surprisingly hot!

There were a mix of locals and hikers at the springs. We chatted up a girl in dreads who spent her time living on a sailboat. This other dude gave us a tour of the hot springs and showed us these four cascading pools and where we could jump in off a ledge. We met this man who was straight out an 80s action movie. He told us a story of a Japanese guy who almost set fire to the entire hillside while cooking dinner, and how he organized everyone at the hot springs to put the fire out. He used the words “hot chicks” in his story.

Motivated to make it to the hot springs before dark

Deep Creek Hot Springs

We left the hot springs early the next morning. We were thirsty because I didn’t want to drink the water at the hot springs. There is supposedly a brain eating amoeba that lives in the water that can kill you. It’s super rare, and I was likely being overly cautious, but I refused to drink water.

The first water source we got to was really difficult to reach. Nick climbed down a steep slope and collected and filtered water for us. Thank you, Nick <3

We then passed a dam and then needed to cross Deep Creek. The water was calm but went up to my belly button. I undid the clips on my pack and carried it above my head.

Deep Creek is true to its name

The next day we made it to Silverwood Lake. It was picturesque.

Road walking near the Mojave power plant. I wish I could tell you the name of the snow covered mountain the background, but I have no clue. This is mm 324.4 if someone wants to comment and tell me!

Approaching Silverwood Lake

We took our lunch break at Cleghorn Picnic Area right on the beach. When we got there we didn’t see any cars, but gradually people starting rolling in. It was surprisingly busy for a weekday. We took advantage of the bathroom, water spigot, and lovely shaded picnic area. I also went for a short swim in the lake.

I love a good picnic table

We eventually had to say goodbye to this gem and get on our way to camp. We encountered a friend along the way. Nick wanted to pass it. He said that it had a small head and wouldn’t be dangerous. I wanted to wait for it to move before we passed. Nick threw a few rocks nearby it to attempt to get it to move.

Waiting for our new friend to move on

Friend or foe? Could someone ID this guy and let me know in the comments?

Looking good in my sun flaps

We hiked into the evening and set up camp about 10 miles outside of Cajon Pass. We were excited to go to famous McDonald’s the next day!


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 3

  • Dulce Wassil : Nov 5th

    Well hello again! My aunt said you were back to blogging! Lol, have one in mind to write, just finding time is a little challenging right now…

    The snow covered mountain in the distance is Mt. San Atonio. We all hiked past it on our way up to Baden Powell.

    Not a thousand percent certain because of the angle on the pic, but that looks like a gopher snake. They are not venomous! They have a similar appearance to a rattle snake, and can even coil themselves up and make a “rattle” type noise if absolutely threatened, but usually they just cruise along. They do have a narrower head than a rattle snake (who has a triangular shaped head). They also have no rattles on their tails, but, as rattle snake can lose their rattles, I would not rely on this for identification. The thing that’s easiest for me to spot is they have squares on their backs, not diamonds. Though, tbf, it almost always takes me a second look, as the first one is typically just for “crap! Snake!”. 🤣

  • Femi : Nov 9th

    I enjoyed reading about your hiking adventure from Big Bear to Silverwood Lake. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the unexpected turn of events, especially the freezing-cold night, frozen water bottle and the mysterious white Toyota Tacoma left on the trail!

    The camaraderie with fellow hikers and the anecdotes you shared about the Tough Old Broads and your interaction with the “hot chicks” action-hero-like figure at the hot springs is also fun. It’s heartwarming to see how the hiking community looks out for one another, whether it’s reporting a misplaced truck or helping each other out in challenging situations.

    I look forward to reading more about your adventures and insights in the future. Happy hiking!

  • Jeff Greene : Nov 16th

    Definitely a non-venomous, mostly cool (but don’t pick them up, as they get less chill quickly) gopher snake. Enjoying your progress, as a SoCal hiker who recently stayed at Mt Laguna, has eaten at Paradise Valley Cafe, stays regularly in Idyllwild and Big Bear, and also hiked down to Deep Creek Hot Springs. Quite a scene!


What Do You Think?