Hiking in Big Bear

We love Big Bear for all it has to offer, including great hiking which we take advantage of all of the time. From wildflowers to wildlife in their natural habitats, Big Bear Valley is a great place to get out for a hike and view all nature has to offer.

The Alpine Pedal Path is a paved outré located across from North Shore Elementary School off Stanfield Cutoff in Big Bear Lake.  The path runs parallel to the North Shore Drive and spans 3.5 miles.  It is ideal for an easy stroll and is stroller and wheelchair friendly. Juniper Point is a very easy trail that can be walked in a half hour along the lake to the Solar Observatory.  The trail is on North Shore Drive in Big Bear Lake near Stanfield Cutoff.

The Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail is an easy nature hike about 0.6 miles long round trip.  The trailhead is on Forest Road 2N11 in Big Bear Lake.  The path ends at the Champion Lodgepole Pine, one of the largest known pines of its kind.  After the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail ends the Bluff Mesa Trail begins and continues an additional 0.8 miles round trip.  This trail is also considered easy and ends at the Bluff Mesa Group Camp and offers views of Jeffrey Pines.

Woodland Trail is also an easy hike about 1.5 miles long.  It is a self-guided interpretive trail with 20 educational posts along the way to gain knowledge of the area’s natural profile.  An adventure pass is required to park at the trailhead parking lot.  The trailhead is about 0.2 miles west of Stanfield Cutoff on North Shore Drive in Big Bear Lake.

The Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve also offers an Interpretive trail located at the Reserve Building.  The hike is an easy loop through local plant life and pebble plains, returning to the office.  It is short, less than a mile and has plenty for eyes to behold, especially in the spring and early summer when wildflowers are in full bloom.  The trail is on Highway 18 in Baldwin Lake.

For more experienced athletes, step it up to the Castle Rock Trail for a moderate to difficult 2.4 mile hike.  The trailhead is located 1.1 miles east of the Big Bear Valley Dam on Highway 18 in Big Bear Lake.  This trail features a 500-foot elevation gain ending at a granite ridge with views of Big Bear Lake.  An adventure pass is required for parking in the trailhead lot.

Pine Knot Trail is a longer, moderate to difficult hike about 6 miles round trip.  The trailhead is at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area on Mill Creek Road in Big Bear Lake.  The trail ends at Grand View Point with panoramic views parking at the trailhead at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area.

Gary’s Peak and Hanna Flat Trails are open seasonally from May to October due to the annual return of the area’s bald eagles to their habitats.  The Gray’s Peak trailhead is 0.6 miles west of Fawnskin across from the Grout Bay Picnic Area.  The hike is a moderate to difficult seven-mile round trip with considerable difficulty building about a quarter mile from the summit at 7,920 feet.

The Hanna Flat trailhead begins 50 yards past the Gray’s Peak Trail sign and is about four miles ending at the Hanna Flat Campground.  This scenic path is a nine moderate hike.  An adventure pass is required for the parking at the Gray’s Peak and Hanna Flat trailheads.

Cougar Crest Trail offers a variety of wildlife and botanic habitats ending at the Pacific Crest Trail.  By continuing on 0.6 miles east at the junction, hikers can reach Bertha Peak.  The peak at 8,502 feet offers panoramic views of Big Bear Valley, Holcomb Valley and the Mojave Desert.  The trail is about five miles round trip and is considered moderate to difficult.  An adventure pass is required for parking.

The Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail is a difficult 10-mile round trip hike beginning at Forest Road 2N93 on Highway 38.  The trail offers a view of Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest peak in Big Bear Valley at 9,952 feet.  An adventure pass is required for parking.

Glory Ridge Trail is about 2 miles round trip, but is extremely difficult and not recommended.  The trail is on Forest Road 2N15 on Highway 18 in Big Bear Lake.  The hike drops 1,100-foot dangerous descent, then the climb out is just as severe.  Adventure passes are required for parking.

For a gradual challenge try the Siberia Creek Trail.  The hike is approximately 7 miles round trip and ranges from easy to extremely difficult.  The trail is accessed at the Championship Lodgepole Pine trailhead.  While the trail is scenic, it is not maintained by the Forest Service and has had numerous rockslides that damaged the path.  The elevation gain is 3,000 feet.  An adventure pass is required for parking.

The San Gorgonio Wilderness hike may not be the most difficult trail, but it is the longest.  It features a variety of habitat along the way is there are a variety of trails to explore the area.  The most popular is the South Fork Trail.  The trail is at least a two-day hike spanning 21.5 miles round trip with a 4,700 foot elevation gain.  The shortest route is the steep Vivian Creek trailhead.  It offers a 15.6 mile round trip but has a severe 5,500-foot ascent to the top of San Gorgonio Mountain.

Maps of local trails and adventure passes can be obtained at the Big Bear Discovery Center located at 40971 North Shore Drive, Fawnskin, Ca., as well as a number of other outdoor recreation facilitators in Big Bear Valley.  For more information about the trails, visit the website at www.bigbeardiscoverycenter.com or call 909-582-2790.

 

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