From horseback riding to alpine skiing, the Victor Valley region offers a myriad of adventures both mild and wild.
Recreation is integral to the quality of life in the Victor Valley. From hiking, biking and horseback riding to skiing and extreme sports, the region offers a diverse landscape that attracts everyone from the nature lover to the adventure seeker. The High Desert area of Southern California boasts some of the most breathtaking vistas and challenging hiking, biking and ATV trails in the nation, along with top ski resorts in Wrightwood, Snow Valley and Big Bear – all within an hour’s drive of the area.
Recreation From Mild to Wild
“You’re basically equal distance from several world-class hiking and biking destinations,” says Ryan Orr, a 30-year-old marketing professional who works in Apple Valley. “You’re 45 minutes from the San Bernardino Mountains and Big Bear Lake. You’re 45 minutes from the San Gabriel Mountains and Wrightwood, both of which host some of the best ski resorts in Southern California.”
Big Bear Lake is a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts who want a place to play year round. Summers offer fishing, boating, hiking and horseback riding, while winter ushers in world-class skiing and snowboarding on slopes with a 650-foot drop. Avid bikers and hikers like Orr can choose from more than 100 trails in the San Bernardino Forest, with varying degrees of difficulty, from easy to the extreme alpine trails in the Lucerne Valley. Many of the region’s trails are part of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,799-mile trail that begins in Mexico and ends in Canada, skirts Silver Wood Lake, winds through the San Gabriel Mountains, then resurfaces on the other side of Lancaster. The trail was featured in the newly released 2014 movie Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon.
Adrenaline junkies can get their fix zip lining or rappelling in Wrightwood or off-roading at El Mirage Dry Lake, Dumont Dunes, Stoddard Valley or Johnson Valley OHV Area, one of the country’s largest areas for off-highway vehicles. The varied terrain – with elevations reaching 4,600 feet above sea level – lends itself to riders of all skill levels.
“Being in the High Desert region, the possibilities to go where ever you want and do whatever you want are endless,” Orr says. “If you want to do it, you can drive within an hour-and-a-half and be at one of the best destinations on earth.”
A Community That Plays Together
At the local level, the parks and recreation departments of Hesperia, Victorville, Apple Valley and Adelanto invest heavily in preserving the region’s open spaces and providing residents with a wide range of outdoor and indoor recreational options.
The town of Hesperia boasts eight community parks, including Lime Street Park and Community Center, which includes a public swimming pool, skate plaza and dog park. The recreation and park district also offers options specifically designed for kids, such as the Timberlane Park and Youth Activity Center and the Epicentre teen center. The most recent addition to Hesperia’s recreation roster is the Hesperia BMX track at Live Oak Park, which hosts training clinics and racing events for racers of all ages.
“We provide these facilities and programs for leisure time and conservation of outdoor spaces and promoting healthy lifestyles,” says Brandon McAnulty, recreation supervisor for the Hesperia Recreation & Parks District. “With the amount of sunshine we get in this area, you can pretty much use our parks 365 days of the year.”
Mojave Narrows Regional Park in Victorville is a favorite destination for families, with year-round fishing in Horseshoe Lake, hiking, biking and equestrian trails and a water play area for kids, as well as overnight camping sites. Apple Valley’s parks and recreation department offers a range of organized activities, classes and events – from yoga for expectant mothers and senior fitness groups to baking classes and Taekwondo. Apple Valley is also known for its equestrian centers and 22-acre Aquatic Center, which features a junior Olympic-sized pool.
“Recreation is important for community,” says Ralph Wright, parks and recreation manager for the Town of Apple Valley. “Our world has turned into this amazingly fast-paced place, so being able to get out and enjoy nature and each other is important to the growth of the community and to each individual family.”
Read more about living in Victor Valley.