Lake Arrowhead, California

Lake Arrowhead is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) in the San Bernardino Mountains of San Bernardino County, California, surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, and surrounding the Lake Arrowhead Reservoir. Lake Arrowhead consists of 6 communities including Lake Arrowhead, Twin Peaks, Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Skyforest, and Rimforest. The population of the CDP was estimated at 12,424 in the 2010 census. It was formerly called "Little Bear Lake", until around 1920, when a group from Los Angeles, the Arrowhead Lake Company, bought the lake and the land surrounding it, and changed its name to Arrowhead Lake.

Lake Arrowhead
Location in San Bernardino County and the state of California
Lake Arrowhead
Location in the United States
Lake Arrowhead
Lake Arrowhead (California)
Coordinates: 34°14′54″N 117°11′21″W[1]
Country United States
State California
County San Bernardino
  Total18.951 sq mi (49.082 km2)
  Land17.727 sq mi (45.913 km2)
  Water1.224 sq mi (3.170 km2)  6.46%
Elevation5,174 ft (1,577 m)
  Density660/sq mi (250/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code909
FIPS code06-39444
GNIS feature IDs1652738, 2408532

Tourism is the primary economic generator for the area, contributing several million dollars per year to the county and providing 600 full-time and 700 part-time jobs for local residents. The area is host to over 4 million visitors a year. There are 400 guest rooms in hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts, vacation cabin rentals, condos, and rustic cabin lodges and resorts. The Lake Arrowhead community is home to the Lake Arrowhead Country Club[3] and Golf Course, Lake Arrowhed Yacht Club, and SkyPark at Santa's Village. The area is also popular for business conferences.


As a scenic mountain resort in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead's economy is almost completely supported by tourism, both by casual vacationers and part-time residents. The primary tourism industries include real estate, lodging, dining, recreation, and retail sales.

While Lake Arrowhead has no official town center, the Lake Arrowhead Village serves as the main commercial area for both locals and tourists and includes a number of factory outlets, boutiques, restaurants, two banks, post office and a supermarket. Lake Arrowhead Village also hosts events all year long including a free Summer Concert Series, the county's largest free Oktoberfest and many other themed events such as car shows, dog shows, the Tour de Lake Arrowhead, Home Expo, and the popular Antique Wooden Boat Show.

The University of California, Los Angeles operates the nearby UCLA Conference Center, a full-service conference facility with lodging and meeting space. Other major employers include Mountains Community Hospital, Rim of the World Unified School District, and Above It All Treatment Center.[4]

Logging in the San Bernardino Mountains was once done on a large scale, with the Brookings Lumber Company operation one of the largest. It operated on 8,000 acres (32 km2) between Fredalba and Hunsaker Flats (present-day Running Springs), between 1899 and 1912. It built a logging railroad to bring logs to the mill at Fredalba. The Shay locomotives had to be disassembled and hauled by wagon up the mountain, since the railroad operated in the high country but did not connect to other railroads in lowlands. Finished lumber was hauled by wagon down the steep grades to the Molino Box Factory in Highland, California.[5][6][7][8]


Lake Arrowhead is located in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, about 20–30 minutes north of San Bernardino. Its economic center is at the intersection of State Routes 173 and 189. The CDP has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49.1 km²), of which 17.7 square miles (45.9 km²) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km²; 6.46%) is water.

Lake Arrowhead is a private lake governed by the Arrowhead Lake Association, and is for restricted use by Lake Arrowhead property owners.

Lake size: 782 acres (3.16 km2) (capacity)
Shoreline: 14 miles (23 km)
Elevation: 5108 (capacity)
Maximum depth: 185 feet (56 m)
Lake width: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Lake length: 2.2 miles[9]

Outside of Lake Arrowhead Village there are several residential communities, which include Cedar Glen, Blue Jay, Rimforest, Skyforest, Twin Peaks, Crest Park, Hook Creek Tract, Deer Lodge Park, and Agua Fria. There are three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in the area.[10] Seven miles north of Lake Arrowhead is the Pacific Crest Trail.

Santa's Village at Lake Arrowhead was a popular theme park from 1955 to 1998, and reopened in 2016. It was the first franchised one in the United States, with two others in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Ohio.[11][12]



The 2010 United States Census[13] reported that Lake Arrowhead had a population of 12,424. The population density was 655.6 people per square mile (253.1/km²). The racial makeup of Lake Arrowhead was 10,729 (86.4%) White (73.0% Non-Hispanic White),[14] 95 (0.8%) African American, 93 (0.7%) Native American, 152 (1.2%) Asian, 33 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 847 (6.8%) from other races, and 475 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,709 persons (21.8%).

The Census reported that 12,389 people (99.7% of the population) lived in households, 16 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 19 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,672 households, out of which 1,563 (33.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,746 (58.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 413 (8.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 258 (5.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 217 (4.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 64 (1.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 984 households (21.1%) were made up of individuals and 358 (7.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65. There were 3,417 families (73.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.07.

The population was spread out with 3,043 people (24.5%) under the age of 18, 968 people (7.8%) aged 18 to 24, 2,571 people (20.7%) aged 25 to 44, 4,104 people (33.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,738 people (14.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.4 males.

There were 11,875 housing units at an average density of 626.6 per square mile (241.9/km²), of which 3,428 (73.4%) were owner-occupied, and 1,244 (26.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 7.9%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.4%. 8,647 people (69.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 3,742 people (30.1%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Lake Arrowhead had a median household income of $57,672, with 11.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[14]


As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 8,934 people, 3,243 households, and 2,445 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 780.4 inhabitants per square mile (301.3/km²). There were 8,857 housing units at an average density of 773.7 per square mile (298.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.5% White, 0.6% African American, 0.9% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.6% of the population.

There were 3,243 households, of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. Of all households 18.7% were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.8 and the average family size was 3.2.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 28.9% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 28.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $60,826, and the median income for a family was $65,183. Males had a median income of $50,016 versus $35,526 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $28,176. About 7.3% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.


In the California State Legislature, Lake Arrowhead is in the 23rd Senate District, represented by Republican Mike Morrell, and in the 33rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Jay Obernolte.[16]

In the United States House of Representatives, Lake Arrowhead is in California's 8th congressional district, represented by Republican Paul Cook.[17] In the Senate, California is represented by Kamala Harris (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D).[18]


The Lake Arrowhead Community has a unique climate for Southern California with four distinct seasons which support an array of outdoor recreational activity and year-round beauty. Lake Arrowhead has a Warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb). During the summer, warm temperatures and monsoon thunderstorms are common. During the winter months, large pacific storms bring plenty of snow. The area receives about 300 annual days of sunshine per year. Beginning in late 2011, a catastrophic drought began affecting Lake Arrowhead along with the rest of California. By November 2016, the lake level dropped 11 feet 10 inches. This drop exposed much of the lake floor and beached most of the docks.[19] As of February 2019, the lake has rebounded to just 2 feet below the historical average.

Climate data for Lake Arrowhead, California (1981–2010; extremes since 1909)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71
Average high °F (°C) 45.5
Average low °F (°C) 29.4
Record low °F (°C) 6.0
Average rainfall inches (mm) 8.58
Average precipitation days 9.2 10.1 7.7 5.5 3.6 1.5 1.6 2.0 2.4 4.2 5.8 7.5 61.2
Source: Intellicast[20]

Lake Arrowhead has appeared in a variety of movies, including The Squaw Man (1914), The High Land (1926), The Wolf Dog (1933), Fighting Trooper (1934), Down in 'Arkansaw' (1938), Spawn of the North (1938), North of the Yukon (1939), Comin' Round The Mountain (1940), Untamed (1940), The Royal Mounted Patrol (1941), Wild Geese Calling (1941), North of the Rockies (1942), Can't Help Singing (1943), The Yearling (1946), Sand (1949), The Great Race (1965), Heidi (1937) and Of Human Hearts (1938).[21]

Of special note, the exterior shots for the movie Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) were filmed here featuring actors George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, and Margaret Livingston and directed by F. W. Murnau, a German director who was one of the leading figures in German Expressionism.[22] The film won three Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Cinematography, and Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Picture at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.[22]

Arts and sciences

The Lake Arrowhead Communities have numerous cultural events and organizations. The Arrowhead Arts Association is a non-profit corporation dedicated to cultural enrichment sponsoring quality musical performances and providing musical education and scholarships for local youth from preschool through college. The Mountain Skies Astronomical Society is also located there.


Located approximately 80 miles from downtown Los Angeles, many Hollywood stars and wealthy Angelinos built homes in the area starting in the 1920s and 30s.[23] These homes and estates were designed by some of the most significant architects practicing in Southern California at the time. These architects included:

In the early years of development, the architectural committee of the resort community mandated that homes be built in the French Norman or English Tudor Style. Rudolf Schindler, a modernist architect, designed what is known as the first modern A-frame house in 1936 for Gisela Bennati, as his interpretation of French Norman style architecture. The first known sketches for the Bennati Cabin date from 1934.[26] Schindler did sketches for "triangle-based house designs" as early as 1922, but none of those designs were built.[27] Lake Arrowhead is also home to what has been sometimes referred to as the world’s largest A-frame structure, the clubhouse of the Lake Arrowhead Country Club.

The following is a list of people who have owned or built homes in Lake Arrowhead: John O'Melveny, J.B. Van Nuys[28] (one of the developers of Lake Arrowhead and son of Issac Newton Van Nuys, founder of Van Nuys, CA), Rhoda Rindge & Merritt Adamson[29] (founders of Malibu, CA), John Northrop, Katherine Iten[30] (Iten Biscuit Company/NABISCO),[31] Edward L. Doheny, Jules Stein, Conrad "Nicky" Hilton, Jr., Dan Dureya, Max Factor, Thomas F. Hamilton, Prince Massianoff, Leo McCarey, Charlie Chaplin, Myrna Loy, Ruth Hussey, Shirley Temple, Lon Chaney, Doris Day, June Lockhart, Walter Huston, Robert Taylor, Loretta Young, Liberace, Brian Wilson, Priscilla Presley and Frankie Avalon to name a few.

Notable people

  • Ray Clark, President of the John Birch Society
  • Tom Storey (journalist), Los Angeles radio and TV broadcaster
  • Matthew Schwartz, member of the band Cold War Kids


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  2. "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
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  5. "Photo Gallery - Golden Spike National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)". 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
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  8. "Big Bear History". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  9. "Listing of Dams". California Department of Water Resources, Division of Dam Safety. Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
  10. "Rim of the World Unified School District". 2011. Last accessed 28 Mar 2011.
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  12. "Santas Village History". Retrieved 2010-05-21.
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  15. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  17. "California's 8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  18. "Senators of the 111th Congress". 30 Jan 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
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  20. "Lake Arrowhead Historical Average". Intellicast. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
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  22. IMDB
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  24. "PCAD - McNeal Swasey". Retrieved 2019-05-26.
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  26. "PCAD - Bennati, Mrs. A. Gisela, House Lake Arrowhead, CA". Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  27. "USModernist Rudolf Schindler". Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  28. Bilanchone, Catherine M., "Van Nuys, Isaac Newton (1835–1912)", Encyclopedia of Immigration and Migration in the American West, SAGE Publications, Inc., ISBN 9781412905503, retrieved 2019-05-26
  29. "Welcome to Adamson House". Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  30. Communications, Emmis (January 1982). Orange Coast Magazine. Emmis Communications.
  31. Sasse, Adam Fletcher (2018-11-28). "A History of the Iten-Barmettler Biscuit Company". North Omaha History. Retrieved 2019-05-26.
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