Lake Arrowhead CC, Semi-Private, 770-479-5505
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 Lake Arrowhead California, 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 Lake Arrowhead. This new road was incredibly steep and dangerous, however, serious logging in the Lake Arrowhead Mountains began in July of 1852. The center of activity for logging in the late 1800’s was from Crestline to Little Bear Valley (later to become became “Lake Arrowhead”). By the turn of the century, most of the logging industry had spread east along the mountain tops towards the Running Springs / Green Valley 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 Stop 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.