Big Bear Lake is a city in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest in San Bernardino County in Southern California.
Parking within city limits does not require a permit. Parking in the forest areas surrounding the city requires the purchase of an Adventure Pass. Adventure Passes can be purchased at the Big Bear Discovery Center (see below) or any sporting goods store within the city.
Big Bear Lake, previously known as, Yuhaviat, was discovered by people of European origin back in 1845. Benjamin Davis Wilson and a crew of twenty men rode into Yuhaviat Valley chasing Native Americans that had been raiding their ranches in Riverside, CA. While in the valley, the men discovered that it was teeming with grizzly bear. Thus, Wilson came up with the name, Big Bear Lake, for the valley.
Before Big Bear Lake became a popular vacation spot, it was known as a gold mining mecca. In 1860, a bear tracker named William Holcomb discovered a creek filled with flakes of gold while tracking a bear's blood trail. Word soon got around that there was gold in the valley. From 1860 to 1875, Big Bear Lake was swarming with prospectors in search of gold.
|Big Bear Lake|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The average maximum annual temperature for Big Bear Lake is 62.2 °F (16.8 °C) and the average minimum annual temperature is 31.7 °F (−0.2 °C). The average annual snowfall is 62.1 inches. During the winter months, temperatures usually range from 20 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. And during the summer, it is anywhere between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 1 Big Bear Visitor's Center, 630 Bartlett Rd., toll-free: +1-800-424-4232. Daily 9AM-5PM, except major holidays:11AM-3PM. Public restrooms 24 hrs. Free Wi-Fi. Sells Adventure passes.
Hwy 330 through Redlands - Easiest route from most Southern California locations.
Hwy 38 through Redlands - It is a bit longer, but is the most scenic.
Hwy 18 through Crestline/Running Springs - Shortest way if you are coming Hwy 210 Eastbound.
Hwy 18 through Apple Valley - Least amount of traffic, longest way (if you are coming from I-15 Northbound from Cajon Pass) and least amenities en route (just north of Big Bear at the Hwy 247 Junction, Lucerne Valley limited to gas and grocery only).
While travel time to Big Bear is quick, approaching Big Bear from the Inland Empire valley floor (near Sea Level to 1,000 ft elevation) to Big Bear Lake/City (approx. 5,800-6,000 feet) requires a vehicle in good repair (rentals are fine) and favorable road conditions. Approach during considerable inclement weather (winter storms, heavy rainfall/landslide risk) is not advised.
The nearest large airports are LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT IATA) and Palm Springs International Airport (PSP IATA).
- 1 Big Bear City Airport (RBF IATA) (on the east end of the lake). A general aviation airport.
Tiedown rentals are available. Car rentals are also available.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a well known trail that extends along the West coast of the United States, from Mexico to Canada. It passes through California, Oregon, and Washington State.
It is very easy to navigate Big Bear Lake by car. The city is very good about keeping the roads clean and free of snow in the winter. Big Bear Lake also has an incredible amount of hiking and biking trails available for public use. This can be a great way to explore the outdoors and also get where you need to go. The public is also free to use boats, jetskis, canoes, and other water apparatuses on the lake itself. The Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) is the primary public transportation provider for Big Bear Lake. It provides local and off-the-mountain bus services for its patrons.
- 1 Big Bear Discovery Center, 40971 North Shore Dr., ☏ +1 909 866-3437, fax: +1 909 866-1781. M Th F 9AM-4PM, Sa Su 8:30AM-4:30PM. The Discovery Center is museum and visitors center that provides information about the recreation opportunities in the forest surrounding the Lake. Adventure Passes are sold here.
- 1 Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain. - located in Big Bear Lake
Arcade In-door Fun, camping and RV parks, cross country skiing and snow shoeing, discovery center, hiking, horseback riding, laser tag indoor fun, off road tours, skiing and snowboarding, snow play, tours, trails, ziplining, and zoos.
- 2 Bear Mountain Resort, 43101 Goldmine Dr, ☏ +1 909 866-5766. Whether just learning to ski or ride, refining skills or bringing professional style to the slopes, Bear Mountain has something for everyone. This nearly 200-acre winter playground offers the region's largest beginner area and the most progressive teaching terrain, equipment and techniques.
- 3 Snow Summit Mountain Resort, 880 Summit Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-5766. Whether it's wide open runs or fun terrain features, Snow Summit has it all. Ideal for everyday skiers and riders in search of a friendly, laid back winter playground.
Alpine slide, arcade in-door fun, biking, boating and water sports, camping and RV parks, discovery center, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, jet boat rentals, jet skiing, kayaking and canoeing, laser tag in-door fun, marinas, mountain biking, museums, off road tours, paddleboarding, parasailing, tennis, trails, wakeboarding and waterskiing, ziplining, and zoos.
- Adventure Outpost at Bear City Discovery Center, 40971 Hwy. 38/ North Shore Dr. Fawnskin, ☏ +1 909 866-3437. Located in the Big Bear Discovery Center, you will find maps, field guides, books on hiking, biking and camping, Native American items souvenirs and more.
- 1 Gallery of the American Landscape, 40722 Village Dr, ☏ +1 909 878-9214. Visit the world's first green gallery of master landscape photographer, Timothy Wolcott.
- 2 Blauer's Board Shop, 41177 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-5689. Top brand clothing, footwear, eyewear and wakeboards, inner tubes, bikes, and accessories for purchase or rent.
- 3 Goldsmith's Boardhouse and Ski Rentals, 42071 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-2728. Goldsmith's has outstanding lines of quality boards and skis for both sales and rentals. Snowshoe rentals and trail maps also available.
- Sugarloaf Mountain Traders, 439 West Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 584-8451. Small boutique located in Bear City sells vintage and new linens, trims, fabric, beads and buttons.
- 4 Bear Valley Bikes, 40298 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-8000. Bear Valley Bikes is a full service bike shop, which means you can rent from us, or we can fix your bike, find the part you're looking for, or just pick up some last-minute gear or trail maps.
- Yarn Designer's Boutique, 439 West Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 584-9715. Beautiful yarns to knit and crochet, classes, books, free patterns with yarn purchase and accessories.
- Gold Pan Restaurant, 39204 North Shore Dr, Fawnskin, ☏ +1 909 866-4310. American. Takeout, bar.
- 1 Evergreen International, 40771 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 878-5588. Steak/Seafood. Takeout, bar, reservations accepted, banquets, outdoor seating, pets welcomed.
- Bill Knick's Cafe, 40971 North Shore Dr, Fawnskin (Discovery Center), ☏ +1 909 866-1870. American, deli. Outdoor seating, pets allowed.
- 2 Captain's Anchorage, 42148 Moonridge Way, ☏ +1 909 866-3997. Steak, seafood. Bar, reservations accepted.
- 3 Big Bear Mountain Brewery, 40260 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-2337. Continental, American. Takeout, bar, entertainment, outdoor seating, pets welcomed.
- 4 Grizzly Manor Café, 41268 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-6226. American. Takeout.
- 5 Bistro at the Mansion, 869 Knickerbocker (Knickerbocker Mansion in Village area), ☏ +1 909 878-9190. Continental, seafood, steak. Open Friday & Saturday only, reservations recommended, catering, banquets, outdoor seating.
- 6 Noble Romans Pizza, 40679 Big Bear Blvd (Big Bear Funplex), ☏ +1 909 866-7499. American. Takeout, bar, entertainment, banquets.
- 7 Tiffany Lounge at Best Western, 42200 Moonridge Rd (Best Western Big Bear Chateau Plus), ☏ +1 909 866-6666. Continental. Bar, catering, banquets, outdoor seating, pets welcomed.
- Diamond Lil's Saloon, 501 Valley Blvd (Big Bear City Airport), ☏ +1 909 585-2005. American. Takeout, bar.
- 8 Maggios Pizza, 42160 Big Bear Blvd (Vons Shopping Center), ☏ +1 909 866-8815. Italian. Takeout.
- 9 Sugar Pine Bake Shop, 40191 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 866-2300. Bakery. Takeout, online orders, catering, delivery.
- 10 Himalayan Restaurant, 672 Pine Knot Ave #2 (Village Area), ☏ +1 909 866-2907. Nepalese/Indian. Takeout, bar, delivery (within Village area).
- 11 Sweet Basil Bistro, 40629 Big Bear Blvd (Village area), ☏ +1 909 866-9212. Fresh Italian. Takeout, bar, catering.
- 12 Bear Belly Deli, 42530 Moonridge Rd, ☏ +1 909 585-4266. Deli. Takeout, catering, outdoor seating, pets allowed.
- 13 Nottinghams Restaurant, 40797 Lakeview Dr (Village Area), ☏ +1 909 866-4644. American, steak, seafood. Bar, entertainment, outdoor seating.
- Apples Bed and Breakfast, 42430 Moonridge Road, ☏ +1 909 866-0903.
- 1 Best Western Big Bear Lake Chateau, 42200 Moonridge Rd, ☏ +1 909 866-6666, toll-free: +1-800-232-7466, fax: +1 909 866-8988.
- Cienaga Creek Ranch, Rainbow Ln, toll-free: +1-888-336-2891.
- 2 The Lodge at Big Bear Lake, 40650 Village Dr (Located at the edge of the Village), toll-free: +1-800-866-3121. $100+.
- 3 Motel 6 Big Bear, 42899 Big Bear Blvd, ☏ +1 909 585-6666, fax: +1 909 585-6685.
- Pine Knot Guest Ranch, 908 Pine Knot Avenue, toll-free: +1-800-866-3446.
- 4 Sleepy Forest Cottages, 400 S Eureka Dr (Ffom Highway 18, 7 miles east of the Big Bear Dam, turn left on Eureka Drive and go one block north. Cottages are on the left), ☏ +1 909-866-7444, toll-free: +1-800-544-7454, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4 PM, check-out: 11 AM. Secluded Jacuzzi cottages for 2, honeymoon cottages, family cabins and vacation homes. 5-minute walk from the lake and within 1 mile of Snow Summit Ski Resort and Big Bear Village. $58 to $298.
- Big Bear Vacations, 41693 Big Bear Blvd, toll-free: +1-877-473-5360, email@example.com.
- 5 Destination Big Bear Vacation Rentals, 41922 Fox Farm Road, ☏ +1 909 752-0234, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Offers close to 400 cabins for rent that include hot tubs, internet, game tables, and most are pet-friendly. The cabins range widely in price. Starting at $79/night.
Wildfires sometimes occur during the summer, when it is dry.
- Holcomb Valley, North of (from Hwy 38, take Poligue Canyon Rd. to Holcomb Valley Rd.). Holcomb Valley was a boomtown during the Southern California goldrush and was very nearly the county seat of San Bernardino County. A driving tour brochure can be found at the Big Bear Discovery Center. Note: This tour is on well-graded dirt roads that should accommodate most passenger cars. Be cautious when conditions are wet as the roads may become muddy.
|Routes through Big Bear Lake|
|Victorville ← Apple Valley ←||N S||→ Lake Arrowhead → San Bernardino|