Horsethief Flat is a large “flat”/meadow not far from Highway 18 located approximately 8 miles east of Big Bear Lake, about 3 miles off Smarts Ranch Road.
The 4×4 trail (road) to Horse Thief Flat is narrow, rocky and rutted-out in many places and has a few very steep sections. There are no go-arounds or bypasses for these difficult sections and because there is only one way in and out of the area all of these difficult sections must be driven both downhill and uphill.
Once you enter the Horsethief Flat meadow area there is a flat dirt road that circles the entire area, going by Arrastre Creek and up to an optional overlook of Apple Valley and the Lucerne Valley area. There is only one exit out of Horsethief Flat which is the way you enter.
Because of the potentially hazardous road into Horse-thief Flat, it is recommend only for experienced off-road drivers with a high-clearance vehicle. Do not attempt this road in a 2WD vehicle. Be cautious of vehicles driving in the opposite direction – there are no pull-outs along most sections of the shelf-road.
Horsethief Flat 4×4 Trail (Big Bear) Start and Ending Locations
- Turnout from Highway 18: Smarts Ranch Rd Pullout
- Horsethief Flat Trailhead entrance: 3N03A Horsethief Flat Start
- Horsethief Flat Meadow: Horse Thief Flat
- Horse Thief Flat Overlook of Apple Valley: Optional overlook
This free .GPX file track starts at Smarts Ranch Road and ends at the eastern-most section of Horse Thief Flat.
Max elevation: 6099 ft
Min elevation: 4893 ft