Did you know that in 1826 a fur trader was the first white man to see Little Bear Valley? He was a partner to Jedediah Smith. The lowlands of San Bernardino needed water, so in the early 1890’s Little Bear Valley was chosen as the place for a reservoir.
Little Bear Valley is now known as Lake Arrowhead, a beautiful pristine pine studded valley with a beautiful glistening lake that sits at 5100 feet above sea level in the San Bernardino mountain range.
At the time, a combative tribe of approximately forty Paiute Indians used the area for hunting. One of them set fire to a trapper’s cabin which caused a battle to begin between the white men and the Paiutes. Many of the Indians were killed.
Nearby in Little Bear Valley, a more serene tribe of Indians lived. They were the Serranos. This tribe lived in the desert highlands in the winter and hunted in the mountainous valley in the spring and summer. They often visited the Arrowhead Hot Springs for its therapeutic and rejuvenative qualities.
Little Bear Valley became popular for cattle ranching, logging, and lumber, and several lumber mills were constructed. The “Mormon Road was built in 1852, and other roads followed allowing for the easy removal of the cut lumber.
Summer months were alive and they bustled with people and activities; however, few families stayed through the winter months. It was not uncommon for people to travel by snow shoe, often many miles, to spend time with neighboring families.
Follow us while we explore the history of this lovely mountain village.