Lake Arrowhead, California, USA

Also known as:  Little Bear Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Arrowhead — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Arrowhead cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Arrowhead

In 1891 a group of Ohio businessmen formed a company to construct a reservoir to provide water to irrigate the southern California lowlands. Lake Arrowhead, the resulting reservoir, is much more than simply a source of water. The self proclaimed “Jewel of Southern California” nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains has a rich history and a charming town to explore.

The Arrowhead Reservoir Company, under the presidency of James Morris Gamble of Proctor and Gamble, began construction on a dam on the East end of Little Bear Valley. In 1905 the property came under the control of the Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Company. The semi-hydraulic earth-filled dam was under construction from 1895 through 1915. By 1911, Lake Arrowhead, then known as Little Bear Lake, had filled enough to attract campers and anglers. The lake continued to fill until 1923, but by then it was under the control of the Arrowhead Lake Company. A court order prohibiting the use of water outside the natural watershed ended the Arrowhead Reservoir and Power Company. The Arrowhead Lake Company changed the name of the lake to Lake Arrowhead and named the lakeside development Arrowhead Woods for a natural rock formation on the face of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Today the lake is privately owned and operated by the Arrowhead Lake Association. There is no public access to the lake. Only Arrowhead Woods property owners and their guests are allowed on or in the water. Most of the development around Lake Arrowhead is residential, and about 53 percent of the population is made up of full time residents. Visitor accommodations range from cabins to hotels, motels, and condos. There is a campground nearby with restrooms, showers and RV hookups. There are also several charming bed and breakfasts with a view of the water.

Recreational opportunities on Lake Arrowhead include fishing, boating, and sailing. The lake is stocked with trout, and there are healthy populations of bass, crappie, sunfish, and carp along with kokanee salmon. Because the lake is privately owned, boating is pleasurable with no overcrowding. Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club promotes sailing on the lake. Every year the lake hosts an Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Show.

The Village at Lake Arrowhead has shopping and restaurants. There is a free summer concert series and an Oktoberfest, both of which are very well attended. Even without water access, there is plenty for visitors to the Lake Arrowhead area to do, and at just 90 miles from Los Angeles, it is very accessible.

Lake Arrowhead is surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest. Created in 1907, the forest encompasses 676,666 acres with camping, boating, and wildlife viewing. The Arrowhead Ranger Station in Skyforest is nearest to Lake Arrowhead. The Rim of the World Scenic Byway is a 110 mile stretch of road on the rim of the San Bernardino Mountains from Cajon to San Gorgonio Pass, and it is an easy drive from the lake.

The charm of the surrounding communities and the natural beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains draw thousands of visitors to Lake Arrowhead every year. The private nature of the lake maintains the peace and tranquility that has made this southern California jewel a resort area for over a century.

Things to Do at Lake Arrowhead

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at Lake Arrowhead

  • Bass
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake Arrowhead

If you’re considering a Lake Arrowhead lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Arrowhead Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Arrowhead lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Arrowhead Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Arrowhead Lake Association

Surface Area: 784 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,107 feet

Average Depth: 60 feet

Maximum Depth: 145 feet

Water Volume: 47,418 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1923

Lake Area-Population: 12,982

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Lake Arrowhead Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Lake Arrowhead Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Lake Arrowhead Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Lake Arrowhead Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Arrowhead article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!