Visiting an arboretum to go forest bathing is like going to a spa for a massage—it makes perfect sense! Though small in acreage, Heaps Peak Arboretum in Skyforest has a stellar collection of massive trees that include giant sequoias. Yes, you read that right—Sequoia and Yosemite don’t have a monopoly on big trees!
Nestled at over 6,000 feet in the San Bernardino National Forest, the mountainous botanical collection is also home to impressive specimens of incense cedar, black oak, white fir, and sugar pine. A 1-mile loop trail, aptly named Sequoia Trail, leads through the arboreal wonders. Grab an interpretive brochure and head left on the marked path behind the booth, reaching your first educational signs, including one pointing out a massive Coulter pine with its huge cones—largest in the world.
If you’re pining for more, don’t fret. More coming, as you pass over Joe’s Creek on a footbridge. Shortly after, at the 0.5-mile mark, you’ll reach a junction. Take the brief spur trail left to check out a natural seep called Horseshoe Springs. Continue on, passing Jeffrey pines before you reach the tree-de-force, the Ann Henck Stewart Memorial grove of giant sequoias, planted in the 1930s. Though smaller than their northern counterparts, they’re worthy of a long session of basking in their glory.
When you’re ready, continue back to the park entrance, where you’ll find a bonus: paved Footprint Trail, which meanders among pressed concrete tracks of native animals, as well as meadow gardens and a charming gazebo. Our wish for you as you return: May the forest be with you!
Heaps Peak Arboretum is operated by the Rim of the World Interpretive Association. Admission is free. It is open from dawn to dusk daily (Adventure Pass required to park). Take the 210 Freeway to CA-330 north. After 13 miles, turn left onto Live Oak Dr., followed by a left onto CA-18. The arboretum and parking lot will be on your right in 3 miles. Dog-friendly!