A History of Lake Arrowhead

Go the extra mile.

Situated at an elevation of more than 5,200 feet is a beautiful alpine wilderness is the resort area of Lake Arrowhead, a striking destination for visitors and residents, alike. The Lake Arrowhead area consists of several communities including Lake Arrowhead, Twin Peaks, Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Sky Forest, and Rim Forest, all of which have a combined total of more than 12,000 residents.

Let’s explore the history of this vibrant mountain community.

Early History

Groups of Paiute and Serrano Native Americans lived in the area in earlier times. The first white settlers in the Lake Arrowhead fur traders in 1826 who engaged in fighting with the Paiute tribe in Little Bear Valley (the area that became Lake Arrowhead).

During the 1860s, more visitors came to the area, attracted by the potential to log as well as raise cattle. The first road was built in 1852, with additional routes created in subsequent decades. During this time, visitors typically came in summer, when the roads were clear. This was due, in part, to the fact that the vehicles they traveled in at the time did not have fuel injection. So the only way to make sure gas was still getting to the engine was to drive up the 23-mile hill in reverse!Front view of classic car. Old style. Black and white.

Despite the difficulty in reaching the location, the area grew. Eventually, in 1893, the Arrowhead Reservoir Company overcame construction delays and built a reservoir in Little Bear Valley.

20th Century

In 1905, the completed dam was 200 feet tall and more than 1,100 feet wide at the bottom, and slowly began to fill from collected runoff. In the 1910s, further work was done on the dam, including the construction of more than six miles of water-carrying tunnels.

DropThe Arrowhead Lake Company bought Little Bear Valley and the land, and shifted the lake’s purpose from an irrigation source to a recreation destination. With the dam’s completion in early 1922, the company built a central village on the northern lake shore. This village included a restaurant, dance area, movie theater and several hotels. The lake and natural beauty of the area attracted early Hollywood interest, and was showcased in films including the The Romance Of The Bar O in 1911, the The Courtship of Miles Standish in 1923, and in later years, A Swingin’ Summer starring Raquel Welch.

Ownership of the lake and land changed hands again in 1946 when the owners of Santa Anita Race Track in Monrovia (Los Angeles Turf Club) took control. The company improved many lakeside properties and donated land to a variety of scout groups and churches. Fourteen years later, the lake was sold again — this time to the Lake Arrowhead Development Company. This firm built residential tracts and created an 18-hole golf course now operated by the Lake Arrowhead Country Club.Lake Arrowhead Country Club

New owners, led by investor George Coult, bought the village in 1979, and a group did a “burn to learn” initiative that destroyed the original village buildings, but spared the dance pavilion and a few other structures. The new village was then constructed, with a shopping center, restaurants, and the capacity for lake tours with a 60-seat paddle wheel boat.

The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa (originally the Arrowhead Hilton Lodge) opened in 1982, ushering in a new era for the resort community as a prime tourist destination. Modern Lake Arrowhead still retains the wilderness and charms of the past while offering visitors modern conveniences and a plethora of fun activities.

Wooden House Building

Whether you’re looking to spend two nights of luxury with 20 of your closest friends with a gourmet kitchen or would prefer to stay in a modest cabin for several days, weeks or months, consider Arrowhead Property Rental in Lake Arrowhead, California. We offer lodging to fit all tastes and budgets – for individuals, couples, families and groups — all at great prices, with unbelievable amenities. Check out the possibilities. Don’t delay. Book today.

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