While there are watering holes and wine bars aplenty at Big Bear Mountain Resort, one of the coolest ways to unwind is to kick off your skis or snowboard and step into a pair of snowshoes. After all that hammering through the terrain parks and carving it up on the trails, there’s something especially alluring about escaping into the wintry beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains. Snowshoe trails lace the area. Get tips—and rent equipment—at various outdoor shops; a popular one is Goldsmiths. There are also businesses such as Action Snowshoe Tours that offer guided treks along trails, many of which are inaccessible to skiers or snowboarders.
Wind down after your snowy tromp with some choice libations and “high-altitude Mediterranean” indoor and sundeck dining at Skyline Taphouse, located at the top of chair 1, or for some comfort food and a beer or Bloody Mary at Slopeside Speakeasy, at the base of chair 2. Or warm up with a meal at Bighorn Smokehouse, also located right next to the slopes, where BBQ pork and chicken, beef brisket, and traditional sides like potato salad and cole slaw are the standbys.
Down in the village of Big Bear Lake, you’ll find plenty of après options within a few doors of each other along or near Pine Knot Ave. Try Himalayan food (Himalayan), a rock ‘n’ roll pizza and pasta spot (Saucy Mama’s Pizza), a craft brewery (Big Bear Lake Brewing Company), or a classic old-school tavern with curious antique furnishings (Nottingham’s Tavern).
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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