John Bull Trail 3N10

The John Bull Trail 3N10 has the solid reputation as one of the toughest and most challenging trails in the Big Bear mountains of San Bernardino County.   This trail should only be done with in a group of well-equipped short-wheelbase vehicles. Lockers are recommended, but not always required. The entire trail is strewn with boulders of various sizes. There are also a number of sharp drop-offs along the way. Be prepared for scratches, dings and flat tires. This trail is not for stock SUV’s.

The trail is part of the “Adopt a Trail” program through the National Forest Service, and has been adopted by the So Cal Broncos (east end) and the Waywegos 4 Wheel Drive Club (west end).

Running the trail west to east is somewhat easier, there is a campground at the western starting point. Most off-roaders prefer to start at the east end of the trail. The official start point is off of the Burnt Flats Trail (3N02), although many catch it at the end of 3N32.

Around April/May 2009 the ends of the John Bull Trail 3N10 has had more boulders pushed in to make more difficult “gateways”, which prevent under-equipped 4x4s from running the trail.

John Bull Trailmap

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)

The Giant Red Indian Paintbrush or Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) is a wildflower and perennial which is quite common in the western United States, including California, Nevada and Utah. The genus Castilleja contains about 200 species of hemiparasitic wildlowers.

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)

The plant is known to grow between 1.5 and 3 feet tall and their stems may be unbranded of semi-branched. The flower cluster of the plant is said to resemble a paintbrush which gives the plant its common name. The bracts beneath the flower are known to be brightly colored and may be a bright orange, pink or a crimson red. Typically the paint brush will bloom May through Sepetember, however this event is subject to environmental conditions such as altitude and water availability.

The paint brush generally prefers sunlight and moist well drained soils. The root system will connect with and grow into the root system of other planets to harvest nutrients from the host plant. For this reason, they are no able to be transplanted easily.

Native American tribes are known to consume the edible flowers of the paintbrush. The selenium rich flowers were also used as a hair wash by the Ojibwe people. The Owls Clover is a member of the same genus as the Indian Paintbrush.

Wikipedia article of Castilleja.

Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) in Big Bear, California
Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) in Big Bear, California

The Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) is a rather rare and unique member of the plant community. The scientific name roughly translates to “the bloody flesh-like thing” and named by John Torrey, who was a 19th century botanist. The name is easily understood when walking through a snowy section of mountains and you happen across a bright red plant.

This solitary little plant is completely red is color due to its complete lack of chlorophyll. Unable to photosynthesize, this plant derives its nutrition from a mutual-ism between the plant and a fungus. The snow plant provides fixed carbon to the fungus, and in return, the plant leaches sugars from the fungus.

The red flowered plant typically appears just before the last of the snows of winter. The above ground stalk typically does not exceed 12 inches in height. The plant is typically founded in the conifer forests of California, Oregon and parts of western Nevada. The plants are essentially parasites to the conifers and as such, typically found close to them.

The flowers of the snow plant are typically tightly packed around the singular stalk and evenly spaced. The plant is typically bright red in color and the fruit is pinkish red.

California Wild Rose (Rosa californica)

California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) found around Convict Lake, California
California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) found around Convict Lake, California

The California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) is a native species of Rose, which is found in California and Oregon and most commonly found in the foot hills of the High Sierra Mountain Range. This is a hearty little planet which can survive the droughts of California, and typically found near water sources.

This plant can be found at elevations up to 6,000 feet. It seeks shady areas at lower elevations but as the altitude increases so does the likelihood to find this little plant in sunny areas.

The California Wild Rose is a low lying shrub which can grow in tall thickets. The plant produces a fragrant pink or magenta colored five petaled flowers with yellow stamen. The delicate looking flower is edible and the hibs of the plant may be used in teas. During WWII, the hips were used as a source of vitamins.

The wild rose is one of the few flowers that blooms cheerfully through the long summer days, lavishing its beautiful clusters of deliciously fragrant flowers as freely along the dusty roadside as in the more secluded thicket. In autumn it often seems inspired to a special luxuriance of blossoming, and it lingers to greet the asters and mingle its pink flowers and brilliant scarlet hips with their delicate lilacs.

Mary Elizabeth Parsons

Like many roses, the wild rose also grows throws for protection for itself, along with shelter for many smaller mammals and birds.

Sugarpine Mountain

Sugarpine Mountain trail is moderately difficult and starts at the edge of San Bernardino and finishes is the Silverlake State Park.  The trail is designated for street legal vehicles only.  Trail passes through a variety of chaparral and forest vegetation. High-clearance 4WD is recommended but any high-clearance vehicle is acceptable.

Sugarpine Mountain Trailmap