Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake
Escape to Southern California’s mountain wonderland

Just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains offer a cool, pine-scented escape. At an altitude of 6,759 feet (2,060 meters), Big Bear Lake is a hub for alpine recreation. Known for its famed Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts in the winter and its seven-mile lake in the summer, Big Bear serves as a year-round Southern California escape.

“We are known for skiing and snowboarding, but there’s a lot to do up here in the summertime as well,” says Clayton Shoemaker, the marketing director for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “Whether you’re a hiker or a biker, you can access 60-plus miles of cross-country trails.”

When the snow melts, Snow Summit’s Scenic Sky Chair transforms into a mile-long ride to 8,200-foot panoramic views and trails for mountain bikers and hikers. Whether you’re seeking single-track climbs or flat lakeside paths, Big Bear offers a collection of recreational trails for every level—many of which offer incredible views of the lake below.

“Big Bear Lake’s 22-mile of shoreline is highlighted by the six marinas located around the lake,” says City Manager Jeffrey Mathieu. “If you love playing on the water, you’ll love Big Bear Lake because of all the features.”

Surrounded by towering peaks and lined by Ponderosa pine forests, the shimmering lake is a popular playground for motorized- and people-powered watercraft. You can rent equipment of all kinds, including paddleboards, kayaks, or boats for waterskiing or fishing.

Looking for a unique perspective of this alpine town? Glide among the treetops on a zipline tour, fly over mountain lakes and the Mojave Desert on a helicopter tour, or get behind the wheel to take on rugged terrain on a Big Bear Jeep Experience. The lake is also home to nesting bald eagles in winter, which you can see on tours offered by Big Bear Discovery Center.

If you’re looking to anchor your trip to a specific occasion, there’s no shortage of events throughout the year, ranging from fishing tournaments and fireworks to the annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, where you can test your strength at the stein-holding competition and sample German food throughout consecutive weekends every fall.

Big Bear Lake off-road trails
The Off-Road Trails of Big Bear Lake
A lot of people don’t expect to find alpine scenery when they come to Southern California, but the Inland Empire’s Big Bear area abounds with it.

Discover the Inland Empire

66
May
Average (°F)
Mar - May
80°
High
43°
Low
June - Aug
94°
High
55°
Low
Sept - Nov
91°
High
43°
Low
Dec - Feb
68°
High
39°
Low

With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.

Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.

Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country. 

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There are tons of reasons why you might plan a winter trip to Big Bear. Here are some you might not have thought of

With plenty of groomed runs and terrain parks at Big Bear Lake’s two alpine resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, it’s easy to see why skiers and boarders head here when the snow flies. But this...

Big Bear Lake in Winter
Courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resorts
The bald eagle, America’s national bird, flies south from Alaska and Canada to spend winter in the San Bernardino Mountains.
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