Trip Report and Guide – San Bernardino National Forest Coon Creek and 1N30 June 2018
30 second review: We were scoping out potential yellow post camp sites and found plenty of awesome spots. The main road ends at Coon Creek Jump Off and a Cabin for PCT hikers. At this point 1N30 begins which is a fun trail with some great views that’s not too difficult or too long.
Fees: It’s free! Access to Coon Creek Jump Off is through Heart Bar Campground in San Bernardino National Forest which can be reserved here. That being said there are plenty of free yellow post sites in this area and all are clearly marked and obvious when heading toward Coon Creek Jump Off. You can also camp at any unmarked locations as long as they are far enough off the main road (regular National Forest rules). The benefit of the yellow post site being they come with a fire ring, a picnic table, and have been deemed a low risk fire location.
Amenities: Heart Bar Campground has water and bathrooms, but otherwise you’re on your own. Big Bear is pretty close too if you need anything else.
Offroad Difficulty: This trail has definitely grown in quite a bit so expect to get some pin striping. There are a couple tight fits and turns too, so anything much bigger than a mid-size truck probably won’t make it. Finally, I found a couple dead ends where the road had washed out, and one where a tree had fallen into the road. The obstacles are close to the forks so it isn’t much of a hassle to go back track. Essentially you’re not going to get lost – just go the other direction if you run into a block in the road.
Is Coon Creek and 1N30 Good For Kids? Ava had a great time off roading and the trail was short enough and close enough to civilization that it’s perfect for kids. There’s also plenty of camping nearby to make a day out of the trip.
Maps: Begin at Heart Bar Campground then continue on to the yellow post sites toward the left once at the back of the campground. The road eventually becomes a graded dirt road and you will arrive at the Coon Creek Cabin. There’s some exploring to be done at the jump off point, then the start of 1N30 is the trail directly behind the cabin. Follow the trail and after a few forks and dead ends you’ll make your way back to the main road. Make a left to go back to Heart Bar Campground, or go right to go toward Big Bear.
The Trip: We started off in a thick marine layer at the base of the mountain but then finally broke through the clouds around 4,000 feet. Then it was all blue skies for the rest of the day. The original plan for the trip was just to scope out the yellow post sites near Heart Bar Campground. It turns out there’s plenty and they’re all really obvious once you get to the campground.
The view from Coon Creek Jump Off is awesome, you can see all the way to the next mountain range, and the desert in between. The trail also crosses the PCT at this point, so we decided to walk a bit of it with Ava and let her wander a bit.
This was also the perfect spot to set up for lunch so using the ARB Awning we had shade in a couple minutes.
While we were eating lunch I noticed a few overland rigs circling around on a trail behind the cabin, so using my GAIA GPS app I was able to find out there was a trail. Conveniently, 1N30 drops you off right on Highway 38 so I decided to investigate the trail.
The trail was easy enough with just a couple of climbs and small rocks to clear. The hardest parts of the trail were some of the tight squeezes from some rock slides and
I thought this was a great trail if you’re in the area, or you just really need to scratch an off-roading itch without having much fear of damaging your truck. The yellow post sites are all really nice too so if you’re in the area and need to camp I highly recommend it. We were there Memorial Day weekend and there were still a couple of sites so I wouldn’t imagine this fill up the rest of the year.